Journalist Report – May 3rd

Crew 235 Journalist Report 03May2021
Author: Jennifer Grimes, Crew Journalist
Sol 1: Questioning My Life Choices
As I pulled up to the red cattle guard at 10:15 pm last night, I questioned where am I at? What have I gotten myself into? It took about 30 minutes in the dark to locate the MDRS. Once I arrived at the MDRS and was secure inside I felt more comfortable with my decision to come here. I was so tired from my 19.5 hour drive I crashed and slept all now. After getting up I enjoyed a great pancake for breakfast. Crew started the day with a tour of MDRS and proper training on how to operate and maneuver the rovers. After that we were excited to get our flight suits and gear up to do our practice EVA. We were instructed on the optimal safety protocols to survive on Mars while completing our real EVAs. We collected rock samples while out on our practice EVA. After our lunch break we went to the lab, created agar, that we set up in a ziplock bag to see what bacteria will grow from the samples we collected. After experiencing the practice EVA I am so ready to begin our SIM. We will wake up on Mars tomorrow.

Crew 235 Journalist Report 03May2021
Author: Allison Weber, Crew Journalist
Sol 1: Mission Log

With a meeting set for 9am, the cohort woke up in various states of coherence between the hours of 6 and 8:30. Some were early risers, taking their tea and the morning to themselves. Others, like me, tried to sleep as long as they could on a Monday morning. The one thing you have to understand about our cohort is that it’s the educator mission. Part of NASA’s "Spaceward Bound" program, MDRS brought 7 teachers to the desert of Hanksville, Utah for a week-long professional development/Mars analog simulation/STEM education opportunity. No students to manage? No papers to grade? And all sorts of science to learn? This was a learning vacation, and I was determined to make the most of it by catching up on my sleep.

Breakfast was as characteristic of teachers as was considering waking up at 7 "sleeping in": coffee and whatever else you could quickly find. The cohort struggled productively against the drip coffee maker. Upon seeing our sorry breakfasts, the commander decided to make us a REAL breakfast of blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes. The leftovers were stowed away for later. I ate all of them for lunch.

Shannon (Director of MDRS) and Atila (Assistant Director) came up to the main living habitat to enjoy the morning with us. Shannon was the one who had written the handbook. She was the one behind such ominous phrases as "If you don’t bring [Object from the recommended supply list], you might as well leave". With that and infrequent emails being my only exposure to Shannon prior to arriving at MDRS, I was intimidated by the mere idea of her. Shannon moseyed into the living space wearing leggings reminiscent of the works of Piet Mondrian and a graphic tee of a triceratops skeleton and the phrase "COPROLITE HAPPENS". She still intimidates me, but in a good way.

Hearing the discussion between Shannon, Atila, and Jen (our commander, who had been here before) enlightened me on the different philosophies there could be towards "sims". Simulation learning was one of those methods of instruction I’d heard about in college, but was never given the opportunity or the resources to study in-depth. It’s too resource- and preparation-intensive to do often in the classroom. In the unique environment provided by MDRS, simulation learning can be explored and enacted at a scale inequivalent, but comparable, to that in the classroom.

The group discussed concerns as small as practicing mise en place and as big as instilling life skills in the next generation. As Shannon recounted, groups would leave the rover without plugging it in to charge. The natural consequence of this was not being allowed to use it the following day, resulting in very frustrated researchers. Atila phrased it as the researchers forgetting; Shannon phrased it as lack of action. "People don’t understand how to be proactive," she said. The difference in mindsets between the two top members of our group was fascinating to see. What was even better was the constructive way people disagreed! Respectful problem-solving and communication skills are going to be invaluable on Mars.

A little before noon, we took our first steps on "Mars". (We still weren’t "in sim", the phrase for actively treating the world around us as Mars.) Suiting up beforehand was an experience. First, we had to change out of civilian clothes; then, into undershirts and leggings to wick away sweat; then socks; then flight suits; then shoes; THEN suits. Depending on the model of spacesuit you chose, it could’ve been between 10 and 20lbs. Both models had an abysmal range of motion for your head, and vision that all but eliminated your peripheral view. Helmets clunk together in the airlock. We got all nice and cozy, shoulder-to-shoulder, before heading out.

Our very first trip on Mars was a sacred experience. All we did was take the rover up to Pooh’s Corner, look at rocks, and spot an extraterrestrial lizard, but it was just… even if I HAD brought a thesaurus, I would not be able to find the words to describe it. Meditative, amazing, joyful, engaging, enlightening, all at once. We felt the weight of the helmets and packs long after we returned to the Hab and suited down.

After our trip, we found canned tuna, and tried to make mayo to bind it together into a tuna fish cracker spread. A pair of our crewmembers said it wasn’t bad, but as I stared on at the pumpkin puree-colored mass lumped between the prongs of a whisk, I had the complete opposite of a spiritual experience and felt less "enlightened monk" and more "Gordon Ramsey".

The rest of the day was good. Some of us took naps, some of us talked. We learned how to make agar (the gel-like substance found in petri dishes) in a classroom setting and went on a hunt around the Hab for surfaces to swab. Within the next few days, we’ll try to guess who swabbed what based on the pattern of bacterial growth. A crew member threw out the joke that we would be safe to put the samples in the incubator, so long as we didn’t wake up encased in goo. That may contribute to some John Carpenter nightmares later tonight.

As I write this, the crew, including Atila and Shannon, are seated in the upper floor of the Hab. We are about to have Spam and rice for dinner. I’ve eaten enough candy bars (only Mars brand, of course) and dehydrated strawberries that my stomach grumbles, so it looks like this trip will have two end results for me: a wealth of knowledge on the whole process of simulation learning, and the loss of at least 5 pounds.

Operations Report – May 3rd

Crew 235 Operations Report 3-MAY-2021

SOL: 1

Name of person filing report: Atila Meszaros

Non-nominal systems: Nothing to report

Notes on non-nominal systems: Nothing to report

Generator: Working nominally

Hours run: 0

From what time last night: the generator didn’t run

To what time this morning: the generator didn’t run

List any additional daytime hours when the generator was run: N/A

Solar— SOC 32% at 7:01 pm (Before generator is run at night)

Notes on power system: Yesterday, the SOC went nominal at 13:00 after a couple of days in 0%. It jumped to 100%, and it has been slowly decreasing since then. This morning it got to a max of 58% and it is decreasing again. We have had power through the station all this time and there haven’t been any variations on the power, but the system is definitely showing the opposite.

Diesel Reading – 47%

Station Propane Reading – 80%

Outpost Propane Reading – 1. 74% 2. 80%

Water (loft tank): 25 gallons

Water Meter: 150932.6 units

Water (static tank): 25 gallons

Static to Loft Pump used – yes

Water in GreenHab: 0 gallons

Water in ScienceDome: 0 gallons

Toilet tank emptied: No

Sojourner rover used: No, in town

Hours: N/A

Beginning charge: N/A

Ending charge: N/A

Currently charging: N/A

Spirit rover used: No, in town

Hours: N/A

Beginning charge: N/A

Ending charge: N/A

Currently charging: N/A

Opportunity rover used: No, in town

Hours: N/A

Beginning charge: N/A

Ending charge: N/A

Currently charging: N/A

Curiosity rover used: No, in town

Hours: N/A

Beginning charge: N/A

Ending charge: N/A

Currently charging: N/A

Perseverance rover used: Yes

Hours: 207.8

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 96%

Currently charging: Yes

Notes on rovers: None

ATV’s Used: Yes

Reason for use: Training and EVA #1

Oil Added? No

ATV Fuel Used: N/A

# Hours the ATVs were used today: 0

Notes on ATVs: ATV’s will be filled with Free Ethanol Gas to be ready for tomorrow’s EVA.

HabCar used and why, where?: Nothing to report

CrewCar used and why, where?: Nothing to report

General notes and comments: Nothing to report

Summary of internet: Working nominally.

Summary of suits and radios: All radios nominal, all functional suits currently charging. We have 4 fully operational suits, but I’d love to get a couple more working.

Summary of Hab operations: Spaceward Bound Crew went into operations and sim training.

Summary of GreenHab operations: Nothing to report

Summary of ScienceDome operations: Start of the microbiology experiment.

Summary of RAM operations: Nothing to report.

Summary of any observatory issues: Nothing to report

Summary of health and safety issues: Nothing to report

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: Thank you for being with us tonight!

Sol Summary – May 3rd

Crew 235 Sol Summary Report 03-May-2021

Sol: 1

Summary Title: Mars needs Teachers

Author’s name: Atila Meszaros

Mission Status: Crew Biologist

Sol Activity Summary:

After breakfast, we started our tour around the station, showing all the facilities and all the systems. We started our ATV and rover training after visiting the RAM, and everyone got the chance to pick their chosen mode of transportation on Mars for our future EVAs. After learning about radio and suits operations, we got to do a pre-mission EVAs to Pooh’s corner to decide if we were going to do a full simulation or semi-sim: we drive Percy and our two ATVs, walk for around 10 minutes and collect some rock and mineral samples to try all the mobility on the suits. After a conversation with the crew, we decided to do full-sim EVAs until the end of the mission, and I couldn’t be happier.

We started the microbiology project after lunch. We are going to sample very exciting locations around the station and figure out which bacteria live amongst us! While we were preparing the agar, we did some EVA debriefing and discussed our mission.

We are all sitting together in the upper deck writing the reports and getting ready to close the day!

Look Ahead Plan: The first day on Sim waking up on Mars! Geology class during the morning to prepare for our rock hunting EVAs. Finalizing mission patch and team building activities.

Anomalies in work: None.

Weather: Pretty amazing. Partially cloudy and a very comfortable temperature.

Crew Physical Status: Healthy and excited!

EVA: EVA #2 and EVA #3 for rock hunting.

Reports to be filed: Operations Report, EVA Report, EVA Request, Crew Journalist

Support Requested: Nothing for tonight.

EVA Report #1 – May 3rd

Crew 235 EVA Report 03 May 2021

EVA # 1

Author: Jen Carver-Hunter

Purpose of EVA: Training

Start time: 12:00

End time: 1:30

Narrative: The EVA was designed for training a new crew. After suiting up for the EVA, crew members loaded onto Pathfinder rover and 2 ATVs to practice driving the vehicles while in spacesuits. The crew stopped at Pooh’s corner where they disembarked the vehicles and continued the EVA with a short walk east of the road. During this walk, crew members practiced walking, communicating with radios, and collecting specimens while in spacesuits. After a short walk, the EVA crew returned to vehicles and drove back to the Hab.

Destination: Pooh’s Corner

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): 519000, 425100

Participants: Atila, Krysta, Allison, Jeff, Jen, Jennifer, Randall, and Thomas

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Entrance Road to Cow Dung Road

Mode of travel: Pathfinder Rover and 2 ATVs.