Science Report – September 30th

Crew 228 Science Report 30Sep2021

Mission Commander Lindsay Rutter

Inga is continuing data collection for the last part of her dissertation on group interaction in space analog environments. She is conducting participant observation and aims to contribute to the sociological studies of groups in space and space-like environments. Her pilot study is also being diligently done by the crew every night.

Lindsay performed a practice collection of sample regolith surrounding the EVA destination today, Marble Ritual. She used sterilized gloves, spatula, and bags to do so and made notes of several operational areas of improvement. Namely, placing the collection items in the pocket closest to her shoes as the pocket on her torso is somewhat restricted by the straps of the EVA suit. She looks forward to collecting regolith surrounding Jotunheim, an inverted river channel to perform her metagenomics study.

Jin tested GPS navigation in the field using the GPS Essentials app on his smartphone. He was able to successfully obtain GPS fixes, track targets, and record waypoints in the phone’s storage for later use. This proves the viability of using smartphone GPS for recording geographical data in the field while shadowing scientific EVAs.

Crew 228 EVA#1 Report – September 30th

Crew 228 EVA Report 30-09-2021
EVA # 1

Author: Lindsay Rutter

Purpose of EVA: We performed an initial checkout of EVA suits while walking around the campus, tested walking up the hill in front of HAB, then tested driving the Opportunity rover during this easy and nearby EVA, all while testing radio communications and HABCOM procedures. We also tested the collection of regolith for the DNA sequencing study.

Start time: 0930

End time: 1130

Narrative: EVA was successful. We timed a full walk-around of the campus as five minutes. We tested walking up the hill in front of the HAB. We decided to drive only one Rover (Opportunity) because Inga was unable to see the driving apparatus due to the lower edge of her space helmet becoming an obstacle. So, both EVA crew drove in Opportunity, with Lindsay serving as the driver. Radio communications were successful and we reached our destination of Marble Ritual, where we collected samples. After adjustments, Inga was able to view the driving apparatus, and she drove Opportunity back to the HAB.

Destination: Marble Ritual (~600M drive + ~100M walk) after a walk-about around the tunnel connected structures for some outside EVA suit testing before driving.

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): 38.407 N 110.783 W

Participants: L. Rutter & I. Popovaite

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Cow Dung Rd 0110

Mode of travel: Rovers

Crew 228 Journalist Report – September 30th

Jin Sia, HSO

Forwarded from Charikleia Olympiou, remote Flight Surgeon:

I am not too eloquent when it comes to expressing myself in English as
it’s not my first language. So, for my report, I chose to bring to
your attention, this letter which was written in May 6, 1970, from
Ernst Stuhlinger and was addressed to Sister Mary Jucunda. Now you
might be thinking what does a letter addressed to a nun has to do with
our mission on Mars.

Well, at the time, Dr. Stuhlinger was serving as the Associate
Director for Science at the Marshall Space Flight Center, in
Huntsville, Alabama whilst Sister Jucunda was working among the
starving children of Kawbe in Zambia. Sister Mary Jucunda, surrounded
by dying starving children, had expressed concerns as to whether space
exploration was actually a worthwhile endeavour when at the same time,
some humans were starving to death.

Dr. Stuhlinger replied with the following letter, sharing his own
beliefs for the value of space exploration. In my opinion this is
probably one of the most eloquent and well-written statements that’s
advocating for humanity’s endeavor in space, even today, more than
five decades later.

It’s a bit long but it’s definitely worth the read 🙂

Here it goes:

Sol Summary Report – September 30th

Crew 228 Sol Summary Report 30Sep2021

Sol: 3

Summary Title: Boots on Mars

Author’s name: Inga Popovaite

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary:

Third day on Mars was the most exciting so far. We had scrambled eggs with dry-freeze vegetables with some fresh bounty from the GreenHab (Swiss chard, tomatoes, micro greens, and lettuce) for breakfast. Afterwards, Lindsay and me suited up for the very first EVA of Crew 228. We went to the Marble Ritual about half a kilometer away. It might seem a short distance, but have you tried walking up and down a sandy hill and driving a rover wearing a 30 lbs spacesuit and a helmet? Not as easy as it sounds.

We left the Hab at 9.30 and came back at 11. Lindsay picked up some test samples, and I took pictures and videos of her doing that. Different data for different science, I guess 🙂

We had leftovers for lunch (rice and beans from last night’s dinner prepared by Dave). After lunch it was time for the second EVA of the day. This time, Jin and Dave stepped onto the Red Planet at 14.30 sharp (and came back at 16). The second EVA team also went to the Marble Ritual and test-drove two rovers (Spirit and Curiosity). This EVA climaxed with Jin reading on the radio “No sea was ever sailed” by Cordair from the top of the hill in front of the Hab. The silhouettes of the Mars Walkers and the backdrop of the rust-colored desert made it for quite a sight.

Diner was another feast prepared by Jin and Lindsay – a pasta dish with vegetarian tomato sauce enhanced by herbs from the GreenHab.

Another successful day on Mars.

Look Ahead Plan: Lindsay and Jin will go on an EVA tomorrow, Inga and Dave will work on their own projects back at the Hab and prepare for the EVA for the day after tomorrow.

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Sunny morning followed by lightly overcast afternoon and yet another cotton candy sunset.

Crew Physical Status:

EVA: EVA #1 and EVA#2; both to the Marble Ritual (see EVA reports filed separately).

Reports to be filed: Journalist Report, EVA reports, EVA request, Science Report, crew photos

Support Requested: None

Inga Popovaitė

Commander's Report – September 29th

Crew 228 Commander Report 29Sep2021

Sol: 2

Summary Title: Dinosaurs, Viruses, and Space Exploration

Author’s name: Lindsay Rutter

Mission Status: Nominal

Commander Report:

"The Areonauts have landed on Mars!" our crew cheered as we touched down on Cow Dung Space Track. The dried-up Martian river bed is named after Cow Dung Road 0110, a breathtaking road in the San Rafael Swell back on Earth that could never be forgotten by anyone who traveled on it during terrestrial Mars analog missions from generations past. The habitat, built by AI and ISRU, comes into view. One Areonaut dissolved into bouts of uncontrollable laughter: “It’s right there! I can’t believe it’s real!” Then, we all break out into laughter.

It feels surreal for us to be on Mars. We have rigorously trained for this thrice-postponed mission for 2.5 years. We started as nine strangers who hailed from all across the globe, each of whom would bring irreplaceable expertise to optimize the mission. We would comprise of Malaysian, Italian, and American engineers; a British journalist; a Japanese botanist; a Lithuanian sociologist; a Cypriot cardiologist; a Bangladeshi astronomer; and an American biologist.

Then, days before our scheduled liftoff, while quarantining at the international space agency, a pandemic broke out on Earth. Our mission was terminated and we transitioned from a calculated and routine spaceflight quarantine with our crew to an unexpected and chaotic worldwide quarantine with our families and friends. The COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy was updated with new standards to prevent the spread of the terrestrial virus into a space virus.

With these important updated protocols, the Areonauts needed to temporarily split into two units. The four of us who arrived on Mars will serve as Stage One Crew. The five crew members who remained on Earth will serve as Stage Two Crew; they are abiding by strict terrestrial quarantine procedures, while resuming their intense training back on Earth. They are currently serving as Remote Crew until they physically join us later at the habitat.

It was incredibly difficult to split into two units, especially because I knew what each crew member wanted to accomplish, and I was anticipating leading a successful mission for all Areonauts. We were in a pinch with the sudden loss of in-situ expertise, but if the virus from the Pale Blue Dot has taught us anything, it was the value of flexibility and patience. I am so proud to witness our remote crew supporting our in-situ crew, with our more experienced remote flight surgeon helping our in-situ HSO and our remote agricultural advisor helping our in-situ GreenHab Officer.

The pandemic has highlighted an urgent need to focus on Earth. At the same time, it has demonstrated the existential scale of unpredictable events. Cow Dung Road rests on top of dinosaur bones, ancient reptiles who met a spectacular ending 65 million years ago. As we explore this new terrain, I am reminded of how important it is to prepare for and learn from unexpected events, with parallels between space exploration, planetary defense, and planetary protection. While these concepts ring through my head, I am determined to still make this mission a success for all Areonauts. Our mission can still add a small component toward a larger set of actionable knowledge that can benefit both humans in space and on Earth, as we all learn to sometimes live in isolation and with limited resources.

Journalist Report – September 29th

Jin Sia, HSO

They say it isn’t the speed that kills you
but the stopping.
Free the reins of the Sun’s
rays entangling the Hab in a net of
time and frenzy and the
tick tock tick tock tick tock
of raindrops dying upon the roof;
a patina of water,
here today, reincarnated tomorrow in a puff of the heavens,
returning to the cycle that is here
but isn’t supposed to be here.

From where did the water come?
From where in the disk of
spinning, spinning,
gossamer threads of matter from the dust
that came from dust that came from dust,
and that to dust will return,
from the ice-cold encrusted sleep
upon the sunken eyes of the unknown.

"Shade under my roof of dreams," says the Hab,
"Ponder in my pocket of dark," whispers the SciDome,
"Revive in me," emanates the GreenHab,
"Take a gift and leave a gift," booms the RAM from deep depths above.

Aerobrake into a shower of possibility,
fire retrorockets into a plume of vision.

At the end of the long dash
a summit awaits,
ready for another day,
ready for another day.

Sol Summary – September 29th

Crew 228 Sol Summary Report 29Sep2021

Sol: 2

Summary Title: Breath In, Slow Down

Author’s name: Inga Popovaite

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary:

Second day on Mars was a slow one. No EVAs were scheduled for the day due to inclement weather. The main activity of the crew was the safety tour of MDRS led by Jin, the crew HSO. Otherwise, we all worked on our own projects and slowly settled into life on Mars. Inga (crew scientist/GreenHab officer) planted some banana peppers, lettuce, chamomile and carrots. Cucumbers and zucchini seem to have sprouted overnight!

Lindsay set up her work space in the Science Dome, Dave fixed one of the room doors and worked on the radios, and Jin caught up with his blogging. Some of us took our very first showers.

Crew 228 slowed down, breathed in, and settled on Mars.

Look Ahead Plan: Planning to have first EVAs (the Marble Ritual) tomorrow.

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Rain in the morning; overcast in the afternoon, beautiful cotton sunset.

Crew Physical Status: Feeling more rested than yesterday

EVA: None

Reports to be filed: Commanders Report, Journalist Report, EVA request, Science Report

Support Requested: None

Science Report – September 29th

Crew 228 Science Report 29Sep2021

Crew Scientist / GreenHab Officer Inga Popovaite

Inga is continuing data collection for the last part of her dissertation on group interaction in space analog environments. She is conducting participant observation and aims to contribute to the sociological studies of groups in space and space-like environments

The crew started piloting data collection instrument for another sociological study of emotions and emotion management in space analog environments. It is a personal diary with daily prompts that asks the participant to reflect on the day’s events. The crew will continue daily journaling throughout the mission in order to give feedback and improve future participant experience.

Other science and research projects are to be started soon.

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