Crew 228 EVA Report 02-Oct-2021
EVA # 4
Author: Inga Popovaite
Purpose of EVA: Exploratory EVA to underexplored region SW from Robert’s Rock Garden
Start time: 9.06
End time: 12.49
Narrative: Dave and Inga decided to start EVA 30 min earlier because of the sunny and warm (76F) day ahead. Exited the airlock and took Perseverance and Curiosity for a drive south to Robert’s Rock Garden. They planned to walk to a river-delta looking region that was, as per crew knowledge, underexplored. On the map it looked like a moderate hike of ~ 600 meters towards a dried river delta on the other side of a small ridge. The digital map on ArcGIS indicated passageways to the delta, thus the EVA crew were hopeful that they can get to the point of interest with the assistance of a gps unit and a less-detailed map.
The EVA crew lost radio connection with the Hab right around Robert’s Rock Garden and found themselves all alone in the eery red desert. They followed the plan and walked west along the Kissing Camels Ridge until they were forced to stop. Dried river beds that showed up in the map as passable routes were narrower than expected and not passable with EVA suits. The EVA crew tried to ascend the ridge but it became too steep and unsafe to continue. In the end the EVA crew were unable to reach their final destination. However, they took photos and recorded GPS coordinates of potential pathways for future crews to explore.
The EVA crew was more successful on the way back. They ventured to Dave’s supply ship and successfully retrieved a box of granola.
Another successful part of the journey was testing out improvised sun visors. They draped shirts over helmets and suits to block out the sun on the walk back. It was possible to block the sun out and still keep one’s field of vision.
Jin acted as primary HabComm during the EVA and was concerned about his lack of knowledge about the EVA team’s status during the blackout. Based on the events that transpired, he devised several operational and communications protocol recommendations to improve future EVAs. He interviewed the EVA team after their return about their observations near the river delta escarpment and determined the reason the planned path was so much more challenging than expected. The path up the escarpment consisted of a staircase-like structure with each ‘step’ being on the order of 1-2 metres tall. While the average slope was gentle, the staircase structure itself was dangerous to negotiate in EVA suits. Due to the small size of the steps, the digital elevation model did not have a sufficiently small pixel size to resolve them, making the path look deceptively flat. After investigating several alternate paths up the escarpment, we have concluded that it is probably unreasonably risky to scale it in EVA suits without specialized climbing equipment.
Destination: Parked at Robert’s Rock Garden, aimed for dried river delta in the SW of it, did not make it past the ridge
Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS):
ROBERT’S ROCK GARDEN 38.39331 N -110.78966; W 4249269 N 518369 E
DELTA ENTRY 38.39281 N -110.79600 W 4249212 N 517815 E (did not reach this point)
Participants: Inga Popovaite, Dave Laude
Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map:
Cow Dung Road; parking at Robert’s Rock Garden and walking west following the Kissing Camel Ridge West.
Mode of travel: Driving, walking