Crew 228 Sol Summary Report October 4th

Sol: 7

Summary Title: The Stars Are Calling…

Author’s Name: Jin Sia, HSO

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary:

Inga prepared a breakfast of oats and fruit this morning. At 0900, Jin
and Inga departed on the EVA of the day, which covered extensive
objectives and spatial area. They tested two prospective EVA paths to
ascend the delta escarpment south of Kissing Camel Ridge West and
conducted an interview about field exploration with the escarpment as
a stunning background. Jin surveyed radio reception quality south of
Robert’s Rock Garden, then the team conducted a similar survey over a
nearly 4-kilometre stretch of Cow Dung Road, learning valuable
insights about the value of viewshed analysis for communications. Inga
also helped Jin practice his Russian with words relevant to driving,
like "поехали", "хорошо", and "давай".

In the afternoon, Dave conducted a fascinating post-lunch
show-and-tell about the history of electronics. He showed samples of
punch-cards for computers, toroid magnetic memory (like that used on
the Apollo spacecraft), integrated circuit designs he made, and old
models of floppy disks. Later, he led a discussion on what Martian
society could be like. He started the discussion with the prompt:
"Food production will be done by specially trained personnel and run
by a single organization answering to a citizen committee." The crew
launched on multiple tangents delving into topics like sociology, the
nuclear family structure, astrodynamics, and gender inequality. The
crew learned a lot from each other and look forward to the next

Finally, in the evening, Lindsay, Jin, and Inga started putting
together a Martian pizza. It’s currently in the making as this report
is being written and we can’t wait to try it.

On Sol 7, the crew pushed the boundaries of exploration and of the
imagination in pursuit of the goal of Mars. The stars are calling, and
we must go.

Look Ahead Plan: Lindsay will lead a second EVA to the Jotunheim
formation tomorrow to collect more samples. She will be accompanied by
Dave, who will continue Jin’s work in geographical data collection.

Anomalies in work: Some of the radio batteries are old and are causing
issues during EVA operations. Three radios failed during EVA #5 for
this reason. Dave Laude is conducting a systematic investigation.

Weather: Warm (low 80s F) and sunny.

Crew Physical Status: All crew nominal.


Reports to be filed: Photo report, journalist report, science report,
operations report, GreenHab report, EVA #5 report, EVA #6 request.

Support requested: None.


Crew 228 Commander's Report October 4th

Crew 228 Commander Report 04Oct2021

Sol: 7

Summary Title: Dog-shaped planets

Author’s name: Lindsay Rutter

Mission Status: Nominal

Commander Report:

Despite our Martian sols lasting about 39 minutes and 35 seconds longer than our days back on Earth, the first week of our mission has already soared past us. I was a crew member at this same Martian base several years ago, before the COVID amendments to the Planetary Protection Protocols, and it certainly feels different this time. Planet Earth has since undergone the largest isolation experiment in history.

During the pandemic, I have been quarantining in a teeny room in a tiny sharehouse in rural Japan, living in close quarters with five roommates. Along with being situated near Tsukuba Space Center, where JAXA astronauts train, my environment back on Earth has oddly resembled human space exploration, with themes of isolation and shared and limited resources. This seems to be the situation with several of my crew members, not feeling as much of a sharp delineation between terrestrial life and Martian life as we may have in the past.

While the global events in the past few years have rendered many of us better-prepared for space analog missions, our crew has identified numerous areas where we can more efficiently integrate the new realities of planetary protection. Due to terrestrial travel bans, we Areonauts found ourselves with remote crew that outnumbered in-situ crew. We are likely the first crew with this group dynamic at the Martian base – but we are likely not the last. As our original crew was optimized to span across diverse expertise, we had to get creative with transferring essential knowledge and informed advice from our remote crew to our in-situ crew, similar to how our society – our schools, our work, our socializing – has needed to "go virtual" these past few years. We will share our lessons learned about hybrid crew dynamics in our final mission report.

The first week of our mission has been productive with science, maintenance, and outreach projects. Jin is integrating metadata into GIS maps and using viewshed analysis to identify radio blackout regions; Inga is collecting ethnographic data of crew dynamics; and I am performing metagenomic analysis of Martian regolith samples. Dave the Wizard has repaired various hardware around the habitat. We had immense joy answering questions from students who sent us adorable and animated videos. Some questions were quite intense, asking us how we resolve brawls that break out and whether we could introduce microgravity into our simulation. Others were more light-hearted. My favorite question was if we had found any dog-shaped planets out there! I suppose it depends on whether we count Pluto.

We also pencil in time for recreational activities. During our “show and tell”, Dave showed off IBM punch cards from his college courses decades ago, with each card containing a predetermined arithmetical operation and each column corresponding to a single character, similar to what was used in the first digital computer of the US space program. He also showed us integrated circuits he designed and old models of floppy disks ~20cm in diameter. In another session, we discussed potential attributes of futuristic civilizations on Mars. We have several recreational plans for this second week, but I will not spoil them here!

I conducted a mid-mission check-in with each crew member. During our second week, I will make small adjustments to ensure each crew member fulfills their personal and professional goals as much as possible during our mission. All crew members report they are happy, and I am prepared to continue leading the second half of our mission. I want to send a mid-mission “thank you!” to our fantastic mission support and CapComs, some of whom wake up in the wee hours of the night to support us. With your support, we Areonauts will continue to put everything we can into this mission, learning and growing from each other, and eventually emerging from our mission as better analog explorers and Earthlings.

Crew 228 Science Report October 4th

Jin Sia, HSO

Science Report


Today, Lindsay continued to investigate reddish-brown regolith she
collected from five locations along the slopes of the Jotunheim
structure, an inverted river bed located approximately two kilometers
North of the HAB at 38.41712 N, -110.78466 W (NAD27). The regolith
were collected from the same geographical feature sampled by Maggiori
et al. (2020), who confirmed the presences of microbes from all three
kingdoms of life, including extremophiles that could potentially
survive the harsh elements of the Martian environment, such as
psychrophiles, halophiles, and UV-resistant microorganisms. In the
ScienceDome, Lindsay began to extract DNA using a Soil DNA Isolation
Plus Kit (Product #64000, Norgen Biotek Corp) and will then prepare
the DNA samples into libraries using the Field Sequencing Kit
(SQK-LRK001, Oxford Nanopore Technology). To simulate the lack of
state of the art facilities in the rudimentary Martian science labs,
she used human power to lyse the cells instead of using
micro-centrifuge or vortexes. Her protocol will take much longer than
usual and she will assess how this alternative process will affect the
yield of the DNA.

She will then use the handheld DNA sequencer MinION to basecall and
sequence the libraries and the MinKNOW software to perform
metagenomics analyses on the reads from the MinION. Overall, this
process will allow Lindsay to identify what organisms, if any, are
present in the regolith samples. She aims to validate the findings of
Maggiori et al. (2020), only now conducting the complete experimental
process from regolith sample collection to metagenomics analysis while
undergoing planetary exploration simulation at MDRS, all as a
proof-of-concept that metagenomics studies can be completed in-situ in
this remote environment.

Lindsay investigated alternate methods of separating DNA from the
regolith by density. She hopes to be able to use the micro-centrifuge
for this separation if possible, as separating the components at 1 g
seems to be too slow.


Jin analyzed his data collected from the radio blackout/view shed
calculation investigation EVA today. A detailed explanation is
available in the EVA #5 report.


I am studying small mixed gender crew interactions. There is no
significant gender difference in task performance and physical
adaptation in isolated, confined, and extreme environments (Harm et
al. 2001; Kanas and Manzey 2008; Mark et al. 2014). Mixed-gender crews
are praised as more efficient, cohesive, and with overall better team
climate than men-only teams. But at the same time gender differences
are recognized as a source of additional tension in a crew (Bishop
2004; Kahn and Leon 2000; Kring and Kaminski 2012; Leon 1991, 2005).
In my dissertation I aim to investigate gender inequality and
differences from a socio-structural point of view in order to help to
send a well-functioning group of women and men to Mars.

The first two chapters of the dissertation use reports from the
previous MDRS crews. In Chapter 1 I use multilevel generalized
regression models to show that women on average participate in six
percentage points less EVAs than men (p<.05) controlling for their
crew role, education, previous analog experience, number of women in
the crew, and commanders’ gender. A paper based on this chapter is
accepted for publication at the Journal of Human Performance in
Extreme Environments.

Chapter 2 utilizes commanders’ reports from 2009-2016 and looks at
communal and agentic aspects of leadership behavior. Sentiment
analysis results showed that female commanders are statistically
significantly (p<.001) more positive in their reports than their male
counterparts. Qualitative analysis results demonstrated that both male
and female commanders are agentic, but male commanders talked more
about maintenance issues, and did it in a more negative tone in
comparison to female commanders. Commanders of both genders were
communal, but male commanders focused on crew cohesion in terms of
team spirit, and women emphasized mutual support. Proportional word
frequencies confirmed that commanders of both genders are agentic, but
women tend to use more general terms and men use more specific terms
in their reports. Female commanders used more communal words than male
commanders. Overall, the results are in line with previous social role
theory research and show that commanders of both genders are agentic
(but with granular differences), and female commanders tend to be more
communal. This paper is currently under peer review.

Currently at MDRS I collect ethnographic (participant observation)
data for the last chapter of my dissertation. In addition to rich
original data, this chapter will provide context to the rest of the

And last but not least, crew 228 is helping me to pilot a future
journal study of emotion and emotion management. A significant body of
empirical psychological research on mixed-gender crews in space analog
environments reaffirm gender stereotypes: women are more
other-oriented and care more about the well-being of others, and men
are more individualistic and competitive (Bishop et al. 2010; Kahn and
Leon 2000; Leon 2005). Emotional behavior in this line of research is
seen as an intrinsic part of a personality. I approach emotions and
emotion management as aspects of a social structure. Emotional
behavior is closely intertwined with an individual’s gender and
status. Emotion management is a conscious attempt to align one’s
emotions with situational emotion rules (Hochschild 1983). This future
study will examine emotion management and unwritten emotion rules in
space analog environments.


Bishop, Sheryl L. 2004. “Evaluating Teams in Extreme Environments:
From Issues to Answers.” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine
75(Suppl 7):C14-21.

Bishop, Sheryl L., Ryan Kobrick, Melissa Battler, and Kim Binsted.
2010. “FMARS 2007: Stress and Coping in an Arctic Mars Simulation.”
Acta Astronautica 66(9):1353–67. doi: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2009.11.008.

Harm, Deborah, Richard Jennings, Janice Meck, Michael Powell, Lakshmi
Putcha, Clarence Sams, Suzanne Shneider, Linda Shackelford, Scott
Smith, and Peggy Whitson. 2001. “Genome and Hormones: Gender
Differences in Physiology. Invited Review: Gender Issues Related to
Space Flight in NASA Perspecitve.” Journal of Applied Psychology

Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 1983. The Managed Heart: Commercialization
of Human Feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kahn, P., and G. Leon. 2000. “Group Climate & Individual Functioning
in an All-Women Antarctic Expedition Team.” Journal of Human
Performance in Extreme Environments 5(1). doi: 10.7771/2327-2937.1005.

Kanas, Nick, and Dietrich Manzey. 2008. Space Psychology and
Psychiatry. Springer Science & Business Media.

Kring, Jason P., and Megan A. Kaminski. 2012. “Gender Composition and
Crew Cohesion During Long-Duration Space Missions.” in On Orbit and
Beyond: Psychological Perspectives on Human Spaceflight, edited by D.
A. Vakoch. Springer Science & Business Media.

Leon, G. R. 2005. “Men and Women in Space.” Aviation, Space, and
Environmental Medicine 76(6 Suppl):B84-8.

Leon, Gloria R. 1991. “Individual and Group Process Characteristics of
Polar Expedition Teams.” Environment and Behavior 23(6):723–48. doi:

Maggiori, Catherine, Jessica Stromberg, Yolanda Blanco, Jacqueline
Goordial, Edward Cloutis, Miriam García-Villadangos, Victor Parro, and
Lyle Whyte. 2020. “The Limits, Capabilities, and Potential for Life
Detection with MinION Sequencing in a Paleochannel Mars Analog.”
Astrobiology 20(3):375–93. doi: 10.1089/ast.2018.1964.

Mark, Saralyn, Graham B. I. Scott, Dorit B. Donoviel, Lauren B.
Leveton, Erin Mahoney, John B. Charles, and Bette Siegel. 2014. “The
Impact of Sex and Gender on Adaptation to Space: Executive Summary.”
Journal of Women’s Health (2002) 23(11):941–47. doi:

Crew 228 EVA #5 Report October 4th

EVA #5

Author: Jin Sia, Inga Popovaite

Purpose of EVA:

1.0) Scout and record candidate points of entry to the river delta
south of Robert’s Rock Garden for future EVAs to use (approx. 1.5 h.)
These points will only be explored near the bottom of the escarpment
so that their locations and the regolith structural properties can be
recorded; there will be no attempts to scale the full height of the

2.0) Validate viewshed calculation of MDRS GIS map in southern section
of Cow Dung Road for radio communications, especially in the vicinity
of Robert’s Rock Garden.
2.1) Investigate predicted reception corridor south of Robert’s Rock Garden.
2.2) If time remaining, conduct a similar investigation for the
northern section of Cow Dung Road, up to the intersection with Galileo

3.0) Film video footage for outreach.

4.0) Inga’s data collection for her dissertation on EVA crew
interaction between themselves and with HabComm.

Start time: 0900

End time: 1230


For the first part of the EVA, Inga and Jin drove to Robert’s Rock
Garden in Spirit and parked on the south side of the formation.

Inga then led the team to the entry of what is now known as Path 1, a
potential entry point to the delta that was previously found by Dave
and Inga on EVA #4. They tested the path and found that it was safely
scalable if done so slowly and with care. They found a summit to the
path, although they did not complete the ascent of the escarpment as
that was outside of the EVA plan. They discovered an alternate path
(which, similarly to Path 1, appears to have been carved by water
flow) that did not have the staircase-like structure of Path 1. This
has been named Path 2. The pair found that it was possible to descend
through Path 2 with slowness and care, especially by stepping over or
detouring around bramble-filled pits. However, it was found to require
detouring through relatively steep inclines.

Both conclude that it is possible to safely ascend the escarpment in
EVA suits, given optimal environmental conditions (good lighting, cool
air temperature), generous time constraints, good physical condition,
proper technique, and experienced hikers. It is a challenging hike
that should not be attempted in non-optimal conditions. Inga and Jin
also recommend using Path 1 over Path 2, as the main detour required
for Path 2 is difficult to negotiate. The GPS locations for the summit
to Path 1 and the entrance to Path 2 have been recorded for

After checking in with HabComm, Jin and Inga proceeded south to
investigate further alternate delta entry points. Visual surveys of
the area did not reveal any paths that were obviously easier than
Paths 1 or 2.

At that location, Inga interviewed Jin in the field about the work the
team was doing and the motivation for it. In addition to documenting
fieldwork, Inga aimed to figure out how to take video interviews
wearing EVA suits. She took additional radio with her and used a voice
recorder to record sound from it while she and Jin were communicating
via headsets. This audio will be overlayed with the video footage.

Following the interview, the team returned to the region immediately
south of Robert’s Rock Garden to check radio reception at multiple
points within it. Jin conducted a total of 14 comms checks with
HabComm every 50-100 m, then graded each check on a 4-level scale
based on the quality of the response. He found that the viewshed
calculation in ArcGIS was very conservative in this area, and that
communications were possible in a much larger region than predicted.
ArcGIS calculated that the reception corridor would fan out at an
angle of 13 degrees. However, the true extent of the fan where
communications are possible exceeds 90 degrees if one is reasonably
far away from the Kissing Camel Ridges. Perhaps this is caused by
reflection, refraction, and/or diffraction of radio waves on the
terrain. In the mean time, Inga shot several short videos for media
outreach purposes.

After characterizing the reception corridor south of Robert’s Rock
Garden, Inga and Jin drove north on Cow Dung Road, during which Jin
collected reception quality data approximately once per minute. He
collected 11 datapoints south of the Hab.

On passing the Hab, approximately 45 minutes were remaining in the
EVA, so the team decided to press on to characterize radio
communications in the northern section of Cow Dung Road. Jin collected
18 datapoints. Then, the team returned to the Hab on time.

Jin discovered that while there were no pockets of complete radio
blackout between the Kissing Camel Ridges and Galileo Road, there were
noticeable decreases in transmission quality in areas where the
viewshed calculation predicted there would be blackouts. The
transition to complete radio blackout north of Galileo road was found
to begin approximately where the viewshed calculation predicted it
would. The thickness of the boundary between reception and blackout is
between 300 and 600 m. Due to the subjective nature of evaluating
reception quality and the low resolution of the data, Jin could not
obtain high precision in his analysis.

Ironically, the team encountered problems not with radio reception,
but with their radio units in the field. Both Inga and Jin brought two
radios each for redundancy, but both of Inga’s radios failed in the
field, and Jin’s primary radio failed. Jin noticed that near failure,
the radio battery indicator drops substantially while transmitting.
Dave and Jin suspect that this due to the age of the batteries,
causing them to hold less charge and to have higher equivalent series
resistances. As a result, when the radio draws current while
transmitting, the battery’s internal voltage drop increases as
predicted by Ohm’s Law, causing the battery indicator to drop. Dave is
in the process of systematically testing the radio batteries while

Crew 228 has made a number of findings in this EVA. Firstly, it
successfully tested hiking trails that permit access to the dried-up
river delta, although these trails are challenging to negotiate and
should only be attempted by experienced EVA personnel. Secondly, it
found that viewshed calculation can be a helpful guide in finding
radio blackout regions, but its precision is low; it is on the order
of hundreds of metres.


1) Robert’s Rock Garden
2) Escarpment ~700 m southwest of Robert’s Rock Garden entering river delta
3) Search region south of Robert’s Rock Garden
4) Cow Dung Road at Galileo Road intersection

Destination coordinates:

— —

1 38.3932857°N -110.7903910°W
zone 12 4249269 N 518369 E
2 38.3880215°N -110.7955099°W
zone 12 4248684 N 517923 E
3 In same region as 2
4 38.4175715°N -110.7814639°W
zone 12 4251966 N 519142 E

Participants: Inga Popovaite, Jin Sia

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

Mode of travel: Rover and foot

Crew 228 Greenhab Report October 4th

Crew 228 GreenHab Report 04Oct2021

Crew Scientist/GreenHab Officer: Inga Popovaite

Environmental control: Kept up at 65F at night; temp higher during the day. Doors open during the day.

Average temperatures: ~70-90F during the day; kept at 65F at night.

Hours of supplemental light: N/A

Daily water usage for crops: ~10-11 gallons (more on a hot day, less on a cloudy/cooler day)

Daily water usage for research and/or other purposes:

Water in Blue Tank _____ gallons (~45% full)

Time(s) of watering for crops: morning, afternoon, evening (3 times, checking soil moisture levels more often)

Changes to crops: Seeds are sprouting and seedlings are growing rapidly.

Chamomile, thyme, carrots, and lettuce germinated since the last report.

Narrative: Mostly caring for the seedlings; bigger plants are watered once a day. All plants are happy and growing fast. We use fresh herbs from the garden daily.

Current crops:

Seedlings/sprouts: wild rocket, microgreens, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, Swiss chard, chives, marjoram, sage, oregano, thyme, carrot, chamomile, lettuce.

Mature: green onion, spinach, cherry tomatoes, aloe, rosemary, basil, cilantro, mint, Swiss chard, aloe, thai hot pepper (ornamental).

Harvest: Since last report:

5 g rosemary

24 g basil

5 g green onion

86 g tomato

17 g micro greens

14 g arugula

Total: 151 g of fresh bounty to supplement dried vegetable rich diet.

Support/supplies needed: None

Next GreenHab report: 07Oct2021

Inga Popovaitė,

Crew 228 Journalist Report October 4th

The Other

“Do you think EVAs are becoming more routine now?” I ask Jin as we check our radios. “I don’t know, we do try to spice it up by going to different locations every time,” he replies.

What I truly want to know, when does it start feeling routine? When does the simulation get under our skin and become the shared reality we know?

We stand in the airlock for five minutes. We walk to the rovers. I back out. We drive off. All this time in our standard EVA gear that consists of a bulky rectangular backpack and a fishbowl-looking helmet.

We get to Robert’s Rock Garden, the place I visited two days ago. As we walk towards the hills, I scan the view. The red desert still amazes me, but in a way that familiar beauty does.

We reach our path up; it is hidden behind a white stone that reminds me of an antique bust worn out by eons of wind and sand. We climb up; we record the coordinates; we climb down. Just two orange dots bopping around the dead valley.

Back at the rover, an excavator drives past. A local man repairing the road. Jin snaps a picture of him, he snaps a picture of us. Both encountering the other – what is real?

Inga Popovaitė,

Crew 228 Operations Report October 4th

MDRS Operations Report 02-04-OCT-2021

Name of person filing report: Shannon Rupert and Crew Engineer David Laude

Reason for Report: Routine

Non-nominal systems: Director’s heater/Intern trailer heater

Action taken for non-nominal systems: Director’s needed a new thermostat, ordered. Intern trailer had rodents in the heater. Replaced blown fuse, will clean and assess fan, may replace, and will replace broken thermostat.

Generator: Nothing to report

ScienceDome Dual Split: Off

Solar— Nominal, providing all power

Solar— SOC % Last 24 hours:

Average 85.2

Minimum 66

Maximum 100

Note on solar: We are doing very well on solar alone for this time of year.

Diesel Reading – Empty, tank to be removed soon

Propane Reading, station tank – 76 %

Propane Reading, director tank— 71 %

Propane Reading, intern tank— 72 %

Propane Reading, generator— 80 %

Ethanol Free Gasoline – 5 gallons

Water (loft tank): ~420 gallons

Water Meter: 152,486.2 units

Water (static tank) – ~20 gallons

Static to Loft Pump used –yes

Water in GreenHab – 45% of full

Water in ScienceDome: 0 gallons

Water (Outpost tank) – 175 gallons

Hab toilet tank emptied: no

Perseverance rover used: no


Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge:

Currently charging: yes

Sojourner rover used: yes


Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 100

Currently charging: yes

Spirit rover used: yes

Hours: 140.0

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 100

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used: no


Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge:

Currently charging: yes

Curiosity rover used: no


Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge:

Currently charging: yes

Notes on rovers:

ATV’s Used: (Honda, 300, 350.1, 350.2, 350.3): no

Reason for use: n/a

Oil Added? No

ATV Fuel Used: 0 Gals

# Hours the ATVs were Used today: 1

Notes on ATVs: nothing to report

HabCar used and why, where? Yes, to town for water

CrewCar used and why, where? Yes, to town laundry and supplies

Luna used and why, where? No

General notes and comments: Nothing to report

Summary of internet: All accounts are nominal. Speed has been good with the new system.

Summary of suits and radios: Some radio rechargeable batteries are not holding enough charge during EVA. Started testing while transmitting today as a demanding test under load. Seeing a big difference among batteries. There are likely enough to get us through the mission. Will put poor batteries in labeled bag and report numbers needed as replacements to get all functional phones batteries. Will also test batteries found in a bag. This will take a few days to test all of them. After we tried on the two types of EVA suits upon arrival I forgot to mention that the 2-piece had superior air flow, enough for any occasion I can imagine. The 1-piece we are using have had enough air flow thus far.

Campus wide inspection, if action taken, what and why?

Summary of general operations: Satisfactory

Summary of Hab operations: Nominal. It would be nice during a remodel to add a large clock to each level. Looming over us they would help us stay on our schedules.

Summary of Outpost operations: Intern trailer is being prepped for painting.

Summary of GreenHab operations: Nominal, but water tank hose needs rubber ring gasket that Shannon will deliver to RAM.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: Nominal.

Summary of RAM operations: A couple tools used.

Summary of any observatory issues: Robotic observatory is down.

Summary of health and safety issues: All is good.

Questions, concerns, supplies needed and requests: Green Hab hose rubber gasket requested.

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