Crew Photos – January 17th

Good evening Atila and Mission Support Team,

Attached are the daily photos, showing our arrival at MDRS, our first glance of the hab, inventorying items and touring the station.

Best regards,
Carlos Salazar
Crew engineer crew 226

Crew Photos – January 13th

CapCom,

Daily Photod for today, Sol 11, depicting not only our final
rover-based EVA to Candor Chasma, but also the unveiling of the
victorious Sprirulina parenting competitors – CMD. Robinson by far,
and ENG Werner a close second.

Articles coming after dinner.

Operations Report – January 16th

Supplemental Operations Report 16Jan2022

Name of person filing report: Atila Meszaros

Reason for Report: Routine

Non-nominal systems: Nothing to report

Action taken for non-nominal systems: n/a

Generator: Total run time 424.1 hours. Still being manually run at night. 76 more hours for the generator’s air filter and spark plug maintenance, parts have been already received. Generator’s oil filter maintenance was done today 100 hours after the last oil change. Oil filter was replaced and a new one was installed. Oil level is full.

ScienceDome Dual Split: Off

Solar—Nominal, charge controllers off at night. We turn the generator on before the SOC reaches 70%.

Solar— VDC Last daylight hours: (information obtained from

Average 51.35

Minimum 46.8

Maximum 59.3

Notes on solar: Nothing to report

Propane Reading, station tank – 25 %

Propane Reading, director tank— 30 %

Propane Reading, intern tank— 33 %

Propane Reading, generator— 65 %

Ethanol Free Gasoline – 4 gallons

Water (Outpost tank) – 300 gallons

Perseverance rover used: No

Hours: 226.1

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 100

Currently charging: Yes

Sojourner rover used: No

Hours: 160.8

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 100

Currently charging: Yes

Notes on rovers: All rovers batteries have been checked and every cell has been refilled. Curiosity’s low performance on Thursday was definitely due to its battery’s cells being almost empty. All of the rovers needed refilled, except Percy, which was refilled some weeks ago. However, the batteries’ connection showed acid on the surface and has been deeply cleaned with baking soda.

ATV’s Used: (Honda, 350.1, 350.2, 300): none

Reason for use: n/a

Oil Added? No.

ATV Fuel Used: 0 gallons

# Hours the ATVs were Used: 0

Notes on ATVs: Oil checked on both, Honda and 350.1 again. Oil levels nominal.

HabCar used and why, where? Yes, for water runs for both Greenhouse and Hab’s static tank. Oil, transmission and coolant levels are looking good.

CrewCar used and why, where? Yes, to transport the last crew to GJT. Still awaiting for the new crew’s PCR covid test to have clearance to arrive at MDRS.

Luna used and why, where? No

Business internet: Nothing to report

General notes and comments: Nothing to report

Campus wide inspection, if action taken, what and why? Nothing to report

Summary of general operations: New propane tank for the generator is installed. It is 500 gallons (400 worth of propane), so it is double the size of the one we had before. Blackburn will come early on the week to refill all our 4 propane tanks. Science Dome foundation has been secured, all the structure is surrounded with gravel taken from the vicinity of the observatory. Furnace and lower deck space has been measured and plotted for new furnace installation. Generator still turned on every evening around 8 PM at a 70-80% SOC. Awaiting for new toilet installation in the next few days. Tomorrow will take the CrewCar to Ryan’s Auto for service and oil change. Fertilization of our crops is due tomorrow. 1 helmet of the previous report has additional scratches on the right side. Seems that it has a bit of white paint on it. Two helmets of suits 7 and 8 present grey scratches above forehead level (probably from hitting the Rover top part). CO monitors arrived and has been placed in the RAM. All the food and supplies for the crew is already on campus, all the water tanks are full and we are looking forward to having them here!

Summary of Outpost operations: Intern Trailer back side had some uncovered holes that have been gorilla taped after cleaning the surface from old tape. A section under the trailer was detected to be open, probably causing the freezing of our water pipes during cold nights, has been partially secured with clamps, but drilling is needed to secure the piece. Two jacks have been secured under the Intern Trailer in what would be the living room area. It is definitely more stable. Both plants from the Science Dome have been moved to the Intern Trailer.

Summary of health and safety issues: Nothing to report

EVA Report – Jan 13th

EVA #12

Author: Robert T. Turner

Purpose of EVA: Geological and geographical re-surveying, filming for
the multimedia art project and documentary project

Start time: 12.45 PM

End time: 3.15 PM

Narrative: Successfully followed route to canyon and collected
inspiring imagery and some further samples of petrified wood and other
geological exemplars.

Destination: Candor Chasma, Area G

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): 517500 by 4256500 UTM NAD27

Participants: Werner, Turner, Pokrywka

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: MDRS Driveway to Cow Dung Rd.,
bearing North to Galileo Road 1104, past Compass Rock on Galileo Rd,
and parking at the second entrance to Candor Chasma

Mode of travel: Spirit and Curiosity. Then by foot.

Operations Report – January 13th

Crew 238 Operations Report 13-01-2022

SOL:11

Name of person filing report: Simon Werner

Non-nominal systems: none

Notes on non-nominal systems: none

Spirit rover used: Yes

Hours: 152.0

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 74%

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used: No

Hours: 82.6

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: Yes

Curiosity rover used: Yes

Hours: 164.5

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 97%

Currently charging: yes

Perseverance rover used: No

Hours: 226

Beginning charge: unknown

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: Yes

General notes and comments:

Tunnels between HAB and Observatory used for hull breach emergency
case exercise.

Summary of Hab operations:

WATER USE: 26 gallons

Water (static tank): 219

Water (loft tank): filled to 55 gallons

Water Meter: post pumping 01547250

Static to Loft Pump used – yes

Static tank pipe heater (on or off): on

Static tank heater (on or off) on

Toilet tank emptied: No

Summary of internet: nominal

Summary of suits and radios: nominal

Summary of GreenHab operations:

WATER USE: 12 gallons

Heater: On

Supplemental light: Yes

Harvest: 44g Weed Gras, 120g Tomatos

Summary of Science Dome operations: None

Dual split: Off

Summary of RAM operations: non

Summary of any observatory issues: none

Summary of health and safety issues: none

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support:

We provide harvested weed gras in the RAM.

Have a nice evening, Simon

Operations Report – January 14th

SOL:12

Name of person filing report: Simon Werner

Non-nominal systems: none

Notes on non-nominal systems: none

Spirit rover used: No

Hours: 152.0

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used: No

Hours: 82.6

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: Yes

Curiosity rover used: NO

Hours: 164.5

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: yes

Perseverance rover used: No

Hours: 226

Beginning charge: unknown

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: Yes

General notes and comments:

Tunnel between HAB and Science dome used for fire extinguishing exercise.

Labyrinth removed.

Summary of Hab operations:

WATER USE: 40 gallons

Water (static tank): 179

Water (loft tank): filled to 55 gallons

Water Meter: post pumping 01547762

Static to Loft Pump used – yes

Static tank pipe heater (on or off): on

Static tank heater (on or off) on

Toilet tank emptied: No

Summary of internet: nominal

Summary of suits and radios: nominal

Summary of GreenHab operations:

WATER USE: 11 gallons

Heater: On

Supplemental light: Yes

Harvest: lettuce 10g, microgreens 47g, Swiss chard 40g, rucola 25g, tomatoes 43 g

Summary of Science Dome operations: None

Dual split: Off

Summary of RAM operations: non

Summary of any observatory issues: none

Summary of health and safety issues: none

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support:

We received white trash bags in the RAM, thanks.

This is my last Crew 238 operations report.

I’d like to say thank you & have a nice evening, bye

Sol Summary – Jan 13th

Crew 238 Sol Summary Report 13Jan2022

Sol:11

Summary Title: A Taste of Fresh Martian Spirulina

Author’s name: Sionade Robinson

Mission Status: Ongoing

Sol Activity Summary: Research work continues. We concluded our
Spirulina competition with a comparison of colour and density of our
individual tubes. Photogra will show the considerable variation, some
thriving and some dead. We compared notes on our various regimen of
care – noting a more consistent approach to temperature, light and
agitation led to optimum results best. This evening Aga harvested 10g
of Spirulina from the litre jar currently incubating in the Green Hab
and we ate it on crackers. It is a high protein foodstuff, bright
green and viscous with only a faint taste. An EVA to Area G Candor
Chasma to extend sampling was successfully completed and an Emergency
Simulation of tunnel breaches executed effectively.

Look Ahead Plan: On our last day at MDRS the crew seekpermission for a
walking EVA for four participants followed by removal of temporary
labyrinth from sand north of Science Dome. Completion of cleaning
programme and packing ready to depart.

Anomalies in work: None.

Weather: Cloudier than yesterday and colder. No wind

Crew Physical Status: Nominal.

EVA: By Rover to Area G.

Reports to be filed: Sol, Operations, EVA Report, Journalist and HSO report.

Support Requested: EVA Request

Additional Support: Wheatgrass harvested (see Operational report) but
not for crew consumption. Left in Airlock for collection for Martian
Dogs who apparently regard it as a treat.

Sol Summary – Jan 14th

Sol:12

Summary Title: End of Sim

Author’s name: Sionade Robinson

Mission Status: Ongoing at home

Sol Activity Summary: Early morning fire practice to rescue crewmate
from Science Dome – successfully executed. Morning of research,
normal duties and final report writing.

End of Sim.

Look Ahead Plan: Pleanning for hand back MDRS and departure tomorrow morning.

Anomalies in work: None.

Weather: Fine day, no wind

Crew Physical Status: Nominal.

EVA: None in sim. Eradication of temporary labyrinth in sand by Science Dome.

Reports to be filed: Sol, Operations, Journalist and HSO report
(submitted). Summary GreenHab, Mission Summary.

Support Requested: None

Additional Support: None.

Sol Summary – Jan 17th

Sol: 0

Summary Title: The Adventure of Mars Begins

Author’s name: Yael Méndez- Commander

Mission Status: First Landing of Mars

Sol Activity Summary: Crew 226 arrived at MDRS, Checklist of food and supply inventory, familiarization of the Hab.

Look Ahead Plan: Training and beginnig of the SIM

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Partially Cloudy

Crew Physical Status: Nominal

EVA: None

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Crew Patch, Crew Bios, Personal photos

Support Requested:

Mission Summary – Crew 238

Mars Desert Research Station

Crew 238 Mission Summary

January 2- 15th, 2022

Through hardship, tomorrow to Mars, the Earth always

Crew

Commander: Dr Sionade Robinson

Executive Officer and Journalist: Pedro Marcellino

Health and Safety Officer: Robert T. Turner

GreenHab Officer: Dr Kay Sandor

Artist-in- Residence and Crew Astronomer: Aga Pokrywka

Crew Engineer: Simon Werner.

 

Acknowledgements

Crew of MDRS 238 would like to thank the Board and members of the Mars Society whose vision for MDRS made our mission possible: Dr. Robert Zubrin, President, Dr. Shannon Rupert, MDRS Director, Atila Meszaros, Assistant Director, Dr. Peter Detterline, Director of Observatories, who trained and assisted our Crew Astronomer before and during the mission; and Bernard Dubb, Johanna Kollewyn, Dani Gamble, Juan Miranda, who in addition to Atila, served as CapCom.  We would also like to thank Bharghav Patel for his exceptional ground support, Jason Michaud of Stardust Technologies for engaging us in a VR project in use in several space analogues.  Drew Smithsimmons and Rob Brougham Co-Founders of Braided Communications for the training and facilitating use of a new communication technology to address emotional wellbeing in future deep space faring,  and Dr Julia Yates of City University of London who will evaluate this first-of-its-kind study.  Thanks are also due to Mr Don Mear for receiving and storing many crew packages Grand Junction prior to our arrival.  Lastly, enormous gratitude goes to our family and friends for both joining research project and for sparing us not only for our rotation, but the many online weekend meetings over the last two years of preparation.

 

Mission description and outcome

Crew 238 is a crew of diverse, international, multidisciplinary and experienced professionals, curated by the Mars Society after individual applications in 2019. The average age is 53.  Our assigned rotation was for January 2021, but necessarily postponed in the global pandemic. Nevertheless we maintained and developed our focus and once travel and the MDRS re-opened in Autumn 2021, we were on our way.

 

Our focus throughout has been the wellbeing of future astronauts – both in our individual and joint projects.  Our shared objectives were

 

  • Maintaining simulation fidelity in all activities, including standard ops, communications, emergency procedures in collaboration with Mission Support
  • Producing and documenting results on emergency preparedness and responsiveness
  • Effectively working with External Partners in testing effects of “Braided” communications” vs Latency Governed Messaging on the well-being and emotional response of the crew when communicating with loved ones
  • Engaging in mindfulness and reflection practices as mitigation strategies for stress conditions
  • Extensive multimedia journaling for internal MDRS use and external public relations
  • Welcoming and engaging a visiting journalist arranged by The Mars Society

and

  • Post mission, generating a portfolio of multimedia assets and creating additional outreach opportunities for media, schools, and other public support of future human travel to Mars.

 

With the exception of the last objective (ongoing), the crew have successfully completed these shared goals. Data collected in a world-first study Examining the impact of communication latency on crew closeness to loved ones on Earth – Mars Desert Research Station Mission 238: A Small Group Study (IRB-approved) will be analysed by Dr Julia Yates of Department of Psychology at City, University of London on our return.  Additionally, it is pleasing to report we have managed our water, internet and food resources efficiently.

 

But our shared goals are the mere tip of the iceberg when considering work undertaken at MDRS over the last two weeks.  Our individual projects have included data collection in Standardized Emergency Response Strategies (SRS),  Mars Research Storytelling: Personal and Public Narratives in Mars & Space Research, From Space to Bacterial Colonization, Astronauts’ Coping Strategies in High Pressure Environments and Value creation with an Explorer’s Mindset. Both research work and “HabLife” have been followed by a leading Portuguese national newspaper on a daily basis, demonstrating considerable pubic engagement and outreach expertise of our XO and Crew Journalist.

 

Physically, crew health, as assessed by HSO Turner, has been robust despite a few minor bumps and bruises expertly dealt with along the way.  Our commitment to maintaining simulation and to optimising our time meant we adopted many best practices of successful crew rotations in environments much more demanding than our two week rotation at MDRS.  We have actively followed a schedule of work, rest and play.  We have eaten breakfast, dinner and almost every lunch together (some surprisingly excellent meals, by the way),  we socialised and we made time to reflect on learning, challenges and positive experiences in a daily After Action Review after dinner.  We also shared a lot of laughter – and it is important to note laughing together should not be considered a mere passing pleasure.  Studies have shown that shared humour is likely to play an important part in selecting the crews that will travel to Mars.  Laughter is a valuable interpersonal tool essential to coping with boredom brought about by prolonged periods of isolation, routine and social monotony. It enhances morale and serves an important communication function when expressing frustration or dissatisfaction in a socially acceptable manner, without causing additional stress or conflict.  Crews that laugh together have been shown to be significantly more productive and high functioning, as well as likely to remain “intact”, rather than split into cliques and subgroups.

 

Fig. 1. Left to right, CHO Sandor, HSO Turner, XO Marcellino, Artist Pokrywka, ENG Werner, Commander Robinson.

 

Science and Research Outcomes on site:

  • Crew 238 organised around two fundamental research trunks: astronaut mental health and well-being, on the one hand; and public narratives about Mars research, on the other. The former involved all crew members, through our collaboration with the aerospace start-ups Braided Communications, Stardust Technologies, and City – University of London, but also crew member Dr. Kay Sandor, an experienced psychotherapist. The latter touches upon the open-ended research and storytelling work conducted by the artist-in-residence, Aga Prokywka, and XO, Pedro Marcellino who also served as Crew Journalist and documentarian. Research on leadership learning through exploration and expeditions will also be forthcoming (Robinson).
  • In addition to storytelling and documentary work to be completed and published in mainstream English-language media in Canada and beyond after rotation, XO Marcellino has reported on a daily basis to Observador, one of Portugal’s leading broadsheets, in partnership with one of their science reporters, using Braided’s latency messaging as a core communication tool. Between daily chronicles and the reporter-led pieces, a total of 30 articles were published as a Crew 238 Special Feature, pre-, during, and post rotation. Ten further articles have been published on the European Science Communicators Network, a collective of expert journalists writing on contemporary science topics.
  • For our research on emergency scenarios, the crew was introduced to firefighting principles on Earth and discussed how these would need to be adapted for emergency response on Mars. Work included a practical exercise using a CO2 fire extinguisher and use of an Curaplex® patient transporter. After introduction to the ARAI principle (Alarm, Response, Analysis, and Information to ‘mission control’), several Mars-related emergency exercises were conducted including a medical emergency during an EVA, with recovery and transport of an astronaut to the HAB, a fire in the RAM airlock with a person trapped, a solar flare event including evacuation of the whole crew to a shelter (Science Dome) and a hull breach scenario within the tunnels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig.3 Robinson and Pokrywka firefighting in simulated emergency exercise.

 

  • Lessons learned through these exercises addressed the importance of gathering the crew in a specific place – to immediately see if anyone is missing. As on Earth – firefighting on Mars demands a trained crew who can quickly identify fire source(s) and responses. A significantly faster response time was achieved after practice.  The solar flare evacuation event went flawlessly and in a coordinated, calm manner. A tunnel rupture exercise demanded section shutdown and identification of the exact rupture position. Even in daylight it took the responding crew several minutes to identify the distributed ruptures and to “repair” them, when suited up.  In terms of learning, we now recommend airlock design allow space for an injured astronaut to be safely transported in supine position and accompanied by at least 3-4 responders. Emergency stretchers or blankets should provide an opening for the life support system. A summary of findings will be written up as a White Paper.
  • Agnieszka Pokrywka (ART) in her multidisciplinary practice merging art, technology, and natural sciences, focussed on the exploration of invisible to the human eye micro and macro scales of living on Mars. She not only observed several astronomical objects (M 51, IC 434, M 101, IC 1848, IC 1805, Ceres, 104P Kowal, C 2019 L3 ATLAS) with the use of the telescope. She also investigated via the dark field microscope bacterial starters for fermented foods, as well as the samples gathered during EVAs. She was also searching for visual and aesthetic similarities between these images.
  • Throughout the mission, Pokrywka was cultivating bacterial starters to enrich the analogue astronauts’ diet with sourdough bread, yogurt, kombucha, and water kefir. She was also cultivating spirulina platensis, a cyanobacteria popularly known as spirulina generating 57g of protein per 100g. Cultivation took place both in a 1 litre vessel in the Green Hab as well as in six mini-bioreactors nurtured by each member of the crew. This experiment aimed to introduce each crewmate to the basics of spirulina cultivation, as well as elements of mindfulness and care. The benefits of growing spirulina this way are not only the production of oxygen and nutrients but also the connection and care for another being which we all seemed to miss during our mission. All the bacterial cultures, without exception, do surprisingly well at MDRS.

 

Fig 3. Comparing results of mini bioreactors nurtured over three days by crew.

  • Within the wellbeing research undertaken by Dr Sandor, experiments related to medicinal herbs for inhalation (Lavender Sachet), ingestion (Lavender Biscotti), and teas (Chamomile and Tulsi/Holy Basil), introduced to the crew during evening information and ritual times in our crew kitchen. The purpose of using these medicinal herbs was to reduce stress and anxiety. Informal immediate responses revealed all these activities were relaxing and restorative. Qualitative data about the effects of this activity was gathered before and after these activities and will be analyzed at a later time.
  • The introduction of the labyrinth as an instrument to reduce stress, relax the body, and quiet the mind was conducted in several stages. First the history of the labyrinth throughout time was outlined. Second, the process of the walk, and finally, the actual drawing of the labyrinth on paper, and then on the Martian (Utah desert) surface were introduced. A smaller 3-circuit labyrinth was attempted, but the Martian surface was very hard and the results were not satisfactory. Another larger temporary 7-circuit labyrinth was successfully drawn on a softer Martian surface. After drawing, the crew, in two separate EVAs, walked the meditative path of the labyrinth to the centre and then took the same path back to the exit. Immediate crew responses included curiousity and intrigue about the experience of walking the labyrinth – and a desire to repeat it. One said he felt like he left the campus as he focused on the path. Another thought it was meditative. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered before and after the walk were collected and will be analyzed later.

Commander’s Reflection

 

Fig.4: Crew profiles captured in silhouette by morning sunlight on upstairs of Hab wall.

 

As Commander I would like to conclude by highlighting a challenge that research has already identified for future travel to Mars- that of the Personality Paradox, noted more than twenty years ago by Professor Peter Suedfeld in his paper, The Environmental Psychology of Capsule Habitats (2000). The paradox is this – most volunteers for anything as challenging and unusual as space, undersea habitats, and polar work will score toward the upper end of any scale of thrill-seeking, novelty-seeking, and competence-effectance motivation. In a nutshell, such recruits want adventure and challenge.  Yet the reality of missions will often be monotonous, routine, and full of boring tasks. A second factor is that volunteers also tend to be high on the need for personal control and autonomy, whereas capsule life is in fact controlled by environmental requirements and organisational regulations.

 

The implication of the paradox is that programmes risk recruiting exactly the kinds of people most likely to be unhappy on site. This finding poses questions about what can be done to improve recruitment, orientation, training, or the capsule conditions to diminish the gap? The most promising mitigating strategy is to ensure potential recruits are familiarized with what the experience will really be like by thorough orientation and experience in analogue environments (the value of such locations as MDRS). A second potential area to investigate is the degree to which procedural guidelines can maximize variety, flexibility, and control by the crew rather than base staff.  There is clearly much more research to be done in this field.

 

End.  (2000 words approx, excluding titles and labels).