Jornalist Report- January 20th

Good evening CAPCOM,

The following is is the journalist report for Sol 3.

Best regards,

Cristian Acosta, HSO

Trouble Navigating on Mars

Today the crew woke up to a delightful breakfast made by our commander Yael, crew geologist Maria Paula, and crew scientist Felipe. It was egg and cheese with hydrated fruit and almonds on the side. The crews` spirits were lifted not only by the wonderful meal but also by the very engaging and hilarious morning conversations. Very entertaining these conversations were, that they even made us a bit late for our scheduled EVA at 9am. As a result, everyone seemed to be in a rush to save as much time as possible for the EVA that the chit chat ended abruptly. As Felipe and Cristian were in their crew quarters putting on their attire, Yael and Maria Paula went to the green hab to water the crops. Crew Engineer Carlos stayed on the upper deck to wash the dishes. Once all 3 EVA crew members were in the suiting room on the lower deck, it seemed like an eternity to get into the airlock as we were eager to get on our way as quickly as possible as we were already eating up 20 minutes of our EVA time in the suiting room. It did not help that multiple issues arised during the suiting up of the astronauts. For one, Cristian´s earpiece mic, was not working properly in the airlock and secondly no one on the EVA team had prepared to bring with them a time keeping device. Because of this, the EVA team had to depressurize twice in the airlock. Not a great start to the day. After pressurization, the EVA team, who comprised of Felipe, Cristian, and led by Maria Paula went to their respective rovers along with an additional companion. This companion was very small and surprisingly resistant to the harsh Martian surface environment. The crew was definitely not expecting this cute ratatouille (that had been baited with Nutella and captured the previous night) to survive in its unpressurized cage on Mars. The crew did not think much of it and continued on with the EVA. Both Cristian and Maria Paula got in and took off with rover Spirit, while Felipe took rover Percy. As the rovers made their way to the exploration site of "Moon Overlook" the cold martian air started to feel even colder with the relative wind. The team eventually reached a point on the main road that appeared to be the location to turn off of the main road leading to the exploration site. It also became a stopping point as Percy had reached a battery level of 63% and hence the crew no longer felt comfortable proceeding down the main road from that point. As the team left the vehicles to identify exactly the road upon which to further traverse the surface to the exploration site, it became clear that there were no obvious roads anywhere to be found. It was also at this point that the team unloaded the additional companion of the drive and set it free from its cage never to be seen again. Once freeing the little guy, the team set out to scout the area by walking West. As the team continued walking, they eventually stumbled upon a downward sloped feature that was a part of a network of small canyons. The crew seemed lost. They were not expecting this at all. Pictures were taken at this site not with wonder but with questions about the exact location of where they were. No help could come from the Hab as they were way beyond the range of the 2 way radios and as such, they were left to figure it out on there own. Fortunately, the crew had at there disposal a GPS which created even more confusion as they were reading on the map that they had arrived at the correct coordinates for the branch road that would lead them to the exploration site. The crew then started to observe the great amount of erosion that had occured on the land they were standing on. This led to thoughts about the road possibly having been erased. It was not all a lost cause as the crew did retrieve pieces of gypsum laying out on top of the surface. The radiated heat of the sun and the cold temperatures were definitely taking a toll on the crew and without much success in finding the road to the exploration site, the hope in doing so was rapidly diminishing. It was also getting late and after spending lots of time trying to find the road, the team decided on heading back. This time Cristian got in Percy while Maria Paula and Felipe got in Spirit. On their way back, the EVA team kept tabs on their respective battery levels by relaying that information over the 2 way radios between both rovers. The team also started to address the HAB in their radio callouts to determine when they were back within range. At last, comms between the rovers and the HAB were restored. What a relief it was to arrive back at the HAB with Percy at 50% and Spirit at 67%. Cristian thinking he had driven Spirit back, parked Percy in Spirit’s spot which left Spirit parking in Percy’s spot. To their great realization, the EVA team entered the airlock surprised on how quickly they had returned from the site compared to how long it took them to drive out to the site. Of course it could also be a matter of perception on time. After pressurization was completed in the airlock, the EVA team proceeded to takeoff their spacesuits and perform a debrief in the upper deck at he dinner table while having lunch. One thing to note is that while the expedition crew members were on their EVA, the mission commander Yael and crew engineer Carlos, were busy with performing chores in the HAB such as cleaning the lower deck. All in all, there were many lessons learned from performing this EVA and the crew all agreed on making changes to the daily schedule routine and be more prepared next time in order to reduce the risk of EVA mishaps. Lunch was Colombian-style beans with ground beef and rice with veggies. Without a doubt a very pleasing lunch. The crew’s cuisine is hands down one of the best and always is a boost to morale. Later in the afternoon, different crew members took naps and even started writing their respective reports. As the afternoon progressed and evening came, the crew got to work on both making a pizza and finishing up the required reports.

EVA Report – January 20th

EVA # 3

Author: Felipe Torres, Crew scientist

Purpose of EVA: Recognition of the lithology of the zone. We would recognize the area to identify the convenience of collecting geologic samples in this zone. Additionally, our crew geologist would train our other crew members so that they would also able to collect samples needed as followed by our mission plan; this in case she is not able to go out on an EVA for some reason so that she’s not the only one capable of fulfilling this activity but that any crew member could do so.

Start time: 9:30 am

End time: 11:00 am

Narrative: We got ready for our EVA by preparing the instruments we would use for collecting samples: hammer, shovel, zip-lock bags. The rovers we used were finally Spirit and Perseverance, following Atila’s recommendation after Curiosity’s battery performance wasn’t as expected.

We drove our vehicles from MDRS entrance road and turned left at Cow Dung Road heading north towards Brahe Hwy 1572. Cristian and Maria were leading the group riding Spirit rover, and Felipe was behind driving Percy. After driving for approximately 1 mile, Percy was showing a concerning decrease in its battery, reaching around 80% in this short distance, while Spirit was in around 96%. This became the main concern for the EVA as we started debating whether or not we were going to make it to our destination before 60% and we decided that at 62% we would stop and keep advancing by foot.

We arrived at the intersection between Cow Dung Road and Brahe Hwy 1572 with Spirit rover at 86% battery and with Percy at 63% battery. The original plan was to turn left at Brahe Hwy 1572 in our Rovers until the intersection between Route 1575 and 1574 and then explore the Moon Overlook area by foot. Plans had to change since we were limited by Percy’s battery; we decided to start walking, which we realized wasn’t a good option for the following reasons: it was a long distance to cover by foot and the EVA time wasn’t going to be enough to be back to the Hab at the stipulated time; there wasn’t a clear path so we were unsure about the direction we should be heading and this made us feel uncertain about our location. The reason there wasn’t a clear path was that a recent flood had erased the path and now it’s not as clear as it used to be, which we confirmed afterwards by noticing a group of rocks that were blocking the ”road” as a signal that the road wasn’t longer available.

As the main purpose of the EVA was collecting geological samples, it is to remark that we found some pieces of minerals that we believe were gypsum; we collected samples of these minerals as it was of interest for us even though our main interest was collecting clays. The reason we are interested in these clays is that normally these minerals collect water, which can be a determining factor in finding life on Mars. Current rover on Mars (Perseverance) has an instrument that allows to measure the transmittance of a certain mineral; following our mission plan, we would like to collect these clays to take them to a laboratory in Colombia with a similar instrument of that on Perseverance rover on Mars, and study different aspects of this technique.

At this point we had lost communication with the rest of the crew in our Hab and we decided to use our GPS to confirm our location and we concluded that we were right where we thought we were. We weren’t able to keep advancing by foot due to the road conditions and EVA time available, so we decided that Cristian and Paula would keep advancing in Spirit through Cow Dung Road to explore the different exits at Cow Dung to verify that we were in the right one, while Felipe stayed at the same location waiting for them as Percy had battery issues (63%). Cristian and Maria advanced around half a mile to Cow Dung at Gateway to Lith and came back for Felipe to return to the Hab together.

At this point we were discussing probable causes of Percy’s battery issue and we decided that Cristian would return to Hab by himself riding Percy, and Felipe and Maria would follow riding Spirit, this was to see if the issue was the way Percy was being driven.

We arrived back at Hab with Spirit at 68% and Percy at 50% and concluded that the best way to drive the rovers is slow, not overworking them by accelerating fully, even if we drive at M speed we should not press the accelerator fully but only partially, as it is not necessary to go fast anyways. This way we’ll be able to save batteries and we’ll be able to cover larger distances.

For the next EVA to this destination, the best option will be to only have two crew members driving Spirit, as it’s the one with the most reliable battery condition. Yet it is still to be determined if we will reconsider an EVA at this same location.

To conclude, we weren’t able to accomplish the scientific purpose of this EVA, as we couldn’t reach the desired destination and hence, the geologist couldn’t show the rest of the crew how to collect these clay samples and what clays exactly were of interest. Nevertheless, the EVA was useful to identify some flaws or issues that we may encounter when doing long EVA’s.

Destination: Moon Overlook

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): 517631, 4254439

Participants: Cristian Acosta, Maria Bustos, Felipe Torres

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: MDRS entrance road, Cow Dung Road, Brahe Hwy 1572

Mode of travel: Rover (Spirit, Perseverance)

Felipe Torres,
Crew Scientist.

Operations Report – January 20th

SOL:3

Name of person filing report: Carlos Salazar

Non-nominal systems: none

Notes on non-nominal systems: none

Spirit rover used: Yes

Hours: 153.4

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 68%

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used: No

Hours: 82.9

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: Yes

Curiosity rover used: No

Hours: 165.1

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: yes

Perseverance rover used: Yes

Hours: 226.5

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 50%

Currently charging: Yes

General notes and comments: none

Summary of Hab operations:

WATER USE: 15 gallons

Water (static tank): 435 gallons

Water (loft tank): 30 gallons

Water Meter: currently 0154938.3

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: 9 gallons

Temperature: 104 °F

Heater: On

Supplemental light: Yes

Harvest: Cherry tomatoes 323g

74g microgreens,

30g miners lettuce,

22g rockets,

12g basil

Summary of Science Dome operations:

SOC: 99%

Summary of RAM operations: none

Summary of any observatory issues: none

Summary of health and safety issues: none

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: One of the earpieces is malfunctioning. We noticed it during today’s EVA and we’d like to request a change.

Crew Photos – January 20th

Sol: 3

Summary Title: "Live Another Sol would be an awesome name for a James Bond movie" Andy Weir, The Martian.

Author’s name: Yael Méndez- Commander

Mission Status: At this time, all crew members are immersed on Mars, looking for solutions for the resources and operations’ optimization in the HAB and EVAs.

Sol Activity Summary: The day started with breakfast and the first EVA away from the HAB (Moon overlook). The EVA had an additional purpose: to free a small intruder on Mars 🐹. Cleaning and organization activities in HAB and GreenHab were carried out. A meeting was held to have feedback after the EVA.We cooked Colombian style beans.

Look Ahead Plan: Continue exploring and discovering the wonders of Mars, while we carry out our Science projects.

Anomalies in work: Low battery on the Percy rover during the EVA

Weather: Sunny all day but the thermic sensation was at -7°C

Crew Physical Status: Nominal

EVA: One EVA realized

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Operations Report, EVA Request, EVA Report, Daily photos, Journalist report

Support Requested: hand soap, replacement earpiece for radio as one is malfunctioning, please ☺

Crew Photos – January 20th

Sol: 3

Summary Title: "Live Another Sol would be an awesome name for a James Bond movie" Andy Weir, The Martian.

Author’s name: Yael Méndez- Commander

Mission Status: At this time, all crew members are immersed on Mars, looking for solutions for the resources and operations’ optimization in the HAB and EVAs.

Sol Activity Summary: The day started with breakfast and the first EVA away from the HAB (Moon overlook). The EVA had an additional purpose: to free a small intruder on Mars 🐹. Cleaning and organization activities in HAB and GreenHab were carried out. A meeting was held to have feedback after the EVA.We cooked Colombian style beans.

Look Ahead Plan: Continue exploring and discovering the wonders of Mars, while we carry out our Science projects.

Anomalies in work: Low battery on the Percy rover during the EVA

Weather: Sunny all day but the thermic sensation was at -7°C

Crew Physical Status: Nominal

EVA: One EVA realized

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Operations Report, EVA Request, EVA Report, Daily photos, Journalist report

Support Requested: hand soap, replacement earpiece for radio as one is malfunctioning, please ☺

Crew Photos – January 13th

Hello David and Mission Support Team,

We gladly share our daily photos for SOL 3, we mainly show the activities done during today’s EVA and some Green Hab harvesting.

Best regards and good night.

Carlos Salazar
Crew engineer crew 226

Mission Plan January 18th

Mission Plan Crew 226

Team Colombia

Background

From January 16th to the 30th, 2022, the second Colombian Mars Simulation Analog Mission will take place in the MDRS. The team is integrated by Colombian students, investigators and professionals in the areas of Science, Engineering and Tech strongly related to the aerospace field. Among other challenges for the mission crew will be to go through confinement and isolation in this habitat for 15 days, on a diet based on dehydrated food and limitations on the use of water and communications.

-The Colombian main crew, Crew 226, includes:

· The Mechanical Engineering student Felipe Torres, with the position of Crew Scientist.

· Carlos Salazar, Mechatronic Engineer candidate for a master’s degree in Engineering– with the position of Crew Engineer, both from the National University of Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia).

· Cristian Acosta, aerospace engineer from Blue Origin, in charge of Health and Security Officer.

· Maria Paula Bustos, Geologist and Master’s student in Geodesy and Geoinformation Science -Technische Universität Berlin, with the position of Greenhab Officer and Crew Geologist.

· Yael Méndez, Microbiologist, from Universidad de los Andes and Master’s student in Geosciences from Universidad Nacional de Colombia with the position of commander.

The Crew Organizer is David Mateus, Mechatronic Engineer and Master’s student in Space Studies at the University of North Dakota

Projects

Carlos SALAZAR (Crew Engineer)

Project Title: 3D Mapping for rovers using point cloud stitching and Kinect

Description: Build a system that gets point clouds taken with a 3D camera on an element like the Kinect sensor and joins them together to make a 3D map of the environment and locate itself in it. The following tasks have been defined:

· Get the points clouds using Kinect and point cloud library

· Process the point clouds taken

· Check and validate point cloud stitching algorithms

· Check and validate point cloud matching algorithms

· Integrate the developed modules

Methodology: The method of research selected for this project is going to be experimental, the samples taken with the sensor will be taken mainly in indoor areas or in a controlled environment, a portion of the solution will use methods from the point cloud library PCL using example point clouds. The idea is to check if those methods work with our samples and how a correct integration of all the modules can be made, identifying its weak points to propose and evaluate ways to improve them.

Maria Paula BUSTOS (Crew Green Hab Officer)

Project #1 Title: Germination of seeds in MDRS

Description: Evaluate the germination of seeds in the Mars Desert Research Station by cultivating the same kind of seeds in the germination machine located in the Science Dom and in the Green-Hab facility to determine which of both facilities offers the most efficient conditions for the germination of the cultivated seeds in the research station.

Methodology: 1) Cultivate one kind of seeds (based on the ones available in the station) in six pots and put half of them in the germinator machine located in the Science Dom and the other three pots in the Green-hab Facility. 2) Make daily measurements of the size of the leaves in the four pots. 3) compare results and determine which facility is more efficient to grow this kind of seeds in the research station.

Project #2 Title: Classical music and the growth of plants at MDRS

Description: Evaluate the growth of cherry tomatoes and mint plants in the station under the sound of the classical music of Johan Sebastian Bach by exposing these plants daily to Bach’s songs and comparing them to a control group that is not going to be exposed to this music, and determine if Bach songs have an impact in the rate of growth of these plants in the MDRS Green-hab.

Methodology: 1) Select two cherry plants and two mint plants that were cultivated at the same time and exposed to the same conditions during the last weeks and measure the size of its leaves and the number of fruits and flowers they have. 2) Expose daily for three hours one mint plant and one cherry plant to Bach songs. 3) Measure daily the size of the leaves and the number of fruits and flowers of each of the plants exposed to classical music and the ones not exposed (control group). 4) compare results and determine if the exposure to Bach classical music affects the growth of tomato cherry and mint plants in the research station.

Felipe TORRES (Crew Scientist)

Project Title: Feasibility of using bo-PET films to build an emergency Space Tent.

Description: Analysis of the insulating efficiency of a biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (bo-PET) film in order to determine the feasibility of building an emergency space tent for EVA’s in Mars and other aerospace applications using this material.

Methodology: Take measurements of Humidity and Temperature using a DHT11 sensor and Arduino. These measurements will be taken on different control volumes outdoors both with and without the thermal insulation provided by our material. To consider meteorological factors, these measurements will be taken at different times of the day and at different locations around the station. The insulative material will then be tested on different crew members, by providing a protective layer with the material and the body temperature will be measured with and without this insulative layer.

Yael Natalia Méndez (Commander)

Project Title: Clays identification through reflectance spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy.

Description: This project seeks to use Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) to analyze the impact that clays variations and recognize their mineralogy through the laboratory techniques (reflectance spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy), and compare that with the instruments applied in the perseverance rover.

Methodology: Collect samples of different types of clays found in the MDRS and they will be processed in Colombia by Grupo de caracterización tecnológica de minerales at Universidad Nacional de Colombia.