Journalist Report – February 2nd

Crew 240 Journalist Report 02Feb2022

Author: Pierre Fabre

Title: Interview with: Commander – Good to be back?

Life in the station is becoming more and more pleasant. Some routines are well implemented (like waking up at 6:45 and workout at 7:00). In the day everyone knows perfectly what they have to do and how to do it. We are also getting used to eating dried food and saving water. (More about saving water in tomorrow’s report). We are little by little feeling closer to a real Martian crew and it is quite satisfying, to be honest.

This morning at 9:00 a team of four courageous members of the crew performed an EVA to install two experiments. This EVA was hard both technically and physically. One group installed the LOAC (Light Optical Aerosol Counter) which is basically a scientific instrument that measures airborne particles (but we will talk about this cool experiment in more detail another day)

Meanwhile, the other group installed the weather station which will provide data to understand better the measures from another experiment. (From the LOAC for example).

First, let me tell you that installing something during an EVA has nothing to do with fixing stuff at home or assembling IKEA furniture. You have to imagine that you have a 10kg spacesuit on your back that is restricting your ability to move to the bare minimum, a helmet that distorts your sight, the constraint of communicating with your crewmates only by radio, and the most important part: the equivalent of ski gloves that makes any step of the assembly technically very hard. With all that equipment on you, every movement you make becomes both time and energy-consuming.

They did a really great job and now from the window of the upper deck, we can see the weather station proudly standing on the red Martian soil! This is all the more cool because this is the window where the mascot of Raphael is standing so he can see the experiment he was in charge of during the preparation of the mission.

During the EVA, the Commander had to wear a different, less comfortable spacesuit, because his usual one had malfunctioned the day before. This afternoon our crew Engineer Francois spent some time in the RAM (Repair and Assembly Module) and successfully fixed it! Thanks to his great job our Commander will be safe for his next EVA!

Talking about our Commander I’ve interviewed him this afternoon and this is what we talked about:

-Hi Clement! How are you today on this Sol 2?

-Hi Pierre! I feel great thanks! And you?

-Yeah I’m good!

First, Commander, can you introduce yourself in a few words?

-Yes sure! My name is Clément Plagne, I’m currently a student in my last year at ISAE-Supaero, a French aerospace engineering school. Last year I did an Internship at CNES, the French space agency, where I worked as an engineer on stratospheric balloons. My passion for human space flights led me to study biomedical engineering and medicine during one semester during my gap year. After this mission, I will do another internship at the European Space Agency to work on the engineering part of their analog missions.

-Wow this will be a great experience!

How does it feel to be back in the station after two years of living on Earth?

-It’s great to be back, really. The station hasn’t changed that much, but it still took me a bit of time to settle in. Now I’m good! I got my old room and most of my habits back, and it honestly feels a little like home.

-Why did you choose to come back for another mission on Mars?

-I think the reason is pretty obvious. When you end your mission here at MDRS you feel like it passed so fast and you have only one will and it is to come back! For the part of coming back as a commander, I think it comes from the fact that during my previous mission I was the Journalist.

For this role in particular you need to be aware of all the things that happen in the station. You need to know how the scientific experiments are going but you also need to know how your crewmates feel and if they have troubles. I think the role of the commander is the logical next step but in addition to that, you become more active and start focusing on problem-solving.

-What is the thing that you liked the most during your first mission here with Crew 223?

-Photography without a doubt! At the time of my first mission, I had started taking pictures of landscapes among other things and I loved it. But here at MDRS, you can find landscapes that you would encounter nowhere else except on Mars. Moreover, the opportunity to go outside the station in a spacesuit during EVAs to take pictures makes it all the more incredible. I love to take pictures of my crewmates doing their job during EVA in such an unreal environment! I still love to look at the old pictures I took two years ago!

-I have to say I love those pictures too, you did a great job!

(I personally encourage you to take a look at those beautiful pictures)

-Wow thank you so much!

-I truly mean it!

You seem to have enjoyed this first mission so much. What is the thing that you’ve been missing the most during those two years on Earth between the two missions?

-The thing I’ve been missing since I came back on Earth is something you discover really soon on Mars. It is the lack of distraction. On Earth, it is merely impossible to work on something for more than two hours without receiving a notification or being distracted by something. Personally, I tend to be distracted easily by that kind of thing, and being on Mars is a real opportunity for me to work far more productively than on Earth.

-And is there a thing that you haven’t been missing at all?

-Yes for sure! The absence of the internet and being disconnected from the world is a double-edged sword. There are a lot of things that you take for granted on Earth but that is impossible on Mars. Googling something or buying something at your local store for your dinner recipe is not possible on Mars and sometimes it can be quite frustrating. So sometimes you’re glad to live on Earth for that kind of thing.

-Yes I can definitely see what you are talking about!

So, this year you are the Commander of the crew. Can you explain to us what is the role of a Commander and how does this role affects the way you live this mission?

-Ok so the Commander is the most experienced member of the crew because he has already done a mission. For this reason, he knows the station and how everything works inside it well. So this role is about supervision. Your job is to help your crewmates do their job properly, avoid mistakes, answer their questions and guide them to do a good job. This is a completely different perspective from two years ago when I was, just like you are now, the crew’s journalist.

As a journalist, my job was to gather information about the day and compile everything in my report but it was kind of a passive job. Now that I am here as a Commander my task is to be much more active. I am the person who knows what to do best and how to do it so I have to be ready to help and answer questions from my crewmates.

-From my point of view, it is very pleasant and comforting at the beginning of the mission to have somebody who you can rely on. You are always here to answer our questions and you’ve been here since the beginning of this mission to train us. I think you do your job well and I want to thank you for that!

Clement thank you very much for your time!

This concluded the interview. In the next reports, we are definitely going to do interviews of my other crewmates so stay tuned!

Operations Report – February 2nd

Crew 240 Operations Report 02-02-2022

SOL: 2

Name of person filing report: François Vinet

Non-nominal systems: NA

Notes on non-nominal systems: NA

ROVERS

Spirit rover used: no
Hours: NA
Beginning charge: NA
Ending charge: NA
Currently charging: (Commander’s note) Was unused, and we’re leaving under Atila’s management from now on.

Opportunity rover used: no
Hours: NA
Beginning charge: NA
Ending charge: NA
Currently charging: (Commander’s note) Was unused, and we’re leaving under Atila’s management from now on.

Curiosity rover used: yes
Hours: 165.6
Beginning charge: 100%
Ending charge: 97%
Currently charging: (Commander’s note) Was plugged in after EVA, we’re leaving it under Atila’s management from now on.

Perseverance rover used: yes
Hours: 226.6
Beginning charge: 100%
Ending charge: 94%
Currently charging: (Commander’s note) Was plugged in after EVA, we’re leaving it under Atila’s management from now on.

General notes and comments: NA

Summary of Hab operations:

WATER USE: 19 gallons

Water (static tank): 416 gallons
Water (loft tank): 35 gallons
Water Meter: 0155373.1 units
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: NA

Summary of suits and radios: The problem with suit #7 is fixed.

Summary of GreenHab operations:

WATER USE: 10 gallons at 8 am and 6 gallons at 6 pm

Heater: on

Supplemental light: on

Harvest: 52g of cherry tomatoes

Questions: NA

Summary of ScienceDome operations:

Dual split: Off

SOC: 24% at 6.50 pm (it will be checked every hour during the afternoon for the rest of the mission)

Summary of RAM operations: Suit #7 has been repaired (a connector at the switch level was slightly unscrewed)

Summary of any observatory issues: NA

Summary of health and safety issues: NA

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: one burnable trash is waiting for pickup in the rear airlock. Thank you!

EVA Report – February 2nd

Crew 240 EVA Report 02Feb2022

EVA # 3

Author: Clément Plagne

Purpose of EVA: Setting up atmospheric experiments

Start time: 09:10

End time: 10:15

Narrative: Drive went well with equipment securely loaded at the back of our rovers. Setup was quicker than expected, though still tough physically, and logistically due to some mistakes in protocol for setting up our weather station. This will require further checks as we go along.

Destination: Crossing between Entrance Road and Cow Dung Road

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS):
518 300, 425 5000

Participants: Clément Plagne, Maxime Jalabert, Marion Burnichon, François Vinet

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

Mode of travel: Rovers Perseverance and Curiosity, foot

Sol Summary – February 2nd

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 02Feb2022

Sol: 2

Summary Title: Always walk before you run.

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Business as usual, getting into the rhythm

Sol Activity Summary: The morning was dedicated to setting up two out of three pieces of our atmospheric equipment: the LOAC (an aerosol particle counter) and its associated weather station – our electric field instrument had a piece of it misplaced on our way there, and will need a little handiwork to get back into a usable state. Installation was slowed down by the fact that the weather station had many parts of its setup that we didn’t handle as well as we wished, and it’ll need touching upon a further EVA.

Inside the Hab, Julie has been working on a way to clean up some of the water we use, so we can reuse some of it on non-crucial things. This eventually required us to custom print some pieces with our 3D printer. Getting that one working well was another tedious task, which we barely accomplished by the end of the day.

In the meantime, Pierre finalized data analysis on his 3D map of the North Ridge and concluded that he needed another go at it to get more usable data. On the good news side, our Engineer fixed up my spacesuit handily.

In all, things have had some trouble getting going. This is as expected for this sort of mission – this is a big, clunky machine we’re getting going! We’ll go on and improve as we go along with it.

Look Ahead Plan: Getting our first 3D printed parts out, getting a better 3D map of the Hab ridge, and getting some data from the atmospheric experiments.

Anomalies in work: We mistakenly plugged our rovers back in after today’s EVA, and didn’t check the SOC frequently enough, leading to the level getting abnormally low, that Atila fixed. We’ve modified procedures and set up new ones to ensure this doesn’t occur again.

Weather: Cloudy, but felt warm on EVA.

Crew Physical Status: All is well

EVA: Occurred without any anomalies, was a near-total success

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, HSO Report, Ops Report, Journalist Report, EVA Report, EVA Request, Pictures

Support Requested: None

Journalist Report February 1st

Journalist Report

1-FEB-2022

Author: Pierre Fabre

Today was the day. The day we have been waiting for and working those past two years for.

This morning when we woke up, we were on Mars. This morning we left our beds when the sun was rising. We were not afraid of the strong radiations of the sun. Even if the atmosphere of Earth doesn’t protect us anymore, the walls of the Hab act like a shield against these radiations so we have nothing to be afraid of.

Today will be a great day, a day to remember our whole life. Today every member of the crew will perform their first EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity). What does that mean? We are going to leave our shield, our home, to go outside, on Mars. We are not going to go outside without being protected, we would die from it! We are going to wear our spacesuits to protect us from those lethal radiations! In addition to prevent us from dying, which is good, they look super cool!

So we start the morning with this feeling of excitement and nervousness ! But first our HSO is waiting for us for our morning workout

! We had no problem to endure it because we were only thinking of that incoming EVA.

There will be two EVAs today. For the first one, the plan is to go to the Marble Ritual area. This is the classic EVA that every crew does as a ritual. The aim is just to do a short EVA to feel more comfortable with wearing a spacesuit and driving a rover. The second one will have a scientific interest. We will go to North Ridge to map the area thanks to a drone. I will definitely talk to you in more details about this experiment later but for now I will try to describe as well as I can how you feel when you do an EVA on Mars.

9:30 : I am seated at the upper deck’s table. The crew’s commander, Clement Plagne, will do the briefing for the first EVA of the day. There is a huge map of the surroundings of the station on the table. My hands are becoming damp and I can feel the excitement growing inside of me. He puts his finger on a point on the Map : Marble Ritual, this is our destination.

For this EVA, I will be teamed up with Julie, the HSO. The other buddies will be Clement and Francois, our Engineer. Maxime, the astronomer will be our Hab Com. He is the man inside who communicates with us and makes sure everything is going well. The last member of the crew, Marion, will be in charge of taking care of the Green Hab while we are out. Marion and Maxime will participate in the second EVA of the day with Clement and myself.

9:45 : The excitement is still growing in me while I’m putting on my spacesuit with the kind help of my crew mates! I still have to test my radio and be ready to enter in the airlock at 10:00. The air conditioning system starts in my helmet and I can hear nothing but voices from the radio in my ear.

10:00 : I step into the airlock with my crew mates who are waiting for me. Maxime closes the door and we start the depressurisation. We have to stay 5 minutes in the airlock while the pressure is passing from the Earth pressure to the Mars pressure, which is 1000 times lighter.

10:04 : « one minute left » says the Hab Com in the radio. My breathing is fastening. I look to my crew mates and I can tell just by their face that they feel just like me.

10:04:50 : « ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one… » the door opens and the light comes in. After a flash that blinds me for a moment my eyes start to accommodate to the light and I can see the red colour of the sand and the rocky mountains in the background through the open door. « Welcome on Mars » says the Hab Com. The goosebumps get me. At this moment, I can’t contain a smile. This is the first result of two years of hard work that were truly worth it. A little thought to Raphael our botanist who would have loved that view and we step out of the station and land our first foot on the red soil of Mars. We dreamt so many times of this moment and now it’s real. But now we have to focus on our destination, the reason for this EVA. Marble Ritual is waiting for us!

Operations Report February 1st

Crew 240 Operations Report 01-02-2022

SOL: 1

Name of person filing report: François Vinet

Non-nominal systems: NA

Notes on non-nominal systems: NA

ROVERS

Spirit rover used: yes

Hours: 153.9

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 98%

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used: yes

Hours: 83.2

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 98%

Currently charging: yes

Curiosity rover used: no

Hours: NA

Beginning charge: NA

Ending charge: NA

Currently charging: yes

Perseverance rover used: no

Hours: NA

Beginning charge: NA

Ending charge: NA

Currently charging: yes

General notes and comments: NA

Summary of Hab operations:

WATER USE: 24 gallons

Water (static tank): 440 gallons

Water (loft tank): 30 gallons

Water Meter: 0155347.8 units

Static to Loft Pump used – yes

Static tank pipe heater (on or off): on

Static tank heater (On or off): on

Toilet tank emptied: yes

Summary of internet: NA

Summary of suits and radios: Suit n°7: ventilation system stopped working intermittently during the EVA. It seems that the problem is a short circuit at the fan switch (at the bottom of the suit). Fixing it will require to open the ventilation grid. Please advise.

Summary of GreenHab operations:

WATER USE: 15 gallons

Heater: On

Supplemental light: On

Harvest: None

Watered with 10 gallons at 8am and topped it off with 5 gallons at 6pm.

Summary of ScienceDome operations:

Dual split: off

SOC: 71% (at 06:07pm)

Summary of RAM operations: NA

Summary of any observatory issues: NA

Summary of health and safety issues: NA

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support:

– A microphone used during the EVA works very badly with lots of crackling when it is used. Is it possible to get a replacement ?

– Is it ok to plug rovers at the end of the morning EVA or is there a special procedure to save energy (plug only in the evening…) ? There was a mention of charging procedure during training that we think we missed.

EVA Report February 1st

Crew 240 EVA Report 02-01-2022

EVA #2

Author: Clément Plagne

Purpose of EVA: Acquiring EVA experience, performing capture of the first 3D maps from a drone.

Start time: 14:36

End time: 16:24

Narrative: Pre-EVA briefing went smoothly, and we walked on northbound to reach the bottom of the North Ridge. Unfortunately, the head band that held Pierre’s headset in place started falling over his eyes. He still could see, and we organized with the rest of the EVA group to lead him back to the Hab, where he successfully set up his headset correctly and got back out, with enough time remaining on the EVA to reach the objective. We arrived at the spot where Pierre could carry out his observations, where he sadly once again lost some ability to listen out of his earphone but could still successfully communicate. He successfully performed a flyover with his drone and acquired good quality 3D mapping of the area. The return went on without a hitch. My spacesuit turned off its ventilation intermittently across the EVA, but never for more than a second or two, which led me to continue as planned and assess the suit post-EVA with the Engineer.

Destination: North Ridge

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): 518500 4251500

Participants: Clément Plagne, Maxime Jalabert, Pierre Fabre, Marion Burnichon

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Entrance Road

Mode of travel: foot.

EVA Report February 1st

[category EVA-report]

Crew 240 EVA Report 02-01-2022

EVA #1

Author: Clément Plagne

Purpose of EVA: First in-sim EVA experience, acquaintance with procedures

Start time: 10:03

End time: 11:00

Narrative: Pre-EVA briefing went smoothly, and we drove to the spot safely and slowly. Finding my bearings with the map and getting my confidence back took a smidge more time than I expected, but we arrived at Marble Ritual without any delay. We walked on Marble Ritual, and a little bit around its rocky formation to get some bearings in the suits. Pierre felt confident enough in the suit to try and take out his drone, which I approved for a quick flight and a picture. A crew member mentioned that they were beginning to feel some back pain, and we therefore decided to call it for the walk and drive back to MDRS, which went well too. We were pleased to see that the batteries for both rovers stayed very high, as they had depleted fairly quickly on training day.

Destination: Marble Ritual

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): 518800 4250700

Participants: Clément Plagne, François Vinet, Pierre Fabre, Julie Levita

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

Mode of travel: Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, foot.