Sol 8 – Time for geology!
Author: Nicolas Wattelle
I think we are now well settled in the MDRS routine. Our mission plan is driving our daily life, and it feels comfortable to rely on it as we are now accustomed to the latter. See, even the (firstly “annoying”) morning sport sessions are becoming a formality to us! Or almost, I may exaggerate…
We woke up like every morning at 6:45am, to be ready for the 7 am session. This week, we begin a study of our circadian cycle. We have here two “ArmBands” given by CNES. These devices allow us to determine, by wearing them during 48 hours, our “body” cycle. When we talk about circadian, we talk about all that is cyclical in our physiology. The energy expenditure, the intensity of activity, the body temperature… How is this cycle impacted by our life on Mars? We will see! Today, Valentine and Mathéo started to wear them just before working out, and so for the two coming days. We will all wear one at some point during this mission.
Then, we continued our morning routine, as everyday: breakfast (maybe there I can add that we have more and more deep conversations), preparation for the EVAs, then separation of the crew for their respective experiments. But today’s EVA was special and has been excitingly awaited: the first for the geological study thanks to the handheld LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) analyzer from SciAps, while using the Hololens to add an Artificial Intelligence support to help the working astronauts! For this one, Cerise, Marine, Elena and Léa went out, and headed to the “Stream Bed Connector” zone. To be honest, this one asked more logistic than the previous ones, it thus began a quarter late to be sure everything was fine before going out. And for a first try it went quite well and it is very promising for the later EVAs. During the EVA, the “laser gun” stopped functioning, but it was not a problem since the martionauts brought back 3 precisely chosen samples, and we were able to turn the device on again in the station. While I am writing these words, the two freshly new geologists of the crew are processing the data taken out of these samples with lots of interest! It is very nice to see this study begin!
I asked a new question to my teammates:
According to you, and at this point of our mission, how do you feel about living isolated?
This question divided the crew on the first thought. The first « team », made of Elena, Marine and I, first mentioned the comfort of leaving behind our daily mental load. I think this aspect is notable as to live a faithful simulation (and we do!) we have to leave some of our terrestrial workload behind. The others more quickly pointed out the fact that they sometimes miss their close ones, especially when we left them in a particular context in which we could be needing news from them. This is kind of weird as said Valentine, we live cut out from the world, but we live really close to each other: we live alone, but together.
PS: I cannot end this report without thanking our crew engineer Mathéo, who always takes advantage of his not too busy days (like today) to cook some bread and wonderfully delights for the whole crew. This thing is beginning to look like a tradition. We are all fans of the delicious smell in the Hab when we all gather to write our reports!
Crew 263 EVA Report 03-01-2022
EVA # 11
Author: Nicolas WATTELLE
Purpose of EVA: Atmospheric Experiment maintenance (battery change, recovering data from PurpleAir)
The atmospheric experiment includes 5 devices: LOAC (Light Optical Aerosol Counter), an Electrical Field Mill, Purple Air (Aerosol Counter), Mega-Ares (Electrical Field Counter) and a Weather station. The aim of this experiment is to do testing of Martian-Atmospheric Study Equipment and their maintenance by human operators. Performing their maintenance and set-up while wearing spacesuits and following EVA protocols is the purpose of the experiment. All devices are located at the same place.
Batteries for the LOAC, MegaAres, the Electrical Field Mill and Purple Air needs to be changed daily. Hence, during this maintenance EVA, the 3 batteries (the Field Mill and MegaAres use the same battery) needed to be replaced.
Start time: 08:59
End time: 09:19
Narrative: EVA Participants entered the airlock at 08:57. Depressurization ended at 09:02.
The EVA participants arrived at the Atmospheric Experiment location at 09:06. The batteries of the LOAC and MegaAres were changed. Valentine was in charge of changing LOAC battery. Nicolas changed the MegaAres battery. In order to recover PurpleAir data (because we can not pull out the SD card during EVA), Mathéo took it off the mast and took it back to the station. The device will be put back on tomorrow.
At 09:11, the participants left the atmospheric experiment location.
At 09:15, the participants arrived at the Hab and entered Airlock.
09:20, pressurization over.
Destination: Atmospheric experience site (at intersection between Cow Dung Road and Entrance Road)
Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): 518288 E, 4250586 N
Participants : Nicolas Wattelle (EVA Leader), Mathéo Fouchet, Valentine Bourgeois. HabCom was Marine Prunier.
Crew 263 EVA Report 01-03-2022
EVA # 12
Author: Marine Prunier
Purpose of EVA: Analysis of geology transition zones using a handheld LIBS (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) analyzer.
Start time: 10:14
End time: 11:46
Narrative: EVA Participants entered the airlock at 10:14. Depressurization ended at 10:19. EVA participants checked the rover batteries. The obtained information is:
Perseverance: Usage Duration – 228.1 Battery Charge – 100%
Spirit: Usage Duration – 157.2 Battery Charge – 100%
Opportunity: Usage Duration – 84.7 Battery Charge – 100%
Curiosity: Usage Duration – 168.7 Battery Charge – 100%
The EVA participants took Opportunity and Curiosity at 10:25 and drove on Entrance Road until Cow Dung Road. They drove on Cow Dung Road until Marble Ritual, after Marble Ritual the road was partially flooded on 1-2 meters, they stopped and parked the rovers along Cow Dung Road at 10:29. The EVA participant walked on Cow Dung Road until the junction with Stream Bed Connector (10:38).
They walked on Stream Bed Connector and reached two points of interest at 10:45 (the two points of interest were located 20 meters from each other, GPS location 519297 E 4251286 N). The EVA participants stayed about 35 minutes in this area, they proceeded on sketches and pictures. A software issue with the LIBS analyzer prevented the participants to use it on the field, therefore three samples of rocks have been taken for further analysis at the station.
At 11:19, the participants left the point of interest. At 11:39 they reached the rovers parked on Cow Dung Road. When starting the return to the station, a tourist car surprised the participants from behind, they waited for them to evacuate the road and returned safely to the Hab.
At 11:41, the participants arrived at the Hab:
Opportunity: Usage Duration – 84.8 Battery Charge – 99%
Curiosity: Usage Duration – 168.9 Battery Charge – 97%
They entered Airlock and at 11:46 the pressurization was over.
Destination: Zone F -final point of interest reached located on the Stream Bed Connector road at 12S 519297 E 4251286 N.
Participants: Marine Prunier (EVA leader), Léa Rouverand, Cerise Cuny, Elena Lopez-Contreras. HabCom was Valentine Bourgeois.
Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Entrance Road, Cow Dung Road, Stream Bed Connector Road.
Mode of travel: Rover on Entrance Road and Cow Dung Road till Marble ritual, foot on Cow Dung Road and on Stream Bed Connector.
Crew 263 Sol Summary Report 01-03-2022
Summary Title: Deep conversations
Author’s name: Cerise Cuny
Mission Status: Nominal
Sol Activity Summary: Today was an intense day in terms of social interactions. At breakfast, we had a long conversation about Police violence and the 2015 terrorist attacks in France and Spain. We were stricken by the fact that even 7 years later the feelings of horror, pain and sorrow did not leave us at all. I mention this because it was quite a deep conversation and I felt like it strengthened our relationships: there is a unique bond between people sharing a common traumatise. The morning EVAs went well. Even if it wasn’t the reason for the EVA, it was nice for some of us to go farther than the atmospheric experiment, for the first time. The landscape stroke me as absolutely beautiful. We met some tourists that did a dangerous trick on us while we were driving the rovers. We were quite upset, but nothing happened, no one was injured. We always have a buddy watching the other during rover maneuvers but it might be useful to have side mirrors on the rovers.
At lunch, we talked about the Covid pandemic, and how it has impacted our lives for 2 years. I feel like our conversations are getting deeper as time goes. I wonder if it is an effect of us getting closer or the absence of exterior stimuli. The afternoon went smoothly, working on experiments, writing reports for Mission Support and researchers. We had some heated debates in the afternoon but no feelings got hurt.
Anomalies in work: None.
Weather: Clear sky.
Crew Physical Status: Good.
EVA: 2 EVAs (n°10,11). Both went well, no issue to report.
Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, 2 EVA Requests (n°12,13), 2 EVA Reports (n°10,11), Operations Report, Journalist Report, HSO Report.
Support Requested: No support requested.