Crew 272 Journalist Report 06-01-2023
Author: Kenny Pritchard, Crew Journalist
Title: On the Road Again
In contrast to the previous, we started off this sol with our regular exercises (cricket-focused stretches led by Kshitij) and the promise of an approved EVA plan! This forms an air of excitement for those of us who are lucky enough to be on the EVA crew (or an air of dread if they’re still sore from the previous EVA). Arly made us egg casserole a la a recipe generously left in the Hab by Crew 89 — it was delicious, and we ate the exact amount that was cooked. It was just an oeuf.
Kshitij, Mason, Adriana, and I drove out for the EVA and monitored the battery of our electric transport rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) as we travelled. Rover battery is an important resource out away from the Hab – we monitor our speed to conserve charge and stop immediately if we reach 60%. It’s fairly easy to find a parking space out here, and once we had taken the rovers to the right location, we proceeded on foot. Our trek took us up and down the topography around MDRS to find the previously visited location of the Boiler Transmission Station and turn it on for Kshitij’s research. Sufficiently tired from the hike already, we then proceeded back down to the rovers and set off for our next destination: Candor Chasma, via the walking route Gateway to Candor. Candor Chasma is a river-forged canyon exemplary of the unique Martian stratigraphy near MDRS. There, Mason piloted his drone once again, capturing awesome orbital videos of the crew and scouting ahead beyond the end of our route. While Kshitij climbed up one side of the canyon to get a good signal to his antenna, Adriana searched for paleoflow indicators and quizzed me, a ‘non-geologist’ on geological fundamentals to observe my ‘behavior’ for her research. Everyone completed their objectives with flying colors (I’ll resist the urge to make a drone joke), except I got most of the geology questions wrong. The way back proved to be a bit of a fiasco because we had to stop at the Boiler Transmission Station to turn it off before returning to the Hab. Kshitij, experiencing slight communication issues, completely fogging up his visor, and moving as fast as his suit permitted, was a sight to behold as he rushed ahead to reach the Station. We all hurried back to our rovers together and arrived back at the Hab about 7 minutes over schedule – something we’ll have to fix for next time. More data for me!
Back in the Hab, Megan began printing a rock hammer to replace Adriana’s if it just so happens to be unavailable at some point during our mission. Madelyn tended lovingly to the vegetation in the GreenHab, battling abnormally high temperatures to keep the plants healthy. She loves them so much that a portion of her research microgreens are treated with the crew’s own toilet water! I guess everyone shows affection in different ways. Arly waited, poised upon the EVA crew’s return, to have us take our cognitive performance assessments and surveys as soon as possible. The results are more pronounced if we’re still coming down from the physical and mental exertion of the EVA. Always a warm welcome! Kshitij is on duty tonight, having recovered from his earlier state, and will be putting together a ramen dinner. Good luck to us all.