Journalist Report – February 4th

Crew 274 Journalist Report 2-4-2023

Sol: 6

Author: Tony DiBernardo, Crew Journalist

Title: Radiation-Exposed Seeds Germinated in Simulated Martian Regolith

Crew 274 woke up this morning at 7:30am to the song “Feel Good Inc.” by the Gorillaz and a recorded message from the family of the Crew Astronomer, Salina “Nova” Pena. Her daughter also sent some inspiring words, encouraging her mother to think of her time away as an opportunity to see home with new eyes upon arrival.

EVA Activity

Today HSO Pender led EVA 6 to collect temperature and power consumption data on EEVAC-1, the supply cache experiment intended to extend human exploration on Mars. After leaving the cache unattended for 24 hours from yesterday’s EVA, the cache was found to have performed as designed, though a debriefing of the crew following the EVA revealed potential design improvements on the current iteration of EEVAC-1. His EVA crew also collected temperature and radiation exposure data for Commander Guthrie’s community experiment put forth by a 2nd grade student from Millersville, MD. The rest of HSO Pender’s day was spent processing data collected from EVA 6 and preparing for tomorrow’s 3-hour walking EVA, which will be a climax study for the supply cache experiment on this mission.


Upon conducting daily morning observations, the first official evidence of germination of a single seed was noted of the LDEF seeds planted. While the evidence of germination was minor, this proves to be a significant step toward the sustainability of durability of nutrient-dense seeds exposed to high levels of radiation within the space environment. Add this to the fact that simulated lunar and martian regolith is practically “dead” or extremely hard to yield germination, this was an exciting and potential ground-breaking discovery. Following additional crew guidance, temperature and humidity levels will continue to be closely maintained to support further growth and germination of the other LDEF seeds. Additionally, the micro green cress continue to flourish in their development and are predicted to be ready for potential harvesting before the end of the mission. Meanwhile, the broccoli, red cabbage, and arugula are continually being tended to and monitored closely in their general progress.


Crew astronomers Loy and Pena observed detailed heliophysics phenomena in which multiple observations, videos, and photos were taken of solar dark spots, solar chromosphere granules, and solar prominences. Over 8 large solar prominences were recorded today, the largest dataset of prominences since experimentations began. These observations will be very useful for the astronomer’s analysis of solar cycle 25. Also of important note, Loy and Pena observed what seems to be an asteroid or a satellite crossing the line of sight between the solar observatory and the sun. This object is still being analyzed.


Cloudy weather conditions canceled all planned observations of HADS Variable Star V0799 AUR. Crew Astronomers instead continued their analysis of their current image inventory, stacking and analyzing 9 separate 45-second images in the visual filter. So far, HADS Variable Star V0799 AUR is showing signs of dimming, which provides good data to the astronomers’ variable star report.

Hab Design

Hab Specialist Bill O’Hara participated in EVA 6 in support of HSO Pender’s research. During this EVA, he took sensor measurements from the cache and drove the rover back to the hab. In the afternoon, Bill continued his case study of the MDRS architecture by reviewing the layout of the lower level of the Habitat. This level of the habitat module includes the airlock, suit stowage and the only bathroom used by the crew.

Stress Mitigation Study

Lex “Kepler” Lojek also participated in EVA 6, driving one way to the cache, assisted in taking measurements of the cache, and then helped navigate back. After returning, he continued to collect and organize stress data for his ongoing focused breathing study. Tonight, he’ll begin a daily study with the crew where they’ll conduct a 15-minute focused breathing meditation to study its effects on potential stress reduction during an analog mission.

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