Sol 15 – Cosmic Chasms
“The men on the porch listened. Hearing nothing, they extended their thoughts and their imaginations out and into the surrounding meadows.”
– Chapter 15 of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
It’s back to normal for us today, if anything about this mission can be considered “normal”! Corentin got us up and running to start the day with stretching and leg exercises, and we enjoyed breakfast as a crew in the Upper Deck before Alice, Quentin and Corentin had to get ready for the first EVA of the week. The photogrammetry experiment continues! Today’s destination was Candor Chasma, a canyon not far from the station and a place the previous ISAE-Supaero crew had mentioned to us as the best destination for an exploration EVA. The sinuous paths and harsh landscape gave the three of them the opportunity to choose difficult checkpoints to find, which we hope will amplify the added value of the 3D map, compared to its 2D equivalent. After choosing 10 checkpoints, the EVA crew had time to explore Candor Chasma. Thankfully for them, the strong winds we experienced last night dwindled in the early morning, and got stronger after they returned to the Hab, allowing them to use the Parrot drone to 3D-map the canyon. As they ventured out further and further away from the station, Adrien serving as HabCom gradually lost communication with them, and could only “extend his thoughts and imagination” to Candor Chasma with the help of a few bits of radio chatter caught here and there.
While the crew was out on EVA, I visited Alexandre in the observatory. Because of the weather conditions in the past two weeks, very little use of the two MDRS telescopes observatories was made. As the sky gets clearer, Alexandre will be able to start his astronomy project. His objective is to characterize little known asteroids to contribute to an American database. By analyzing the light curve of an asteroid (meaning its luminosity as a function of time), you can deduce some of its characteristics, such as its rotation period, its size, etc. Alexandre’s first observations focused on asteroid Eos. Nevertheless, he was frustrated by the unrelenting wind, as the conditions prevented him from opening the dome of the Musk Observatory and observing the Sun. The observations he had programmed last night were also not performed by the robotic observatory…
In the afternoon, Quentin deployed all the location tracking anchors in the different modules. I toured the station with him as I wore my tag, and he measured the distance between me and the different anchors. Back at the Hab, we checked the data recorded by the trackers, and found that our movements were correlated with it! Quentin is glad to announce that the location tracking system is now fully deployed and operational.
Adrien and Corentin also conducted a large-scale harvest in the GreenHab: dill, spinach and other greens will make our dinner a little more earthly…