Crew 261 EVA Report 12-05-2023
EVA # 19
Authors: James Burk (Commander), Aline Decadi (XO), Erin Kennedy (Crew Roboticist)
Purpose of EVA: Search & Rescue Drill
Start time: 8:52 am
End time: 10:19 am
Overview of EVA
Today was our crew’s final exam. We planned a safety drill that involved the Commander and XO taking a rover on a new route never traveled before and getting stuck and needing to be rescued. In actuality, the Commander and XO planned this out and discussed with Mission Support the night before, and so the entire situation was meant to improve safety and awareness on the part of the crew on what to do in an emergency.
Commander James Burk and XO Aline Decadi took out to rover Spirit at approx 9am and drove north on the main road to the "Gateway to Candor" turn, on a planned traverse to the area south of Compass Rock, ostensibly to investigate a route to the southern ridge of Candor. We had never taken this route before on this mission and it is marked on the map as a footpath.
We lost comms as normal, when passing behind the north ridge near Pooh’s Corner, but we also did not make any attempt to reestablish comms throughout the EVA, as was part of the drill parameters. We did not turn on the Garmin tracking device since that would have made it too easy for the crew to find us, and we ignored a couple reminders from HabComm to do so.
Once on the Gateway to Candor, Commander Burk found a suitable place for the EVA Team to "hide" so that it would not be obvious where we had "gotten stuck".
Commander Burk and XO Decadi parked the rover and debarked. We removed our helmets, as discussed prior to the EVA, since this was a rescue drill and we were planning to break sim anyway. We had prepared to be at that location for a couple hours if needed.
We decided to take the opportunity to record a couple narrative videos about what we were doing, to help with XO Decadi’s education & outreach project. We explained the drill and send the SOS ping "MDRS Assistance Required" which our crew uses when it’s a non-emergency situation but we are requesting support from the Hab to the EVA team. We hoped that the crew would react well and work together to find us.
After only a few minutes, we heard a drone flying nearby, which was obviously Crew Engineer Julien Villa-Massone’s attempt to locate us. After exactly 20 minutes, a rover carrying Villa-Massone and GreenHab Officer Cecile Renaud appeared. They walked to our position and we confirmed it was a drill, then we spent about 10 minutes doing a debrief before returning to the Hab and having a longer debrief session with the whole crew.
We learned that the Hab Crew forgot that assistance required means that they are safe so they treated the entire situation as an emergency, and were worried that the EVA crew was not working on getting back in Comms. As mentioned, Mission Support was in on the drill and did almost nothing to help them, even telling them "No Drone" to ensure they were not relying solely on a drone for rescue.
Overall, we were very happy how the crew rallied and worked together to establish a rescue operation and arrived only 20 minutes after the initial SOS ping was sent. It was a great experience for all crewmembers and a great way to cap off our successful mission to the MDRS.
8:52 am EVA started
HabCom sent a message to EVA crew via Garmin InReach that tracking was not turned on
9:20 am EVA crew sent SOS Ping "MDRS Assistance Required" (Non-EMS) via Garmin InReach
9:20 am Received MDRS Assistance Required message via Garmin InReach
Mission Support (Sergii) was contacted, confirmed we should go (break sim)
First Aid kit bag was created, given to Cecile and Julien
9:27 am Cecile and Julien took Perseverance rover SOC: 98%
9:30 am Cecile and Julien on the road
EVA crew hears a drone sound (9:35 am?)
9:40 am Cecile and Julien at Gateway to Candor (website)
9:42 am Rescue team (Cecile and Julien) arrives to EVA crew (Aline and Julien)
9:38 am Cecile reports SOC 98%. They see the tracks of James and Aline’s rover that didn’t take the right road
9:50 am Cecile and Julien report that everything is OK with James and Aline, they are discussing about the drill
10:00 am Status update from Cecile: They are going to come back to the Hab
10:06 am Cecile reports Perseverance SOC: 94%
10:07 am Aline reports Spirit SOC: 75%
10:14 am EVA-2 Cecile and Julien in sight from Hab
10:16 am EVA-1 James and Aline in sight from Hab
10:17 am Cecile – Perseverance Hours: 129.0, SOC: 94%
10:17 am James – Spirit Hours: 222.0, SOC: 71%, plugged in
10:18 am 0 min Hab decompression requested (Sim already broken)
10:19 am Everyone is back in the Hab
Mission Support (Sergii) updated on the status
What Went Well
Crew all understood that it was clear to break sim (Safety over Sim)
Crew’s priorities were correct and everybody rallied
Everyone was safe at all times and nobody got hurt during the exercise
Rescue team found EVA team only 22 minutes from initial communication0
(James said his expectation was minimum 40 mins)
Areas for Improvement
Some time was taken (~ 2 mins) regarding asking about if the drone should be used to investigate first. Mission Support was firm "No Drone".
Disruption when initial Comms was happening
Confusion regarding retrieving a medical kit bag (there was none available, and the Hab’s main kit was taken)
Raspberry Pi stopped working / slow, mouse being intermittent, had to access webpage on computer, did not have URL handy.
There was only one person who could fly a drone, and they went on the rescue team.
There was confusion and lack of communication about who was going on the rescue team
Confusion on who was speaking on the radio, especially with similar sounding voices and accents. Confusion about who was acting as HabComm after Cecile (primary HabComm) left.
Cecile lost valuable data from her experiment that she was in the middle of collecting when the drill happened.
Issues Experienced During EVA-19
The crew back at the Hab did not fully understand the difference between our "MDRS Assistance Required" non-emergency/non-EMS ping and our Emergency SOS ping that is connected to the red SOS button on the Garmins. The former is meant when there is no crew injury or safety issue and the latter is for a true emergency when you need all-hands on deck including county EMS and Mission Support.
The crew was confused who was doing what role, and one person expected to go on the rescue team but wasn’t chosen. We plan to address this by recommending that all EVA teams have a designated rescue team.
The Hab does not have a quick carry medical kit for EVA rescues. In today’s case, the rescue team took the Hab’s entire medical kit with them.
There was confusion over who was HabComm after Cecile (who had been the primary HabComm) joined the rescue team.
The crew was not sure what emergency number they might need to call, other than trying to contact Mission Support.
Outcomes / Recommendations
The Hab should have a quick carry medical kit with needed supplies for broken bones, bleeding and other life threatening emergencies.
Every rover should have a first aid kit that is mandatory. This should be checked routinely throughout the mission.
Crews should designate a rescue team prior to EVA
Crews should carry a signaling device such as a reflective foil blanket in the emergency medical kit bag.
When using Radio Comms, people’s names should be used after breaking sim.
Need to remember to pause a bit before talking on Ch. 1 (repeater).
Role changing (ie changing who is HabComm) needs to be identified ("Audrey doing HabComm" or don’t use roles at all, just people’s names.
The person requesting assistance should advise if sim is being broken.
Water to go with the medical kit bag should be prepared
One person on the EVA should be assigned responsible for the medical kit bag
We are lacking some basic medical supplies for emergencies such as AED (see HSO recommendations as reported early on in the mission).
1st person to identify assistance required should make an announcement on radios regarding breaking sim
HabComm has to be located in the Hab, cannot have any science experiments or engineering work ongoing, just light work on a computer and focusing in on the EVA status. In today’s case, Cecile was trying to multitask and ended up losing valuable biological experiment data because of the perceived emergency.
Every crewmember should understand how to trigger a real SOS by using the dedicated button on the Garmin InReach. Pushing the actual button is not straightforward and it should be practiced. Garmin SOS can be cancelled within 20 seconds, so there is no risk to pushing the button as long as you cancel.
Every crewmember should understand the different ways to contact EMT in the case of a real emergency.
Crews should have a training procedure to call SOS prior to doing EVAs.
Destination: Southeast of Compass Rock where Gateway to Candor intersects with Spur of Galileo Road / Watney Road
Coordinates (use UTM WGS 84): 519800 E, 4251400 N
Participants: James Burk (Commander) (EVA Leader), Aline Decadi (XO).
Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Take Cow Dung Road to Gateway to Candor
Mode of travel: Rover
Vehicles you will be using (If applicable): Spirit