Crew 281 Journalist Report 19 May 2023
By: Rachel Jones
Sol 5 and Still Alive!
The morning was mayhem and included a last-minute change in EVA plans to move my antenna set-up to Sol 6. Instead, Ritu and Ana had their hands full doing some exciting field tests using the robotic scoop and more drone aerial surveillance. Ana’s robotic scoop has been named “Pegasus” in honor of this mission (our crew is “Team Pegasus”), and there were some challenges with its initial deployment. During the deployment of the scoop, a pin broke off while connecting the battery. The lesson learned is that a human interface redesign is needed to allow easier field deployment by astronauts or those wearing gloves. Meanwhile, Ritu was able to capture some fantastic footage of the deployed scoop and also captured aerial images of the MDRS Campus while geo-referencing a control point for later EVAs. The last part of
the EVA involved an exterior inspection of the Hab and facilities. The EVA team investigated some of the sources of irregular banging heard during periods of high winds in the afternoon. No immediate threats were found, and the images provided should allow mission support to resolve the banging issue in the future.
Lunch today was stewed lentils and quinoa prepared by Ritu. It was served alongside a fresh salad of harvested lettuce, arugula, and microgreens from the GreenHab. Following lunch, the crew came together to perform afternoon chores and do routine maintenance. I imagine this part of the SIM greatly reflects reality, as there are always things to do. Unfortunately, most do not want to hear the trials and tribulations of checking the toilets and water systems.
After getting the day’s requirements taken care of, most of us went on to our individual projects. Ana helped Megan transplant the chocolate seeds into soil in the Science Dome. Ana, of course, started writing a few papers. Megan focused on future reports for MDRS. KC and I did a trial setup for the MDRS High Frequency (HF) antenna that we hope to deploy on tomorrow’s EVA. MDRS has a remarkably versatile amateur radio setup that was designed by Hope L. (ND2L) from the Spaceward Bound Utah’s first all high school which was out at MDRS before the 2022-2023 season began! KC also checked in on all the GreenHab plants and kept an eye on the power status in the mid-day heat. Ritu downloaded her drone footage and started on daily reports.
For dinner tonight, we have leftover lentils and fresh rice. I received some advice on troubleshooting the sound issues I’ve been having with my Software Defined Radio (SDR) set up and will spend the evening attempting various configurations. I’m looking forward to deploying my equipment tomorrow and hopefully getting on the air. For now, signing off from Mars.