Sol Summary – May 26th

Crew 281 Sol Summary Report 26 May 2023

Sol: 12

Summary Title: The bittersweet ending

Author’s name: Ritupriya Patil (XO)

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary:


Today was team’s final and longest, all female EVA. 4 hours of walking, climbing (a little) and driving the rover with the space suits and life support systems on their backs. The high dessert “Martian” environment reminded the crew that space is challenging. However, the crew forged through with their love for exploration. The three-part objective of today’s EVA was to run payload drone tests, acquire images for previously done geotechnical survey, and explore the Special Region (aka Hanksville Burpee Quarry).

The crew at 0738 hrs, finished the rover checks, then continued to set up for a drone payload test. The objective was to deliver a lightweight medical kit to a simulated injured astronaut. The experimental drone flights were to establish a proof of concept in an emergency scenario, and in extreme climate (like a high desert). MDRS was the perfect place for this. 9 tests were performed, 3 out of those were with zero payload to set up a baseline experiment for a DJI Mavic mini weighing about 250 g. In honor of Team Pegasus, the drone was affectionately named “Peggy”. Ana (Crew Scientist) enacted as the injured analogue astronaut, KC (Crew Engineer) was the HabCom and recorded the flight data; Ritu (XO, EVA Lead) was the drone pilot and experimental flight test lead. There were 2 payloads 25 g and 40 g that were retrieved by Ana, stationed 60 m away from the pilot during the 6 payload tests. The crew was successful in procuring the payload and flying the drone back safely with the harness intact. Special care was taken, and wind checks were performed prior to each flight. Post flight battery usage after each flight varied based on the combination of the payload weight and winds (between 3-5 knots). On an average the battery usage was from 8% – 15% on the payload flights (higher usage for heavier payload).

The data from this experiment will be used in calculating and scaling the analysis for a bigger drone system that would be capable of carrying heavier load and be flight capable in high winds, and lower air density to simulate the Martian atmosphere. This analysis will further feed into design to build a drone delivery system on Mars.

Next stop for the crew was Marble Ritual, to acquire vertical images and videos for previously done geotechnical survey at the site. Some great shots of the MDRS campus tucked in the red “Martian” terrain were captured from Marble Ritual.

Final objective for today’s EVA was to explore the Special Region. The crew drove north on Cow Dung Road passing the now known landmarks of Pooh’s Corner, Galileo Road, Cowboy Corner, intersection to Brahe Hwy 1572, and then left on Gateway to Lith to reach the destination, formerly known as Burpee Quarry. The crew witnessed sediment depositions from a large river that must have run through the quarry area and created a bend. Ritu got aerial imagery of the location and Ana collected 7 rock samples (226g) and soil samples (299g). The crew accomplished all the EVA goals for the last one for this mission; and with a bittersweet emotion drove back to the hab.

For lunch the crew had leftovers, also Megan (Commander) baked brownies to celebrate the crew’s final EVA accomplishment. After munching on the delicious treat, Megan, Ritu, and Ana helped with the GreenHab harvest and clean up. KC completed inventory lists for the end of mission checks. It was a long day and no time to rest since the simulation would end at 6 pm. We also squeezed in time for report and mission summary writing.

At 6 pm the crew opened the Hab airlock and stepped out in their flight suits, they were also wearing the mission patches and respective country flags (India, Portugal and USA) with great pride! Sergii (Mission Support) captured the end of mission walk out of the airlock. This was end of the 12 Sols we spent in the Hab: working on 13 EVAs, running the Ham Radio for 6 days, keeping the GreenHab operational, conducting 4 geotechnical surveys of the area, recording drone footage on all EVAs and conducting 19 drone payload tests, and other experiments. Sergii was invited for dinner after the simulation ended and everyone enjoyed the salad and herbs harvested from the GreenHab; along with Rajma Chawal (Indian red bean stew served with rice) that Ritu made for dinner. A nice cup of cardamom spiced chai was a perfect end for the crew’s last dinner together in the hab.

The crew did a sweep through of all the buildings and started wrapping up the experiments and cleaning. Some walked to the Musk Observatory for star gazing and enjoyed the last starry night at MDRS.

It was an honor to be able to participate in exploration of this “Martian” landscape. This was a humbling experience, and the crew would do it again in a heartbeat!

Look Ahead Plan: End of mission. The crew will exit the hab at noon tomorrow.

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Winds

Crew Physical Status: Nominal

EVA: Completed 1 today

Reports to be filed:

● Greenhab Report

● EVA Report

● Ops Report

● Journalist Report


● Photo of the Day

Support Requested: None

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