Journalist Report – November 16th

Nov 16

Journalist Report 16-11-2023 Crew 286 by Liz Cole

SOL: 4

The morning began with Crew Documentarian capturing the beautiful Martian sunrise from the observatory once the clouds parted.

Just after 9 AM we welcomed our visiting photojournalists, Andrea and Caleb, who will be with us for four nights.

In the science dome, the Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 purple bacteria are growing well. Samples were taken and tested, and turbidity (measurable optical density) increased in all 5 photobioreactor bags, on average from .12 to .25., an approximate doubling in 12 hours. This is a good sign for the future of space food production. Samples were taken one for each bag, separated into pellets in a centrifuge, and stored in minus 20 degrees celsius.

In other positive news, a shipment of Rhodospirillum rubrum SH1 inocula arrived. Looking ahead to the week’s progress with the experiment, the plan is for the Rhodospirillum rubrum SH1 to be inoculated in 5 photobioreactor bags, and fed freshly generated hydrogen.

Our Crew Commander started plaster mold creation in the RAM, with the intention of demonstrating the use of in-situ resources (local gypsum for plaster), in support of metal component casting.


As we now have eight people in the habitat, we were able to include four people in today’s EVA 4. All four astronauts suited up quickly with help from the Crew Commander and XO and exited the airlock on time.

The first phase of the EVA involved washing the exterior windows on the habitat and the science dome. The XO prepared a washing setup that would be appropriate for the challenges working in spacesuits and gloves in Martian gravity using available components in the habitat, including an extra – long squeegee and pole system, and a squeeze bottle of washing fluid. Our crew Artist and Inventor added fabric to the pole to wipe off heavy amounts of dirt and residue.

As expected, the sim suits and helmets made moving the squeegee over the high window of the Hab difficult. The astronaut moving the squeegee had limited visibility due to difficulties with tilting his head back while in the suit and helmet. This made window washing into a two person job requiring good communication. One astronaut moved the long squeegee, while the other observed from far enough away to observe the cleanliness of the window, and provided feedback and directions. Our improved radio communications skills from yesterday’s scenarios helped this process immensely. The windows of the Science Dome being at ground level were much easier to clean.

Following the cleaning, the EVA crew split into two groups. Crew Artist and Inventor and Crew Journalist began LIDAR scanning geological features and taking soil samples along a stream bed to the east of the science dome. The samples were geotagged with GPS coordinates. The soil samples will be processed into 3D printed objects intended for durability and ecologically minded disposability, using a 3D plotter/printer designed and built by Crew Artist and Inventor (Mandelbot Ecotech SURFA2 Goostruder). Some of the objects created from the collected samples will include planters for the Green Hab.

Crew Scientist and Crew Documentarian walked to the north of the observatory dome and conducted a memorial service for founding member of the Belgian Mars Society, Étienne Lefebvre, who passed away recently. Our Crew Scientist was personally acquainted with Étienne Lefebvre, and the memorial service was a touching gesture.

During the EVA, the visiting photographers documented the activities from within the habitat, the science dome, and observatory dome area.

Dinner was the mission’s first group meal prepared Martian – style. All courses were cooked using mostly freeze dried ingredients and dehydrated shelf – stable ingredients provided in the HAB.

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