Journalist Report – November 21st

Sol 09 Journalist Report 21-NOV-2023

Liz Cole

The morning began with planning EVAs for the last few days of our mission.

The day’s only EVA ventured south of the MDRS campus to collect samples of three different kinds of soils from three locations, for use in a substrate comparison experiment for plant growth. MDRS 261 mission crew member Cécile Renauld began this work, and soil collection is meant to support the furthering of her experiments at the University of Mons in Belgium.

Roger Gilbertson (Crew Commander), Guillaume Gégo (Crew Scientist) and Hugo Saugier (Crew Documentary Filmmaker) used GPS coordinates provided by the previous researchers to find the location for collecting soil. The locations where the first two samples were previously collected were easy to visually identify as only minor erosion and filling in had occurred since the MDRS 261 crew took their samples at this site in April. The third sample had been taken from a stream bed and so was not as easy to identify visually. At each location the astronauts collected and labeled samples, and photographed each before and after digging.

The geologic features provided a great opportunity for Hugo to record content for his documentary. The stunning views and vistas south on Cow Dung road provided a great opportunity for filming the other astronauts traversing the landscape in rovers.

Roger continues his work on making plaster molds for medium complexity metal castings. The second half of the metal casting mold was dried and trimmed. Then both halves were joined, and the first bismuth casting performed. It was removed from the mold successfully, and a second casting was performed.

Liz Cole and Scott Beibin practiced flying a DJI Avata drone in the tunnels between the RAM and the Observatory in advance of taking the drone out on EVA to capture the campus.

In the Green Hab, Donald "Duckie" Jacques (Crew Executive Officer and Green Hab Officer) planted kale and transplanted peas. With the amount of sprouts rising from his planting work, he hopes to have a small harvest for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Crew Scientist Guillaume Gégo dried yesterday’s harvest of spirulina in the oven at 75 celsius, to measure the dry weight of the mass of spirulina growing in the bioreactor.

We got a head start on cleaning the mud from the recent rains out of the HAB, in preparation for the deep clean before departure.

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