Sol Summary – December 2nd

Sol: 6

Summary Title: Bonding

Author’s name: Enkhtuvshin “Dono” Doyodkhuu

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: The crew is getting more and more accustomed to Mars. We are also getting more and more comfortable with each other. The longest friendship within the crew is 20+ years, and the shortest is 4 years; we have all worked together on various projects and are very much familiar with each other, and our bonding experiences in this remote and isolated place are that much more nuanced. The environment never ceases to amaze us, and we still stand in awe of the scenery thus far.

The morning started at 7 AM today at the Hab. We had oatmeal soup for breakfast, did leg and back exercises, and tried out a different meditation technique. This morning routine has been as ideal as it could get—light breakfast to nourish our bodies; physical exercises to get our blood pumping; breathing exercises to get it back down; meditation to calm our minds. This took a bit longer than usual despite starting the day earlier. We then headed out for EVA #6 around 10:30 AM.

The EVA crew of 3 led by HSO Duluu headed for Overlook but stopped midway on Brahe Hwy 1572. CAPCOM was led by Muggi, who was also operating the drone from inside the Hab. He warned against going farther than 55% on the rovers, but the team stopped at 48% after discussion amongst themselves to get closer to the muddy part of the site. Soil sampling was successful—Davaa and Tungaa have started geological and microbiological work today. The returning batteries on both rovers were at 32% which led us to believe that we can start testing out the battery capacity of the rovers to their limit.

Lunch was prepared by Sunny. It was fried beef with vegetables, with rice on the side. Delicious and nourishing. We then played a team bonding game. There were some cries and lots of hugs. Dinner was couscous soup with a salad harvested from the Greenhab. Nutritious and heartwarming.

Our water consumption has been excellent, and we plan to keep it that way. The evening will be individual free time to work on their respective projects. Mars is not an alien place anymore. It is already filled with warm memories, exciting challenges, and lots of lessons learned. I just hope we can absorb this experience as much as we can while we are here before looking back on this incredible experience from our comfortable home and indulged life back on Earth.

Look Ahead Plan: We are expecting good results from Duluu’s hydroponic wick system. Muggi is getting proficient at operating the drone; he will be documenting the scenery around Zubrin’s head tomorrow. Davaa’s building blocks from different muddy soil types will be ready in 3-4 sols. Tungaa is starting her experiments on the soil samples tomorrow at the Science Dome. Sunny’s journalism and public outreach work is excellent as always. I am positively hoping to gain access to Musk Observatory in the next two days. My plan is to take the full image of the Sun detailing out the granules and prominences and generate a close-up video of possible flares.

However, my priorities as the commander are to keep my crew productive, stress-free but reasonably challenged, healthy, and happy. Onwards and upwards!

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Sunny with abundant cloud cover. Forecast suggests we’ll be getting rain for the next 12-24 hours.

Crew Physical Status: All healthier and happier than yesterday.

EVA: Successfully completed one out-of-sim EVA.

Reports to be filed: Mid-mission research report, Sol summary, Journalist report, Operations report, Greenhab report, EVA report, EVA request, Photos.

Support Requested: Requesting a break of protocol. The rovers are all coming back from long-distance EVAs with 30+ battery percentage. Please lower the 55% limit down to 40%. We realize there are inherent risks to doing this—such as rovers getting stuck on the way back to the Hab. The risk management we’re planning is to have two of the remaining rovers on standby to pull them back to the Hab. The goal here is to (1) test out the battery capacity of the rovers to their limit (2) explore farther areas (3) simulate a challenge for ourselves. Hoping for a positive and flexible reply to this.

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