Journalist Report – January 24th

Miss Beehiving
Sol 3 began with a great sunrise (I know I said that yesterday, belay that, this one was way better) that lit up a sea of mist to the east, and mountaintops in every direction. We had a fun discussion about the Drake equation and alien life over breakfast, and Rob gave us a lesson in tomato pruning.
As with the previous two days, we conducted two EVAs.
During the 1st EVA, we drove out to Marble Ritual and walked on foot to Phobos Peak and the nearby ‘Beehive’ (immediately east). From there we obtained samples of opaline silica (chert) for Clare, as well as a sizable sample of iron oxide for Steve to spectrify with his VIS/NIR pushbroom spectrometer, reporting back coordinates to HabCom. The EVA took almost 3.5 hours (our lengthiest yet) and proved to be quite the hike. It was incredible seeing Phobos peak and its surrounds up close – including a whole raft of interesting geological formations, especially yardangs (not allowed to call them "mushrooms" apparently).
The 2nd EVA was much more relaxed and took us no more than 50 metres from the habitat, under clear skies and bright sunshine. We tested Steve’s drone again on various inclines and soils; despite a few battery issues with the controller (operated from within the hab by Rob). All went well and Steve was able to round out his rover’s performance data. We also tested Scott’s ‘passive regolith-collector’ wheel on soils of different coarseness, and got some good pictures of it in action for later analysis.
Tomorrow (weather permitting) we take the rovers for their longest drive yet (and probably another big hike once the rovers hit their point of no return), north along Cow Dung Road (that name never gets old) to the terrain north-west of Tharsis Montes.
Highlights of the day: Greenhab salad (freshly harvested) and pizza, Rob’s tomato-pruning lesson, Phobos peak (and the sights therefrom), ‘extreme’/’blimp’ shrimp, great EVAs.
Lowlights of the day: Misbehaving rover controller, Clare saying she "dislikes sci-fi", too few spiders in the hab, ‘everything stew’ that someone’s gotta take for the team.
– Alexander Tobal, Crew 291.

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