Journalist Report – February 11th

Sol 7: Busy, busy, busy!
Sunday dawned a gorgeous, sunny day. Well, I say dawned, but really, we had a slower start to the day, given Sunday is our day off. After a bit of a late night on Sol 6, all the Mangalyatri crew opted for a bit of a sleep-in. We had leftover bread, fruits, and cereal for breakfast (well, brunch), and discussed our upcoming EVA. Daniel also headed straight for the Science Dome to continue his experiments.
Annalea and Bharti were both thinking of trying out the one-piece suits, rather than the two-piece suits, so we decided to fit them early to save time when preparing to leave for our EVA. They both greatly enjoyed the one-piece suits and quickly had them adjusted for their size. So back on the charge the suits went, until it was time for our EVA.
After a quick bite to eat, the EVA team started to get ready. It was a speedy donning of the suits, as all the adjustments had already been made, and we were excited to get in the field. This EVA took us just south of Cowboy Corner to a ridge that has been interpreted as a palaeochannel. There, we explored various palaeochannel signatures such as cross-bedding and great examples of upward fining. We also found another bed of concretions, but these were much smaller than any previously observed by the crew members. There were still remnants of snow on the northern side of the ridge, despite the warmth of the day, and we were glad to have rugged up a little bit before heading out.
Back at the Hab, Mehnaz, our GreenHab officer, read some more about evapotranspiration for her research, as well as check on her research plants to see them sprout! Mehnaz also misted the plants in the GreenHab to ensure they didn’t wilt too much during the day. Aditya has been working away with the remote telescope and showed us his image of the Pac-Man Nebula and has also got data to process for an image of the Whirlpool Galaxy. He has submitted another request to image the Crab Nebula tonight, and we’re all anxiously waiting to see his processed images of these gorgeous celestial objects. Rajvi continued to be a stunning Crew Engineer and worked away to better understand the systems in the Hab and test Suit 6 which was not running properly, so it needs troubleshooting before it can be taken out again.
Daniel kept working away on his experiments in the Science Dome after successfully doing a PCR and gel electrophoresis this morning. By this afternoon, he had conducted another PCR targeting biogeochemical cycling genes for the same DNA from the soil sample and is awaiting a gel to finish. Daniel continued his DNA extractions on soil collected on today’s EVA too. He’s a busy biologist!
We got some additional afternoon excitement when seeing some Earthlings paragliding in the thin Martian atmosphere. We’re all just pleased they didn’t come too close to us!
Feeling like a bee … busy,
Clare Fletcher (292 Mangalyatri Journalist)

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