Journalist Report – February 12th

Sol 8: The Ups and Downs of EVAs

The crew had to be up bright and early today as our first EVA was starting at 0930. After a quick breakfast, the four of us (myself, Daniel, Mehnaz, and Aditya) got ready for a drive to Kissing Camel Ridge. It was a chilly drive, and we were all pretty grateful to get out of the car and start walking. That is, until we reached the ridge and began the hike up.

Once we were up on the ridge, it didn’t take long to find our sample targets. I was looking for a bed of concretions, and Daniel was collecting biological samples from soils and under rocks. However, in a mildly irritating twist of fate, both Daniel and I found our best samples right at the bottom of the ridge, near the road. Daniel found a weird yellow goo (my words, not his) and I found a very consistent bed of tightly packed concretions. But more data points are better than fewer, I guess, even if we had to do a fair hike to get them.

Back at the Hab, the remaining crew members had prepared us a great lunch of spaghetti, bread, and salad grown in the GreenHab. And we sorely needed a big lunch, as those who had remained back at the Hab were going on an afternoon EVA at 1400. Our lunchtime conversation was mostly about mountain lions and bobcats and noting that they live in the area near the Hab. Annalea was insistent on showing us pictures of their scat so that we could identify it out in the field (something we noted yesterday). But on the whole, none of us were very worried about these, despite Daniel having pointed out some very cat-like paw prints on this morning’s EVA.

The second EVA crew of Annalea, Bharti, and Rajvi got ready quickly. They, too, were heading to Kissing Camel Ridge, but to the west side rather than the east side. Though, they sensibly stuck to the lower portions, rather than hike all the way up the ridge. Annalea, Bharti, and Rajvi were equally looking for concretions as well as looking to take slope angles, better understand the palaeochannel and the palaeoenvironment, and look at different types of erosion. Hopefully, the quick geology discussion before they left was helpful!

While Annalea, Bharti, and Rajvi were on their EVA, the rest of the crew stayed home. We were mostly resting once they were out the airlock, but that didn’t stop Mehnaz and me from sweeping and Daniel from baking a batch of brownies. The afternoon EVA crew was set to come back to a delightful Hab, clean and delicious smelling!

Once we’d relaxed a little, it was time to get into work. Mehnaz and Aditya were both working on calculations for Mehnaz’s GreenHab evapotranspiration experiment all the while Aditya was HabCom for the EVA team, plus working on his own astronomy work (another great image, this time of the Whirlpool Galaxy). Mehnaz also took care of the GreenHab. I worked on plotting my data and attempting to find some reasons for and correlations within the data I’ve gained so far. After a while, Daniel and I decided to go to the Science Dome so I could wash my rocks and help Daniel shake his samples (in lieu of a vortex) to break them down prior to extracting DNA. Daniel continued his DNA extractions and creating more gels for electrophoresis, while I continued analysing my data and looking at my rocks in more detail with the hand lens.

It was equally about the journey and the destination,

Clare Fletcher (292 Mangalyatri Journalist)

Copyright © The Mars Society. All rights reserved. | Main Site