Journalist Report – February 22nd

SOL 4: First clouds upon the Crew

“Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies. It seems that they are very beautiful.” – The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Each morning when we wake up, we take what we call “Core Data”. These measurements are diverse: we weigh ourselves with an impedance meter, which records a large data spectrum such as weight, the detail of muscular weight and fat weight, an electrocardiogram, and others. We also record our tension and corporal temperature. Oximetry data are taken with an oximeter, placed at the finger’s tip. While we take a turn on each measurement device, we fill sleep questionnaires and time perception tests on our computers. The aim is to record these Core data all along the mission, to then provide them to researchers who conduct human factor studies. There are seven of us in the station, and we all must take all the measurements, so the recording takes a little bit of time. But, at this point, we are starting to get used to the procedure and to be very efficient: we managed to take all the measurements and to fill our questionnaires in less than 20 minutes!

After that, what’s better than another deployment EVA for the atmospheric instruments? Leo and Léa went on the EVA with Lise to deploy the last two instruments: a weather station and a field mill. Combined to LOAC and Mega Ares, deployed yesterday, these instruments will provide complete and precise data regarding the atmosphere and electric field. As part of the study, the CNRS researchers are interested in the earth’s desert. For us, participating in this study is interesting both for the scientific purpose and for the Martian life simulation, giving us opportunities to perform EVAs. This atmospheric physics’ experiment was brought to the station for several years by other ISAE-SUPAERO MDRS Crews, so researchers can record a large amount of data, necessary to their scientific publications. The deployment did not go as well as yesterday… Indeed, due to strong rays from the Sun on Mars, some of the devices’ electric cables melted… After three and a half hours of EVA, our astronauts came back to the station, even though the problem wasn’t solved.

Just before the end of re-pressurization of the airlock, one of the EVA team members noticed that their ventilation system was not working nominally. They quickly asked to take off their helmet, and the sim was broken for safety purposes. The accumulation of expired CO2 in their helmet caused them difficulty to breathe. The entire crew reacted to the situation perfectly; we called Mission Support and provided all the correct first aid. Mathurin checked their oximetry level, which was back to normal after their difficulties. Once the situation was under control, Leo and Marie performed measurements on the ventilation battery and noticed that the battery level had dropped below 9V… We will make sure that the problem does not occur again by testing every suit to identify the ones that might be faulty. Everything is back to normal, even though we were all a bit shaken, and the affected EVA team member felt much better during the afternoon.

During the afternoon, each Crew member worked on their experiments, Mathurin took care of the GreenHab and three astronauts performed the “Tilt” experiment, provided by the Neuroergonomy department of our school. The objective is to test the way we control a little shuttle which must pass obstacles, whether we are seated or laid down. We are testing two different points of view: third or first person. The aim is to study our perception and our orientation. Every Crew member will participate in this experiment, with one session per week and per person during the entire mission.

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