Journalist Report – March 4th

SOL 15: Who runs Candor Chasma? Boys!

“He was learning a lot of new things. Some of them were things that he had already experienced, and weren’t really new, but that he had never perceived before.” – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

We thought we had known Martian snow, but Mars caught us by surprise. Unlike yesterday, when only a few snowflakes were sprinkled on the red hills, the beautiful landscape in front of our windows was entirely white! But this weather was worrying to us. Indeed, a photogrammetry EVA was planned to Candor Chasma, located a bit far from the station. But, seeing the weather conditions, it was impossible for the EVA Crew to accomplish this mission: the landscapes looked too different under snow for photogrammetry to be effective, and the conditions could be dangerous. So, after coordinating together, we decided to wait for the afternoon to perform the EVA, hoping the snow would have melted under the sun. We weren’t sure if it would get better …

In the end, this development drastically impacted our schedule! We reorganized our morning, to perform in the morning activities originally planned in the afternoon. Marie tried to troubleshoot some software we use for the experiments, as well as Mathurin. Lise and Yves continued programming to collect the impedance meter’s data. During this time, Léa wrote some outreach articles for our Web site. With the cold being so persistent in the past two days, we were worried the battery used to power the atmospheric instruments had discharged too quickly. Leo, our Crew engineer, had a great idea: building an isolating box, in which we could put the batteries, so we wouldn’t have the same problem again! He spent the morning tinkering thanks to all the equipment from the RAM.

At one PM, the weather had improved, and the snow had melted. We were given the go ahead from Mission Support! So, Mathurin, Yves et Leo could go out on EVA with the drone, to take pictures of Candor Chasma, which will then enable them to generate 2D and 3D maps of the site for the photogrammetry experiment! Like last week, photogrammetry’s teams were made in the same way, so the girls stayed in the Hab today, while the boys were alone on Mars! In addition to that, the mid-mission resupply cargo had landed a few meters away from the Hab. So, at the beginning of their EVA, the team put the resupply in the main airlock. From the inside of the station, Lise, Marie, Léa and I re-pressurized the airlock and then removed the resupply for the next two weeks from it. It was pleasant and reassuring to see our kitchen cabinet full again! While we were putting everything away, the EVA Crew went to the atmospheric instrument’s site to deploy the instruments once again we brought back to the station during the previous EVA. The snow of the past two days proved to us we had made the right decision! After that, Mathurin, Leo and Yves went back to the rovers to go achieve their main EVA’s goal: Candor Chasma! Once they arrived there, they could launch the drone and take pictures to perform photogrammetry of the area. Lise was HabCom during their EVA. While she was following their actions, she Processed the water consumption data, collected over the past two weeks by carefully making note of the quantities and uses of water, every time someone opened the tap.. Therefore, in the last two week and considering every category of water usage, we used 5 liters of water per Crew member per day! We are proud to succeed at Conserving this precious resource, which made us realize how much water we use on Earth.

Coming back from Candor Chasma, everyone got back to work. Having an EVA during the afternoon was unusual, and completely changed the shape of our Sol!

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