Commander Report – December 8th

Sol: 11
Summary Title: EVA #15 Balloon Launch
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 enjoyed another day of beautiful weather on Mars with sunny skies, very calm winds, and mild temperatures. The crew had a quick breakfast of cereal, dried fruit, and homemade sourdough bread, and HSO collected health and safety stats. The crew held a morning meeting to assess effects to the day’s EVA plan due to the melt from yesterday’s snow continuing to create muddy conditions around the Hab. After consult with Tier 1 mission support, the crew’s plan for a single afternoon EVA to launch the weather balloon payload was confirmed and the crew prepared for the experiment. CDR, XO, and Green Hab Officer embarked on EVA #15 and immediately began to set up and fill the weather balloon with helium in the area in front of the Hab. Once the balloon fill was complete, the crew walked the balloon around to the north side of the Hab just beyond the observatory to conduct the launch. A technical hiccup with the telemetry was successfully resolved, and the balloon launched at 1:45 PM. The crew immediately began receiving telemetry from the weather balloon and was in contact with the balloon over eastern Utah and western Colorado for several hours. During the EVA, Engineer received further instruction from the PI for the mirror experiment who wished to have one more microscope analysis before packing up the mirrors tomorrow for return to Aerospace. IVA crew requested and received permission from Tier 1 mission support to add an additional objective to EVA #15 to retrieve the mirror samples from their exposure location across Cow Dung Rd. from Marble Ritual and return them to the Hab for analysis. After the EVA, Engineer analyzed the mirror samples under the Aerospace microscope in the Science Dome and Green Hab Officer tended the plants in the Green Hab. For dinner, the crew enjoyed shepherd’s pie. The crew plans to break simulation tomorrow morning at 5:30 AM to complete a live STEM event, photography/videography session, and end of mission cleanup activities.

Commander Report – December 7th

Sol: 10
Summary Title: Snow Day and EVA #14
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 awoke to a winter wonderland landscape this morning and snowy conditions. The crew enjoyed a quiche bake for breakfast and conducted a morning meeting to discuss how the weather would affect the day’s EVA plans. After a consultation with Tier 1 mission support, the crew decided to shorten the morning EVA #14 and continue to send 2 crew to perform repair operations on the mirror coating experiment payload. HSO and Engineer traversed on foot through the muddy terrain to repair the mirror payload and return swiftly to the Hab, while Green Hab Officer lead IVA comms. During the EVA, CDR and XO discussed end of mission reporting requirements and began to create content for those reports while Technology Officer continued to work data processing on the Aerospace computers. In the afternoon, HSO collected health and safety stats, crew completed exercise protocols, and Green Hab Officer tended to the plants in the Green Hab. Power was again limited due to weather conditions and the crew followed Tier 1 support instructions to conserve power. For dinner, the crew enjoyed black bean burgers on homemade sourdough buns with microgreens from the Green Hab.

Commander Report – December 6th

Sol: 9
Summary Title: EVAs #12 and #13
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of great weather on Mars with mostly mild temperatures, sunny skies, and light high-altitude clouds, with morning to midday cloud cover and a sprinkle of rain. The crew awoke early this morning and enjoyed a quick breakfast of cereal, oatmeal, and dried fruit. After a morning planning meeting, XO, HSO, and Technology Officer conducted the morning EVA (#12) for the purpose of flying the drone and to continue demonstrating the VR/AR headset in the area around the Hab and along Cow Dung Rd. to Marble Ritual. During the morning EVA, Engineer and Green Hab Officer exchanged the furnace filter and changed the battery on space suit #6. Upon return of the EVA #12 crew, and after a quick lunch, CDR, Engineer, and Green Hab Officer embarked on EVA #13 south on Cow Dung Rd. and then on foot on Rte 1101 to Barrainca Butte for the purpose of regolith sample collection, radiation environment measurements, and handheld ham radio comm checks. Throughout the day, the crew was updated on the status of the power system by Tier 1 support and entered various levels of power conservation as directed. In the afternoon, HSO collected health stats, crew completed exercise protocols, and conducted a test of the weather balloon payload scheduled to launch later this week. For dinner the crew enjoyed pesto pasta with vegetables with homemade sourdough bread.

Commander Report – December 5th

Sol: 8
Summary Title: EVAs #10 and #11
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of beautiful weather on Mars with mild temperatures, sunny skies, and light high-altitude clouds. Green Hab Officer made blueberry pancakes for breakfast with bourbon maple syrup. After a morning planning meeting, CDR, XO, and HSO conducted EVA #10. The first objective of the EVA was to traverse on foot to retrieve the mirror coating experiment samples from their exposure location across Cow Dung Rd. from Marble Ritual and return the samples to the airlock for analysis under microscope in the Science Dome by Engineer. The EVA then proceeded on rovers to Kissing Camel Ridge, then on foot up to Hab Ridge Rd. for the purpose of regolith sample collection and radiation environment monitoring. After EVA #10 crew returned to the Hab, Engineer and Green Hab Officer embarked on EVA #11, traversing on foot to return the mirror coating experiment samples to their exposure location across Cow Dung Rd. from Marble Ritual. The EVA then proceeded on foot to Sagan St. for the purpose of a handheld ham radio range test with the Hab. The handheld ham radios maintained clear communications on the 2 meter band at a further distance from the Hab than was possible using the EVA radios. During the afternoon EVA, HSO conducted in-depth troubleshooting of the Hab toilet (details can be found in the operations report for today), and Technology Officer conducted troubleshooting of the VR/AR headset in preparation for future EVAs. In the early evening, Green Hab Officer harvested microgreens, HSO collected crew health stats, and the crew took turns completing their exercise protocols. For dinner, the crew enjoyed chicken jambalaya with homemade sourdough bread and a microgreen salad. After dinner, the crew met to discuss prioritizing the remaining mission objectives to ensure maximum science return with the time remaining.

Commander Report – December 4th

Sol: 7
Summary Title: EVA #9 and Suit Troubleshooting
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of beautiful weather on Mars with mostly mild temperatures, sunny skies, and light high-altitude clouds. The crew enjoyed an egg, cheese, and vegetable casserole for breakfast. After a morning planning meeting, HSO collected crew health stats. CDR, Technology Officer, and Green Hab Officer conducted a short EVA in the early afternoon to deploy the ham radio antenna and fly two drone flights around the Hab and around the mirror coating experiment sample location. Fortunately, winds were light today, so the drone was able to successfully complete both flights. During the EVA, Engineer and HSO completed troubleshooting of the two-piece EVA suits and determined that the power strip the charging cables were plugged into had gone bad. They completed further tests with various combinations of suits, batteries, and chargers to ensure all six suits are now charging and holding charge properly. The crew relaxed a bit in the afternoon, reading, knitting, working on art projects, and sharing photos and stories. For dinner, the crew enjoyed tacos with homemade tortillas and baked a cake to celebrate the midpoint of their mission.

Commander Report – December 3rd

Sol: 6
Summary Title: EVAs #7 and #8
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of beautiful weather on Mars with mostly mild temperatures, sunny skies, and light high-altitude clouds. The crew enjoyed a breakfast of homemade sourdough bread, cereal, oatmeal, dried fruit, and espresso. After a morning planning meeting, HSO collected crew health stats. CDR, XO, and Engineer conducted the morning EVA #7 to the Special Region and used an EVA tool suite (rake, scoop, special sample bags) to collect regolith samples, being careful to adhere to the restrictions at the site to not disturb any fossils. CDR also collected GPS-tagged radiation dose rate measurements using a handheld dosimeter. The crew noted that this region would be an excellent site to fly the drone on a future Sol. During their return from the Special Region, EVA #7 crew marked a second site for a sample location on Cow Dung Rd. for the EVA #8 crew to return in the afternoon. After a quick lunch, HSO and Green Hab Officer conducted EVA #8 to the site on Cow Dung Rd. marked by the EVA #7 crew, where they collected further regolith samples, and HSO collected further radiation dose measurements with the handheld dosimeter. During the EVA, Technology Officer sent data to Aerospace mission support and received feedback on previously uploaded data. In the afternoon, CDR and Engineer inspected the 2-piece EVA suits. Further information can be found in today’s operations report. Before dinner, the crew completed their montage painting and assembled their inputs for the mid-mission research report. For dinner, the crew enjoyed chicken pot pie.

Commander Report – December 2nd

Sol: 5
Summary Title: EVAs #5 and #6
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of beautiful weather on Mars with mostly mild temperatures, sunny skies, and light high-altitude clouds. Winds were moderate most of the day, with higher gusts, with a brief drizzle in the late morning. The crew enjoyed a breakfast of cereal, oatmeal, homemade sourdough bread, and espresso. After a morning planning meeting, HSO collected crew health stats. XO and Engineer conducted a short morning EVA (#5) to retrieve the mirror samples to analyze in the Science Dome under a microscope. Technology Officer employed help from the two licensed private/drone pilots on the crew (CDR, HSO) to complete drone flight planning preparations for the afternoon EVA. After a light lunch, CDR, Technology Officer, and HSO embarked on EVA #6, while the Green Hab Officer led IVA Comms. The EVA plan included drone operations with flight plans near the Hab, near the mirror sample deployment location, and at Marble Ritual. The crew successfully completed activation and checkout of the drone near the Hab but decided to call off Flight Plan #1 due to high wind gusts. The crew proceeded to perform their backup EVA plan operations demonstrating the VR/AR headset in the area around the Hab and at the intersection of Hab Rd and Cow Dung Rd. At the mirror deployment location and Marble Ritual, the crew again called off the drone Flight Plans #2 and #3 due to high wind gusts and performed further demonstration of the VR/AR headset in those areas. The crew then returned early to the Hab area; by that time the winds had died down slightly allowing for the crew to proceed with Flight Plan #1 around the Hab after requesting permission from Tier 1 support to modify the original EVA plan. The drone flight was successful, collecting imagery of the Hab area. Finally, the EVA crew retrieved the mirror samples from the airlock and redeployed them at the location across Cow Dung Rd. from Marble Ritual before returning to the Hab. During the EVA, Engineer analyzed the mirror samples under the Aerospace microscope in the Science Dome. In the afternoon, Green Hab Officer harvested carrot sprouts and the crew continued their montage painting. The crew ended the day with a pizza party.

Commander Report – December 1st

Sol: 4
Summary Title: Space Suit Repair & EVA #4
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of beautiful weather on Mars with sunny skies, light high-altitude clouds and calm winds throughout the morning and into the afternoon. In the late afternoon, winds picked up and clouds began to move in. The crew enjoyed a breakfast of cereal, oatmeal, homemade sourdough bread, and espresso. After a morning planning meeting, HSO collected crew health stats. Technology Officer employed help from the two licensed private/drone pilots on the crew (CDR, HSO) to complete drone flight planning preparations for the afternoon EVA. After exercise and a light lunch, CDR, Technology Officer, and HSO embarked on EVA #4, while the XO led IVA Comms. The EVA plan included drone operations along Cow Dung Rd to Galileo Rd, but early technical challenges with the drone caused the crew to deviate from the scheduled EVA plan, remaining close to the Hab to troubleshoot. Due to this deviation, the crew was called back early to the Hab. During the EVA, Engineer and Green Hab Officer successfully completed repair operations on EVA suit 7 in the RAM. All crew members enjoyed assisting the Green Hab Officer in planting carrots and onions in the Green Hab in the afternoon. Before dinner, CDR, Technology Officer, and HSO replanned the drone flights for tomorrow’s requested morning EVA. The three ham radio operators on the crew (CDR, Green Hab Officer, and HSO) studied how to deploy the ham radio antenna for tomorrow’s requested afternoon EVA. The crew enjoyed a dinner of mac and cheese with homemade sourdough bread and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Commander Report – November 30th

Sol: 3
Summary Title: Operations and EVA 3
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of beautiful weather on Mars, chilly with light high-altitude clouds and light winds. The crew enjoyed a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup. After a morning planning meeting, HSO collected crew health stats while Technology Officer completed preparations for the afternoon EVA and Engineer and Green Hab Officer performed initial inspection and parts gathering for space suit 7 repair. At 12pm, Technology Officer, Engineer, and Green Hab Officer embarked on EVA #3 to Marble Ritual, the mirror deployment location, and along Cow Dung Rd. towards Galileo Rd. The 3-hour EVA was nominal and included data collection at multiple locations using a remote control mini-ATV with cameras and a virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) headset. After the EVA, HSO, CDR, XO, and Engineer completed training and workouts with the portable fitness equipment while Green Hab Officer collected the first harvest of the mission of microgreens and radish stems and included them with a dinner of seared spam with mustard glaze over scalloped potatoes.

Commander Report – November 29th

Sol: 2
Summary Title: Experiment Preparation and EVAs 1&2
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 enjoyed another day of beautiful weather on Mars, with light high-altitude clouds in the morning, becoming clear and sunny in the afternoon. The crew enjoyed oatmeal, homemade sourdough bread, and espresso for breakfast. Technology Officer completed preparations for the afternoon EVA while the rest of the crew completed final preparations, training, and exploration of the local area. After a quick lunch, CDR, XO, and Green Hab Officer embarked on EVA #1 to Marble Ritual. The 1 hour EVA was nominal and conducted rover, analog spacesuit, and communications checkout. Upon the return of the EVA #1 crew, HSO, Technology Officer, and Engineer departed on EVA #2 to Marble Ritual, completed their own rover, analog spacesuit, and communications checkout, then continued on to the location across Cow Dung Rd. where the mirror samples were deployed yesterday. There the crew used a remote control mini-ATV with cameras, controlled from a follow distance of roughly 80-100 ft. The trio drove the mini-ATV from Marble Ritual, south along Cow Dung Rd., and back to the road which turns west back towards the crew habitat collecting data along the way. Upon return from EVA #2, the crew experienced an anomaly with the front outer airlock door and a minor anomaly with the plug-in attachments for one of the space suits. Details of these anomalies are covered in the Operations Report and EVA Reports from today. In the evening, the crew set up the Aerospace microscope in the Science Dome and finished out Green Hab training and the final sections of the HSO checklist. The crew enjoyed spaghetti with meat sauce and homemade garlic bread for dinner and discussed their personal goals for the mission and agreed upon their specific simulation rules.

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