Commander Report – January 27th


Crew 220 Commander Report 27Jan2020

Author: Connie Delisle, Commander

Title: Out of this World Medical Training

Sol 8 marked a shift from knowing about medical assessment tools to using them. What better way to close the “knowing -doing” gap than by learning from a team of two international medical doctors. Johannes Svensøy from Norway and Shawna Pandya from Canada first explained and then lead the Crew through simulated medical emergencies during today’s morning and afternoon EVA’s. Crews practised P-MARCH-P for primary trauma survey followed by more advanced techniques called the “Secondary Survey” and “SAMPLE”. Crew’s really applied themselves to put learning into action, as well as continuing to improve radio and communication skills.

XO Wise keep extremely busy – from handling daily operations, cleaning floors on top of participating in the morning medical training EVAs. History was made as the Crew tested XO Wise’s invention – “the Golden Bubble” – for the very first time under extreme conditions on Mars. XO Wise remarked that, “I was super excited to see it used in the field”. This sentiment was shared by the Crew and we look forward to hearing about the prototype’s advancement.

Between EVAs, afternoon science, evening science the schedule continues to offer challenges and opportunities for personal and professional growth. I’ve put together a series of electronic folders and to facilitate sharing of the Mission information, the Crew has open access to the folders / files through a USB key. This has enabled Commander Shawna and to collaborate efficiently and effectively. I am learning a great deal from her along with XO Svensøy, XO Wise and the Crew.

I am grateful for this opportunity to learn, share and expand my appreciation for my colleagues expertise, contributions and insights.

Commander Delisle

MDRS Station

Commander Report – January 27th


Title: SurMAUnting Obstacles...

Author: Shawna Pandya, Commander

Once again, I am impressed with the mental aptitude and fortitude of my crew (as well as counterparts at MDRS station). To recap, we are at a skeleton crew over the next few sols as several of our crew remain in quarantine. Despite this, both crews have pulled together to work extremely hard at maintaining station operations, while furthering mission operations at the same time.

In the morning, we started with with a recap of the medical triage and assessment skills learned to date (METHANE, P-MARCH-P), and then expanded this skillbase to include a SAMPLE history and the secondary trauma survey. Next, we put these skills into practice into the field as we drilled a trauma scenario in front of the MDRS Hab over the course of two medical EVAs. These EVAs also saw the first field deployment of the Golden Bubble pressurized medevac device, and early demonstrations are both promising and gratifying.

Life on Mars, of course, is not without its challenges. The winds picked up considerably today, and we conducted two Engineering EVAs over the course of the day to fortify and secure MAU station from the elements. I need to commend XO Svensoy in particular for his diligence and perseverance in securing the crew quarters from the elements. His presence is a true asset to the station, and we are better off for having him.

To whatever adventures may come next...

Commander Pandya
Callsign: Nightowl
MAU Station

Commander Report – January 26th

Summary Title: Sunday’s Trinity

Author’s name: Connie Delisle, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Sol Activity Summary: Along with transfer for personnel this morning came the transfer of Command of MDRS Station from Commander Shawna to Commander Connie; and at MAU, from Commander John to Commander Shawna. This first-ever MAU-MDRS Station-to-Station Mission purposefully includes command transfers to test differences between governance (leadership models). Several of the MDRS Crew will have coordinated three “departures” by the end of this day: Several Crew were quarantined; a joint MAU-MDRS EVA was done to the MAU Station using the Rovers (Spirit and Curiosity); and a return of the MAU Crew to its Station. We are finding synergy in “threes”. The morning activities at MRDS Station included medical training for non-medical professionals. The informative, hands on training session was co-presented by Dr. Johannes Svenszoy and MD Dr. Shawna Pandya, MD. The first training block covered the procedure for applying the METHANE procedure:[Major Incident, Exact Location, Type of incident, Hazards involved, Access to Site Number of Causalities, and Emergency Services Needed]. This session was followed by Dr’s Pandya and Svensoy reviewing the procedure for conducting P-MARCH-P [Patient, Personnel, Permission, Personal Protective Gear; Massive Hemorrhage and C-Spine; Airway; Respirations; Circulation and Head/Hypothermia. After lunch the Doctors resumed the training session, reviewing CPR and bagging (resuscitation) procedures inclusive of hands on practice using the technique.

Team lead Commander Shawna managed gracefully through some communications technology issues at the start of the afternoon EVA to the MAU station. Keeping safety first, the Crew successfully completed the EVA, capturing photos and returned to MDRS at 17:45. Dr. Pandya then completed the EVA wellness study which entails collecting biometrics data.

Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow’s morning and afternoon Medical EVAs will consist of testing an innovation entitled the “Golden Bubble”. The Bubble is a prototype of a first-of-its kind pressured Medivac transport System.
Anomalies in work: NA
Weather: -3C low / 3C max, 0C average, 40% chance of precipitation tomorrow
Crew Physical Status: Excellent mental focus, with positive feedback about the high quality medical training sessions.
EVA: 1 AM MDRS – MAU joint EVA performed today as above

Reports to be filed:
Commander Report
Sol Summary
Photo Report
Operations Report
GreenHab Report
EVA Report
EVA Request
Support Requested: None Required

Commander Report – January 26th

Crew 220, MAU

Sol 7 Commander’s Report

Author: Shawna Pandya, Commander

Title: Fly Me to the MAU…

A new sol, a new station. In the morning XO Svensoy and I ran some further medical training and drills with the MAU-MDRS crew, including the METHANE protocol for calling in a major incident, redrilling P-MARCH-P for a primary trauma survey, and going over CPR techniques. We were so impressed with the crew’s ability to learn take on complex concepts in a short amount of time.

In ongoing project news, I have been able to get the sensors back online for one of our biometric study, which was a HUGE win after trying to do so for the past few days.

Later on, XO Svensoy and I packed up and moved out for MAU station, with Officer Kainu briefing us as to the station operations. We are delighted with the station and look forward to building a culture and program that is associated with the MAU crew. As a good portent, XO Svensoy has put up some stars up on the station, so I can indeed say that the constellations are different at MAU station.

Looking forward to the spls ahead…

Commander Pandya
MAU Station

Commander Report Jan 25

MDRS Commander Report 25JAN2020

Sol 6

Author: Shawna Pandya, Commander

Title: A solset on MDRS, a solrise on MAU

Today was a different day – the MDRS and MAU crew rendezvoused at MAU station to focus on crew training, learning and growth. In the morning, the crews worked on personal growth exercises based on the book "The New Right Stuff" and went through the questions in the book. Next, after a team lunch, the medically trained personnel of the team took the rest of the crew through a medical simulation, followed by principles of medical triage in a trauma scenario, and practicing these drills. Next, one of the crew members demonstrated the use of their "Golden Bubble" device, designed to transport injured astronauts in a trauma scenario. The rest of the evening passed by with body-mapping artistic activities, training on a VR device, being briefed on communications in the field and a "Grand Rounds" academic presentation.

Every day on Mars brings its challenges, but plants do not blossom without rain. For this crew’s personal growth, life on Mars -is- the rain.

On a personal note, tomorrow myself and the XO move out to take command of MAU station. We are impressed with what the current crew has achieved, and knowing XO Svensoy and working with him as well as I do, we very much look forward to conducting MAU Operations as a team.

Till the Next Sol,

Commander Pandya

Commander Report Jan 25

MDRS MAU Commander Report 25JAN2020

Sol 6

Title: Learning Medical Trauma Response and Demo New Invention

Author: Commander John Hanacek

Today was the start of crew medical training, learning protocol for first response trauma medicine. We drilled with a scenario of a crew member who hurt their leg. I found my training as a CA state parks beach lifeguard coming back to me, yet I was a little rusty! We are privileged here to have two three medical doctors, two who are experts in trauma medicine, one who works in hospital and one with deep field experience, and an ex special forces soldier to assist in training. I have been looking forward to this mission to grow my skills under the supervision of these professionals in this austere, isolated environment. Many members of the crew have no formal medical training and so this is a fascinating opportunity to test training of life-saving skills. If we are to thrive on Mars, we are required to have intimate knowledge of field medical skills. Plus, one crew member has brought in an invention, “The Golden Bubble,” a pressurized field medical system that is meant to enable the successful stabilization and transport of injured astronauts even if their pressure suits are compromised. We will be testing our skills and this unique technology on future medical EVAs. We are all looking forward to such a unique opportunity.

Tomorrow the MDRS and MAU crews will switch places. This is the next stage of the unique ‘station to station’ experiment going on here and will represent a fresh opportunity to see a new side of the Martian terrain and a new experience for all of us.

Commander Report – January 24th


Sol 5

Author: Shawna Pandya, Commander

Title: Learn, Baby, Learn…

Today was an incredible day of learning. I started the day awakening at MAU station, having spent the night there, as a means of pre-orientating to the MAU station operations. It won’t be long now, but we will be switching over at Sol 7. I am thrilled and amazed at the balmy desert paradise that the MAU station has created amidst a lone and frigid red jewel, and look forward to building on the work that MAU crew as started as we transition over next week.

Next, we attempted our first medical EVA drill, intended to be a joint medical drill. Unfortunately, we immediately ran into issues with our communications as soon as we stepped out. Additionally, one of the MDRS EVA crew members experienced some issues and needed to return to MDRS station. Once outside MDRS, we attempted to continue to troubleshoot the comms issues, but ultimately called off the EVA because of ongoing issues.

I am extremely proud of what happened next. The MAU and MDRS crews sat down together to debrief about the lessons learned, and also made the difficult, but correct call to abort the afternoon EVA as we worked to compile a list of lessons learned, and abort criteria for future EVAs. I am sharing some of the list elements here, in hopes that it will be of use for future crews:
(1) Equipment/suit failures;
(2) Medical emergencies;
(3) EVA exceeds pre-planned "return-to-base" time;
(4) If every EVA member is not able to complete the EVA;
(5) Predetermined comms criteria are not met; and/or
(6) Team determines that there is a valid safety concern with proceeding

Sometimes in order to hit your objectives, you have to go through the nitty-gritty details to set yourselves up for success on future operations. I feel we achieved this today, and am proud of my MAU-MDRS Martians for working the problem in a disciplined and methodical fashion. Mars. Whatever. It. Takes.

Commander Pandya
Over and Out

Commander Report – January 24th


MDRS – MAU Commander Report Sol 5 24-01-2020

Sol 5

Title: The Gift of An EVA Abort

Author: Commander John Hanacek

When things don’t go to plan, sometimes it can serve as a powerful gift. Today’s EVA was meant to serve as a medical training scenario using previously gathered coordinates. Instead it turned into a deeply useful learning and coordination opportunity for both stations’ EVA crews. Our post EVA debrief led to a productive session of solidifying EVA abort criteria, and tangible lessons and improvements in intra-team communications, both over the radio and as a group. The debrief went into the time allotted for the second EVA, which the commanders cancelled. We spent the rest of the day catching up on science and connecting as a crew. As commander of MAU station, I am deeply grateful that we were able to achieve a positive outcome despite needing to abort an EVA. The crew performed admirably with adverse comms conditions We revealed that we had some structural issues with our communications technology, and techniques, and we were unclear about abort protocols. After this morning’s EVA, this is no longer the case. These kinds of lessons are powerful gifts, they show the cracks without breaking the vase. I am deeply grateful to the crew for problem solving as best they could in adverse conditions, and for each bringing their unique background, knowledge and experience to the post EVA briefing. Together we were able to achieve a new level of understanding with each other, and solidify protocols for the unique station to station situation. As pioneers of the station to station paradigm, we are pushing the envelope with coordination between teams. As astronauts we are committed to safety even before our heart felt desire to explore and learn on Mars.

– John

Commander Report – January 22nd

MDRS Crew 220 Commander’s Report 22Jan2020
Commander: Shawna Pandya

Power to the (Martian) People!

Sol 3 and we have already come together admirably as a crew to rise to the occasion. As I understand it, for the first time in station history, over Sol 1 & 2, both the generator and the solar panels failed due to the Martian winter, and station power went down to a SOC of 0%, leaving us to place all EVAs and science on hold until we got back line. There are some who might shrink back from such a challenge – and there are those who rise, grow and become closer and stronger in the face of adversity. I am proud to say that MDRS Crew 220 is the latter. These strong men and women of Mars stepped up to the occasion, powered down, took the ~36hrs without electricity in stride. We shared experiences by flashlight, sang favorite tunes by guitar (like “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley), and did our best to look after each other’s mental and physical status. The fortitude that this crew has shown has made me proud.

Today, as the Hab got back online, we started to catch up on normal operations and getting our mission back on track. First, we restored power in a graded fashion, bringing essential electrical operations online first as the state-of-charge of the back-up batteries reached first 12, then 50 and finally 100%. We started with our radio chargers, followed by our life support suits for EVA and rovers and internet, followed by full operations. The rest of the day was spent bringing the mission back on track to achieving our objectives with respect to mission, exploration and science objectives, including planning EVAs and getting our science back online. We started the morning by doing EVA preparatory drills, to ensure that we knew our gear inside out, and could equip ourselves expediently in case of an emergency.

Next, we completed took part in a body mapping activity, where we outlined our bodies, and then mapped our physical, physiological and psychological states onto the posterboard. This crew has put a special emphasis on wellness, and this body-mapping activity comprised today’s wellness actviity. All in all, this crew has demonstrated incredible fortitude and resilience, but just as importantly, incredible compassion and humanity. We check in with each other, ensure we stay fed and hydrated, and look out for signs of distress, fatigue and over-exertion. I am honored to be amongst this crew.

Looking forward to the ensuing Sols,

Commander Pandya

Commander Report – January 18th

Crew 219 Commander’s Report, 18-01-2020

Author: Dave Masaitis, Commander

SOL 13

Peace on Mars, and Goodwill To Crews

It was the Summer of 2017 when I spoke to Nathan on the phone and told him he should have a look at the MDRS website. He was busy with a summer internship in Tennessee, and asked me to give him a run-down. I told him it was a Mars analog in the Utah desert, and it could be a valuable resource for the members of our organization to send crews to evaluate our work. After some discussion, we both agreed that we should bring it to the rest of the membership in the fall with the intent of submitting an application. Three years and two MDRS missions later, and I am shaking hands with Commander Pandya of Crew 220, to transfer responsibility of the MDRS campus at sunset.

I took an out-of-sim hike up North Ridge with others from Crew 219 today, to show them the absolutely breathtaking view that Nathan, Hannah, and I had the pleasure of seeing as members of Crew 205. In their words it was another life-altering experience, but for me personally, it was finally an opportunity after quite a number of persistently busy years and back-to-back missions to stop and reflect. The air was clear, the sun was shining and there was a steady but light breeze from the northwest. It has been an extremely long road to this point, rife with challenges, but we made it. We all made it. We did it together, but I can no longer contain the pride and excitement that I feel having had the honor of leading the first All-Florida-Tech crew through this experience, especially knowing that more will follow.

We selected and trained an exceptional crew, who stayed motivated and cheerful while they accomplished a lion’s share of high-fidelity science and engineering. Their diligence and
professionalism is a testament to each of their characters, but their willingness to greet adversity with a smile and a laugh is a testament to their spirits. I am humbled to have shared this time with them, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of peers, friends, and colleagues.

This afternoon we had the opportunity to meet and train a new group of selected professionals, each with their own stories, capabilities, and expectations. I think I can speak for all of Crew 219 when I say that we are extremely excited to see the work that Crew 220 produces in their time here, so we have been doing everything we can to help them get up to speed and get situated for their time here. After I finish writing this, we will take pictures and eat dinner together, and by 0500 in the morning, we will be leaving this mission on Mars in their capable hands.

I am grateful to Dr. Robert Zubrin and Dr. Shannon Rupert for giving us this incredible opportunity. I am thankful for the diligence and hard work of Atila Meszaros and David Mateus as well as the slew of wonderful volunteers and members of CapCom and the Mars Society that provided us with knowledge and support along our journey. I am thankful for the support and encouragement provided by Florida Tech and our sponsors.

I am humbled and grateful, but not heartbroken. We did what we came here to do, and now it’s time to go. Now it’s time to return to Florida and prepare another crew. Now it’s time to embrace new challenges in exploration, both in the sky and the sea. Now it’s time to keep pushing the boundaries of human experience; to go where others will not, to see what we did not even know to look for.


Dave Masaitis

Commander, Crew 219