Mission Support Crew 200 Journalist Report December 6th


Shannon told us at the beginning of the mission to notice the moment
where we felt like we were truly living on Mars. For me, I experienced
this moment. On EVA, as I followed behind my strong fellow crew
members across the snowy red hills around the MDRS, I took a deep
breath inside my spacesuit helmet. We were returning to the Hab after
a difficult hike through the hills to collect soil samples. One crew
member helped another across a small stream. As we helped each other
trek across the landscape indicating the best places to step and
lending a hand when needed, I truly felt a part of a crew on Mars.

Meanwhile, while the women of the crew went on EVA, the men were in
the Hab continuing their experiments in the lab and in the kitchen.
Lunch was fantastic (the first bread we’ve had since the mission
began). And dinner was superb! We had baked tuna melt. Although, it
was more like baked tuna crisp since we forgot to rehydrate the cheese
before putting it in the oven. Delicious all the same – we ate every
bite of the huge pan. Thanks to our Crew Astronomer (it’s been cloudy
out so now he is the Crew Chef).

Today we also had guests. We answered all their questions and showed
them around the Hab.
Oakley Jennings-Fast

Journalist Report – December 4th

Sol 3: Life through the porthole

Acting Journalist: Andrew Foster


The snow from Sol 1 remains, and with temperatures plummeting last night we stay in the safety of the Hab with our EVA plans on hold for the time being. The crew is working very well together, continuing with science projects this morning and adapting plans as best possible to the weather conditions. Our Commander very kindly gave a first aid refresher followed by a delicious lunch of rice, potato and pea mix. There are no leftovers and plates barely need cleaning!

In the afternoon, we had a group discussion and a welcome team building exercise. The group considered questions from one of our outreach projects – Can plants survive on Mars? How will we get water? How can we generate electricity? What is the best way to cover large distances and could we ever fly on Mars? What is the best way to produce our oxygen? So many questions to be answered before we can journey to and live on the Red Planet.

Although the weather has curtailed our EVA activities, the crew has showed great bonding in a short space of time, being patient, kind, and supporting each other.

We look through the porthole – the cold conditions outside are fairly close to a spring day on the Martian equator, and think of living and working on a world so similar and so different to our own..

Journalist Report – December 3rd

Journalist Report:

Today at the habitat we shared our experience with our guests who were visiting. We demonstrated our cooking ability for them and the creativity of cooking with dehydrated food. Our guests were impressed with the facilities and the cooking. The crew has been working together superbly. Crew members are jumping in to help each other, often without being prompted. One example of collaboration was maintaining the solar observatory. Three Martians aided in the repair of the observatory. This required cooperation during cold conditions coordinating directions both written and received remotely from Earth. In addition, the snow yesterday was simultaneously stunningly beautiful and nerve-racking. The snowy perfection represented the unknown. What would these conditions mean for the mission? But we pressed forward and continued our training. Well before the mud and conditions were too severe, we ceased EVAs and continued our training in the safety of the Hab. This demonstrated our crews resilience and flexibility. We are thinking like Martians.

Oakley Jennings-Fast-Zubrin

Journalist Report – November 15th

Houston, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a main bus B undervolt. Right now voltage is looking good. We’ve had a pretty large bang associated with the caution and warning there. As I recall, main B was the one that had an amp spike on it once before. In the interim here we’re starting to go ahead and button up the tunnel again. That jolt must have rocked the sensor on O2 quantity too. It was oscillating down around 20 to 60 percent. Now it’s full-scale high again. And Houston, we had a restart on our computer and we had a PGNCS light and the restart reset. And we’re looking at our service module RCS Helium 1. We have B is Barber poled and D is barber poled, Helium 2, D is barber pole and secondary propellants I have A and C barber pole BMAG temperatures? AC2 is showing zip. I’m going to try to reconfigure on that. We’ve got a main bus A undervolt now too showing.

I tried to reset and fuel cell 1 and 3 are both showing gray flags but they are both showing zip on the flows….

Spaceballs one has now gone to plaid

Journalist Report – November 13th

Journalist report;

Today we launched a rocket. Not just any rocket a repurposed Nike sounding rocket from the early days of the space program when we were still defining the winds in the upper atmosphere. At the launch we established effective range safety and cleared our airspace with an official NOTAM to the regulatory agencies controlling the airspace around our habitat. The rocket flew to 8200 feet and was safely recovered in a nearby field after a successful parachute recovery. No lives were lost and no animals were hurt in this demonstration so we count is a resounding success. To commemorate our success we ate a hearty meal of quiche and cinnamon rolls. After our launch we retired to the habitat for a customized exercise program, our traditional communal dinner and debriefings.

journalist report – november 12th

Today was our first full day on Mars. We started with very limited power thanks to the system failures detailed by Shannon previously. We also had some lectures from Rick on various space medicine topics, including ultrasound in space flight, winter survival, water survival, and the role of the flight surgeon. We also conducted an EVA and simulated a medical contingency while descending rocky scree. Finally, we had a lecture from Sean Serell, our rocketry specialist, who is directing the launching of our rocket tomorrow. The crew is tired in a good way, and very excited for tomorrow!

Journalist Report – October 25th

Journalist’s Report
Marge Lipton, Crew Journalist
Oct 25, 2018

SOL 4: Lots of many small steps before even a tiny leap

Today’s EVA’s were focused on what is still needed before a Virtual Reality training application of the MDRS can show additional terrain via drones. You wouldn’t just want to bring your equipment without doing thorough reconnaissance.

The morning EVA had Jim, James, Robert and Max headed to Candor Chasma. It was estimated to be a 3 hour trip from end to end. While data was being fed back to the Hab, it was noticed that the GPS coordinates (which were being taken for the drone based photogrammetry of terrain for the VR shoot) were not the same as the lat/long on the map in the hab. There are apparently a few different ways of taking coordinates but the videographers are sticking with the GPS readings they personally took on their survey.

Readings were also taken at regular intervals for the battery levels of the rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit had reasonable readings at the 1 hour 45 minute mark, but Opportunity, had a level of 40% leading the group to turn back. Luckily they did, because yards away from arriving at the Hab a bright red light turned on. Today’s mistake seems to be that putting Opportunity in high gear uses up more juice. So instead of a planned 3 hour EVA, at close to the 2 hour mark, Opportunity needed to be pushed back to the station. It’s a good thing it was almost home by then. The crew is discussing ways it may or may not be possible to bring an extra battery or generator on the rover for just such an emergency in the future.

Robert, Max, Shannon and Marge were on the afternoon EVA. They took Spirit and Curiosity out to the Burpee Dinosaur site. Once there, Shannon took out his drone and flew it over the area to get an idea of what would work. We also took GPS and iPhone coordinates to be used when the actual VR shooting occurs. The group got into the rovers and headed to Lith Canyon after that, but found too much tumbleweed and greenery for it to be Mars.

As for feedback on the space suits, a few us found that while they were fine when walking or sitting still, riding in the rover over some of the potholes caused the helmet to bump into chins and teeth.

Overall our mission has been a success in that it will greatly facilitate the time when the future VR operation occurs.

Journalist Report Oct 24th

Sol 3 – Think like a Martian, Act like a Martian

Marge Lipton, Crew Journalist


After morning yoga and tai chi loosened us up, the first EVA

commenced. Suits were donned, earpieces inserted, radios turned on and

turned in to the correct channel, and suits were fastened with duct

tape at the wrist to keep any Martian air from touching our skin.

EVA #1 was comprised of James, Max, Shannon, and Jim. Before heading

out to Pooh’s Corner, a walk away from the Hab, they checked

engineering, and took photos. Then they split into two groups, two

people took a detour to the Rock Garden, the other two went directly

to Poohs’ Corner. When they all reached that destination they called

in to Hab Com in to find out how much time was left and decided to

come back to base, get a rover and head west for their remaining time.

MISTAKE! When they eventually came back to base, even though the

commander had agreed to their extra excursion, they learned an

important lesson. Think like a Martian, act like a Martian. What that

means is that if you’re given a mission, and you’ve completed it,

don’t take on unnecessary risk. Astronauts on the space station don’t

walk over to the other side when they’ve finished a task just because

they want to. But how are we going to learn if we don’t make mistakes?

Paraphrasing Neil Armstrong in the movie First Man, “Better to fail on

earth than on Mars.” But because our mission is basically about

mapping what needs to be captured in Virtual Reality, that part was a


The next group, Susan, Robert, Sacha, Jim and Marge went out after

lunch to Pooh’s Corner. The protocol is to suit up, gather in the

airlock until being given permission by Hab Com to egress. Our mission

was a success as we wandered around the beautiful Martian surface on

the lookout for interesting rocks and dinosaur bones.

The spacesuit makers, Max and Robert, debriefed us afterwards to hear

what suggestions we had for making them better. Since we’re a photo

mission, besides the comfort and fogginess of some helmets,

consideration was given to where VR and 360 cameras as well as other

paraphernalia could possibly be placed.

Engineering monitored our life supporting equipment. The marvelous HAL

(Habitat Activity Lexica) monitor went down. It’s comprised of various

modules keeping track of crew activity and is in the process of being


And later tonight we’re having that discussion on the moral dimensions

of space travel. Stay tuned!

Journalist Report October 22nd

Mars Crew 197 – Sol 1 – It’s a Wrap (Already??)

Marge Lipton – Crew 197 Journalist

We arrived at dusk last night and were treated to the soft luscious colors of a southwest sunset. Our crew faced earthly challenges like delayed flights and lost luggage, but persevered, fitting 5 people and too many pieces of luggage to count in a Nissan Pathfinder for the two and a half hour drive to the station. We squeezed everything in, but as newly minted Martians this became a bonding experience. Because it’s clear that besides all the engineering and technology in getting humans to Mars, it’s impossible not to take into consideration how best to get a diverse group of people to get along in such close quarters.

Our first day, today was the start of the MDRS season and involved a lot of housecleaning, from mopping and vacuuming, to setting up new posts to build the simulated pressurized tunnel allowing us to walk between different buildings. After the posts were pounded into the ground, we then WRAPPED the tarps overhead. Rovers had to be moved into position and the MDRS car needed to be taken in for a tune-up.

Crew members discussed what each wanted to accomplish on this mission, and tried to figure out especially, how we were going to remain in sim while also trying to get the best VR coverage of the sites James and Shannon wanted. In practice, this meant, to break sim or not wear a helmet or not on the EVA.

We were interrupted in our WRAPPING of the tunnel by rain, later followed by thunderstorms. So we took the opportunity to make WRAPS of tuna, avocado and tomato.

So as I said, that’s a wrap for today.

Journalist Report May 25th

Journalist Report – Earth-Date 25May2018 / Sol 5

Author: Dana Levin

This concludes the mission of crew 195. We have suffered many a crisis and the crew has weathered them bravely. We’ve been down but not out, beaten but not broken, Spurned but never scorned, cloudy but not stormy, free but not clear, and many other things. In the end, this crew has handled the rigors of our cruel mistress mars well and looks forward to our return to earth having been enriched by the experience and our lives changed permanently and forever.

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