As more days go by, living in a tin can on the surface of an alien word seem to become more routine by the day. Today was an exercise free day, so we were able to sleep in for a while which was a welcome reprieve for the crew. However, this was rather short lived as we soon discovered that the sub-zero temperatures on the Martian surface had caused our water system to freeze. Hence, we only had a limited quantity of potable water available until we could come up with a fix. While our engineer was working on the problem, the rest of the crew engaged in what has now become our daily activities here on Mars. Every morning a different crew member is assigned to our EVA glove evaluation and performs a series a pre-determined maintenance task around the Hab. Their feedback is then recorded as well as any suggestions they might have. This data is recorded electronically, and sent back to Earth during our daily check-in with mission control in the evening.
We continued our armband GPS testing today, this time during our first EVA using the Mars Rovers. A couple adjustments were made from the feedback gathered during yesterday walking EVA. The screen contrast was increased, and the screen colors were inverted in order to make the display more legible in the sunlight. The regular EVA gloves that were modified yesterday were repaired (they sustained moderate damage from the bouldering of yesterday’s EVA) and slightly modified to allow for a smoother usage of the touchscreen GPS unit. The Mars Rovers performed adequately, with some difficulties at the beginning of the EVA, most likely due their extended period of inactivity.
Today also marked the arrival of the Explorer Capsule containing supplies and research equipment from Earth. Among them was a prototype Aeroponics device, otherwise known as Project XGEN. Assuming the testing goes well, this next generation technology could find its way onto all Mars bound spacecraft, as well as various other space bound vehicles. The device was moderately damaged in transit, however, our crew was able to perform repairs, and bring it back to its fully functional state by the end of the day.
We continued to have malfunctions with our communications system, however we think we might have figured out a way to keep it functioning properly for the reminder of our stay. We will be able to further report on this situation in tomorrow’s report. However, we did finish the evening on a high note with having to scramble to fix a water leak on the first floor of the Hab. After all this excitement we all retired to our quarters for some much needed R&R.