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1224-JournalistsReport

24-12-13
Journalist's Report
Ian Etter

The crew gathered at 08:00 for the morning yoga routine. After a quick breakfast we prepared for the first EVA of our mission. We ran through one last check of equipment and began suiting up in the second generation suits at 10:00, which was a team effort. Commander Nick, Charles, Hiroyuki and I set for on the EVA at approximately 10:20 to survey the grounds for the first time. 

After a quick radio check, we moved out onto the foothills immediately to the west of the Hab. Shortly after leaving, our helmets began to fog. Visibility was severely impaired and finding secure footing on the icy slope was difficult, making the ascent rather dangerous. We discovered that if you took a sip of water and spit it at the face of your helmet you could regain visibility. Our trip was composed of two loops, a small loop to the south of the Hab and a larger loop around the large hill to the north. The trips were planned to look for debris from the Hab that may have been scattered by the wind, and to test the distance of radio communications and GPS accuracy. 

After the first loop and way point check, which was rather quick, we headed for the northern hill. By the time we made it to the first way check the snow had begun to melt, softening the clay soil. Although the temperature was just over 30 degree Fahrenheit, the crew began to feel the heat of the sun.  Realizing that we may have been a bit overdressed, we sought shade as we reached our second way point on the far side of the hill. Radio communications with Hab Support failed on this side. Three of the four radios had malfunctioned at this point. The only functioning radio needed to be cycled after each communication attempt. The caused a response delay of about five seconds between Hab Support and the EVA crew. We trekked around the hill to our third way point of the second loop and re-established communications. We then headed back the to the Hab and made it to the decompression chamber just around 13:00. The EVA crew was greeted with a warm lunch of chili and homemade Christmas cookies. After a short EVA de-briefing we separated to work on our reports for the day.