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1225-JournalistsReport

25-12-2013
Ian Etter

On the fourth day at MDRS the morning routine has been established with the crew meeting promptly at 08:00 for morning yoga. After a quick breakfast and a small break for morning preparations, we prepared for the second EVA, which was to be led by team geologist Michael Bouchard. We met at 09:30 to suit up and headed out at roughly 10:15. Today's EVA consisted of Michael, Usha, Dani and myself. Our goals were to find a suitable site for the biological experiments and collect soil samples.

We headed straight for the first waypoint, which was directly north of the Hab. On our way to the second waypoint, at the base of the largest hill to the north of the Hab, we stopped at various places. Michael observed the geological features of the landscape, and explained how the local landscape showed evidence of an ancient river and definitive proof of water on Mars. The most compelling evidence was found near a small stream. As we made our way to the base of the hill Usha and Dani selected a small exposed patch of earth to sample soil from. 

We trekked up the west side of the hill. At the top Michael chose a few samples and carefully sketched the hillside across the crevice. We left to cross the ridge that connects the two peaks of the hill around noon. The sun had begun to melt the ice in the clay and the ridge was too muddy to pass. We chose to descend through the crevice between the two peaks. The sides of the hill were muddy, at the bottom of the slopes were large boulders. The descent was rather difficult, and took a significant amount of time. The EVA team was covered in mud by the time it reached the bottom, but it did so safely. 

The biology team chose a second area to dig, and sampled the soil. We took the coordinates and headed back to the Hab around 13:30. We were scheduled to arrive back at 14:00. At 13:50 one of the crew members discovered that she had dropped a piece of equipment, so we turned back around to find it. The search was successful. We ended up back at the Hab an hour late and were met with a warm lunch and s'mores.