Michael C. Bouchard
Geology & Mapping: I took a several more mapping points today. I located another of the "spine" ridges
which was nice to see repeated. I also got a location where the pink and white cemented mudstone we
see all over was in place. We walked to a frozen lake bed about 2km straight line distance from the
Samples: Recovered a soil sample up above a wash valley, a hand sample of the pink/white cementation,
a soil sample near the northern lake bed, and tried to get another surface sample of the white
mineralization however it dissolved as soon contact was made.
Logistics and Equipment: It was a little frustrating to speak everything, but also nice. I didn't have
to worry about handwriting, and it was really nice to walk around without a clipboard. I had to repeat
my descriptions a few times because of radio issues. I would say a little then wait for HSCC to catch
up. Had to break up into chunks. If it was being recorded would not have to do this. I took more
photos, bc I was not writing things down and was more conscious of making it clear to someone back
home than my own head. At first I was hesitant to radio back a site bc it was something small I would
jot down. But we got the hang of it by the third site and things went a lot smoother. However once we
made our way back to the road coms degradation became debilitating. We lost contact completely as we
entered the ridge just south of our second Geology traverse site.
ASTRONOMY REPORT FORM
Name: Nick Orenstein
Sky Conditions: Partly Cloudy
Time of Observation (start- finish): 9:30pm 12/30/13 – 2:00am 12/31/13
Last night was our first use of the astrophotography equipment. Our star alignment and calibration was much more accurate this time since it was our second use of the observatory system. We discovered that one of the lamps in the observatory is a red light, which helped visibility when needed. Outside temperature was cold but we bundled up with clothing under our EVA jumpsuits.
As planetary explorers, our astronomy research objective is to image habitable locations in the solar system. Last night we focused the telescope on Europa, the ice moon of Jupiter which scientists believe could harbor life in the oceans beneath its crust. After a few minutes getting accustomed to the CCD Camera software, the giant gas planet with its cloud bands and four Galilean moons jumped vividly onto the screen. I checked the Jupiter moon charts on the website for Sky and Telescope Magazine to determine which was Europa.
I saved five raw images. The fasted exposure time allowed by CCD camera is 0.09 seconds, which made it difficult to capture the moons without the planet’s light washing out the image. Today, I used the CCDOPs software to change contrast and color values and exported two .tif base images – one with highest moon clarity and one with highest clarity of Jupiter’s two cloud bands. Then, in Photoshop, I overlaid the two and adjusted layer opacities and color balances. The results were two final images: one cropped to just Jupiter and Europa and one cropped to include all four moons. They can both be seen in today’s Daily Photos transmission.
List of Objects viewed:
Aligned to Pollux. Attempted to align to Sheratan but the sky was so dark it was difficult to discern Sheratan from other nearby stars. During this time, I saw what appeared to be a binary star system. Using the Stellarium software on my personal laptop I noted that one is at RA 1hr59'33.7" / DE 21deg 00'13.3". Both were to the bottom-left of HIP 9307 as they appeared in the sky at observation time. I do not know enough details of these stars to determine whether they are actually a binary pair or just coincidentally close to each other in the sky.
We attempted to view Mars around 1:30am once it was >10deg above the horizon, but fate chose to prevent this by pushing clouds into the sky. It seems that we really are on Mars. How can you look at Mars in the night sky if you’re actually there ?!? One day, we’ll catch Earth through the eyepiece.
The imaging astronomy box does not have the USB cable to connect the CCD camera to the laptop. Reviewing my initial photos shows it did not come with the box when we arrived. I could not find one in the Hab. I had to use a personal cable of one of the crew members. This will be a problem for future crew astronomers.