There are many complex pieces of equipment that must all be in working order for
a human exploration of Mars to succeed.
Our fourth day at MDRS started with some serious soul searching regarding our
ability to meet our target of going into sim by the end of the day. I had
highlighted some worrying deficiencies in our equipment inventory in yesterday's
report, and held out little hope of anything being able to be done immediately,
and it was beginning to look as though I had a choice of delaying the sim by at
least a day, or else facing several days confined in the hab.
However, soon after first light, I was contacted by the highest authorities as
mission supprt and given personal assurances that we would have everything we
needed to allow adherence to our original schedule.
As a result, on completion of our morning briefing and subsequent the essential
green hab duties, I had the crew assemble in the hab living area at 9:10 for a
run through of basic EVA skills such as operation of the various models of GPS
available, operation of the radio sets, and some basic rules for efficient
operation of a radio net.
At 10am I had the crew assemble in the EVA preparation area and we went through
the procedure of putting on all of our available EVA equipment, including orange
outer garment, boots, gaiters, gloves, and life support packs. Crash helmets
were used in lieu of the space helmets which are still on their way from Earth.
I then divided the crew into two teams who headed off in different directions to
a chosen feature within sight of the hab. The two groups practiced communicating
with each other en route, and on reaching their chosen target, saved their
location. Each group had two GPS's and a radio per person. The groups then used
their GPS to navigate back to the hab using the existing waypoint, exchanged GPS
units, and then navigated to the other groups waypoint.
We returned to the hab for a well deserved lunch at 12:30, with the intention of
conducting a final ATV practice in suits during the afternoon. However on
checking on checking my communications after the meal, I found a directive
authorizing the immediate dispatch of two crew members to the Grand Junction
supply depot to obtain our urgently needed supplies. On this news, it was
decided that the ATV practice would be postponed and performed in sim.
The re-supply team departed at 14:30, and those of us remaining behind commenced
the task of preparing for the entering of sim on their return. A final clean and
sort of the hab laboratory areas was performed, the hab IT infrastructure
including printer and scanner was tested and necessary drivers installed. A
fourth life support unit (number 2) was repaired to a working condition by
taking a switch from the unit 3 which was in the worst state. Preparations for
experiments also continued during this time.
At 17:30 we had a visit from a Canadian Space Agency team who were in the area
for a rover deployment project. Three members of their team were former MDRS
residents, and they were keen to compare notes on MDRS experiences. They were
just in time, as had they come after today, we would have had to be content with
waving through the window.
The travel time between here and the Earth resupply depot is about three hours
each way, so I am not expecting their return before the close of the Mission
Support reporting window. Consequently, there will be no HSO or Greenhab
Officers report this evening. All crew members are well and the Greenhab data
will be included in tomorrows reports.
On the return of our missing crew members, Crew 142 will be entering sim, and
are looking forward to our first day on Mars tomorrow.