We experienced a slight mishap overnight, when the downstairs heater was turned
off during the evening PT session and nobody remembered to turn it back on
again. I became aware of that something was up at about 2:00am when there was a
commotion as several crew members were driven by the cold to get up and rectify
the situation, and I learned the details the next morning.
Depite this, Carmel was up at the crack of dawn baking bread, and the rest of
the crew were up and treated to pancakes by todays kitchen crew at 7:30.
Today we had VIP visitors from Earth, who arrived at the airlock at about
9:30AM. Members of the crew were interviewed, and activities filmed, which
caused our schedule to slip such that the afternoon EVA departed nearly an hour
later than planned.
We did manage to test all four of the new helmets, and all of the radios. The
helmets were all fine, but the design The design of the helmet/neck
ring/backpack combination makes it quite difficult to adjust the fittings for
people of different stature.This means that our EVA preparation time is much
longer whenever there is a change to composition of EVAs. This is not a problem
with the helmets themselves, but a result of not having sufficient numbers of
helmets and working packs to dedicate one per crew member.
The radio's worked well, with the exception of one which sometimes seemed not to
transmit when the transmit button was pressed. It was also noted by the EVA
members that the ear attachments were quite uncomfortable, so we are going to
have to look for ways of improving the comfort level.
Our visitors were quite demanding in terms of requests for activities to be
repeated or for us to wait for them to be ready to film on occasions, so the EVA
did not manage to reach the target way point before it was time to return to the
hab. Two suitable locations were found and sampled enroute and the first
permafrost tests were performed, so the EVA did achieve some success both with
science and equipment testing.
The EVA team re-entered the hab at 16:34, and we continued helping our visitors
until their departure just after 18:00, and it was then once again time to start
preparing for the communications window with Earth.
Tomorrow we plan to perform an extended pedestrian EVA as a test of endurance
and range in full Mars suits, which would also provide ample opportunities for
sampling as well as serving as a feasibility test for the proposed sea ice
experiment at FMARS.