As science research tasks are drawing to a close, we have shifted into the second phase of our mission centered on completing engineering tasks passed on to us from Mission Control. The Habitat is undergoing upgrades to better connect to the GreenHab and Observatory with plans to build a garage for our ATV’s so that maintenance can be performed in a controlled environment with no need to don a spacesuit.
To aid in planning, a pre-construction EVA was performed this morning both to stage the newly arrived panels near the tunnel construction area and to install one of the panels to ensure that all tools and techniques are accounted for before the rest of construction proceeds. The Engineering Team left the airlock shortly before 10 and returned around 1220. They reported back that all panels are staged and ready for installation with some leftover for future construction activities. We anticipate that installation of the panels can be accomplished in one or two EVA’s.
A journalist crew with Paris Match from Earth arrived shortly before the EVA started, and after introductions were made they set about documenting our daily activities on Mars. A photo-shoot was performed mid-EVA to send back to Earth as well. While as a crew we take pride in the images that we send back to share with the world, it was nice to have a professional photographer document our stay. A crew interview was conducted shortly after lunch before the journalists departed around 1500.
Much of the crew got some needed rest this afternoon and others performed light scientific tasks such as cataloging and packaging samples ahead of shipment back to Earth. I’m submitting two EVA plans for tomorrow with two separate teams of 3 with the plan of completing tunnel construction tomorrow. While there is desire among the crew to complete the tunnel tomorrow, we are not pressed for time and will not rush the process.