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208-CommandersReport

2/8/2015
Commander's Report
Paul Bakken


1--Crew 149 EDL, 2/7/2015
2--Reception by Crew 148 and Briefings, 2/7/2015
3--Crew 148 Departure
4--Construction of Trapezium
5--Prep for other Projects
6--First Martian Meal
7--Contingencies
8--Evening Meal
9--Close of Day

1.  Crew 149 executed a successful Martian orbital capture (arrival at Hanksville) at approximately 12:00 hours on 2/7/2015.  We completed our EDL at 13:00 hours and disembarked our vehicle to the Hab.

2. Upon arrival at the Hab, we were warmly greeted by Cdr. Lucie Poulet and the rest of Crew 148.  We moved all of our personal luggage and crew materials into the Crew Rover temporarily to make the MAV immediately available for use by Crew 148.  

Because we arrived ahead of schedule, we began preliminary construction of the trapezium.  Our crew elected to conduct this construction project while still out of Sim because we needed supplementary storage space for project materials ASAP.  We will still have two sub-projects to perform as a part of Project 149-1 once we enter Sim.

At approximately 16:00 hours, we gathered in the Hab with Crew 148 to receive training on the EVA suits, individual rovers, and Hab safety systems.  We then received training on the use of HALpr, followed by individual one-on-one training with our crew role counterparts.

Training and briefings were completed by 18:00 hours.  We enjoyed our first home-cooked meal on Mars, graciously prepared by Crew 148, and then settled in to sleep.

3. Most personnel from both crews were awake by 05:00 hours on 2/8/2015.  Crew 148 finished packing the MAV, and departed about an hour later.  We enjoyed meeting these colleagues and fellow travellers, and appreciated their hospitality and good advice.  Crew 149 officially assumed command of the MDRS at 06:15 hours.

4. Crew 149 finished a hasty breakfast/daily in-brief, and then set to work for the day.  Although the moderate wind made it challenging, we were able to complete construction of the Trapezium.  I suspect that Crew 149 will go down in MDRS history as either the first crew to construct a large, field-expedient supplementary structure... or the first crew to create a "wrong side of the tracks" section on Mars.  I honestly don't know which.  I may be being overly critical of the result, since the reality doesn't quite match the design I had in my mind, but the rest of the crew is favorably impressed with the result.  We tested it as a notional rover garage and it worked great.  We will continue to store the rovers in their traditional place at the side of the Hab, however.  Once we get our Internet connectivity issues resolved, we will send pictures of the construction effort and final result.

5. We also prepped for other projects, such as our Food related studies, ozone laundering experiment, 3D printing project, and randomized emergencies simulation.  We also assembled the trommel for use with Project 149-5.

6. Our crew was so busy with construction and preparation for other projects that we nearly forgot to eat lunch.  At 13:30, I collected to full crew in the Hab and prepared a hasty lunch for them of noodles with FD chicken and assorted FD vegetables.  The crew pronounced the meal to be delicious.  Hunger certainly is the best spice!

7. Our crew dealt with a number of contingencies throughout the day.

We noted a possible leak in the main propane tank and immediately reported it to Mission Control.  Technicians from an allied Martian colony arrived within two hours and replaced the leaking tank with a temporary 200 gallon tank, which is about 80% full.  This will see us through the rest of our rotation, and will buy time for a permanent solution.

We also struggled with sluggish comms.  After verifying that ALL of our devices were disconnected from the MDRS WiFi, and connecting only one device, we still experienced a slow connection and time-outs.  We scoured the Hab and MDRS site for other potential suspects.  We discovered that the some of the ChromeBooks were in a slumber state from which they could occasionally somehow be "woken up," either by vibration or something else.  These ChromeBooks were set to automatically access MDRS WiFi and had an open browser that kept loading a very graphically intense website.  After manually disconnecting these devices from the WiFi and powering them down, the connectivity improved noticeably.  We are still unable to have more than one device on a time with any reliability, but at least we can now do that!

On a different note, we were able to acquire and stock all of the Hab items on Dr. Hunter's list, and we picked up the FD meats, cheeses and shelf stable cream from Bull Mountain market.  Once we receive specific directions on how to parcel these items out, we can make up boxes of items for each subsequent crew.

While in the GreenHab recovering some of Crew 149's regolith simulant, I noticed some electrical wiring that was bare and cut, dangling from a few places.  I installed proper electrical terminator caps on these wire to mitigate the potential hazard.  Incidentally, it is my opinion that all of the electrical wiring in the GreenHab should be removed, and replaced with new wiring if the GreenHab is going to be repaired.  The current wiring has been fire damaged and is not safe for future use.

8. As I prepare this report, I am told that we will be having hamburgers, veggie burgers, and a special frozen dessert for supper.  I have no idea how Pamela and Ken managed to make these dishes from the items available here -- Martian Magic, perhaps?

9. We will likely go to bed early, as we are tired from working outside all day.  Tomorrow, we may enter Sim, if we can first resolve our comms issues, and are able to pick up the space suit knee pads that we have been asked to test from the Hanksville postal office.  Any additional advice on improving the internet situation here at the Hab would be well received.

Thank you all for your support and for the opportunity to take part in this unique experience!

Dutifully Submitted,

Paul Bakken
Commander, MDRS Crew 149