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Commander Report

2/13/2015

Paul Bakken

 

1 – Cross crew support

2 – Comms

3 – Journalist Visit

4 – Biologist and Scouting EVA

5 – Grow Tent Progress

6 – EVA Suit Sun Shade Prototype

7 – Food, Food, Food

8 – Stand-down Day Tomorrow

 

Greetings Mission Support!

                                     

Crew 149 is getting used to life on Mars, but some adjustments come slowly. For example, during yesterday’s engineering EVA, I found myself needing to sneeze suddenly. My Earth reflexes kicked in and I reached to pinch my nose to stop the sneeze. That doesn’t work very well when one is wearing an EVA helmet. Instead, I managed to slap myself and then sneeze all over the inside of my helmet, anyway. Given the greatly reduced vision, I detached myself from the other two crew and just waited on the stairs near the main airlock for them to finish the engineering tasks. Lesson learned: Don’t sneeze inside your helmet on Mars.

 

Here is a brief recap of our day:

 

1 – We continue to support the two projects still in the Hab that were initiated by previous crews.

 

2 – We continue to work on improving comms. Troubleshooting with mission support engineering will continue this evening.

 

3 – Crew 149 received a journalist visitor today from the Martian branch office of ABC Nightline. She was quite keen to observe our crew on EVA and learn about everyday life in the Hab.

 

4 – Crew members Bakken, Gerardi, Naganuma, Schreurs, and Miscodan executed a successful EVA (EVA 149-5) to survey the areas to the SE of the Hab, within 1 km, for biological specimens. Due to equipment issues, crew members Schreurs and Miscodan were detached from the EVA about halfway through to return to the Hab. The three remaining crew scouted further to the SE, and documented a passable route to scale the large hill that is located to the SE of the Hab, in a direct line between the Hab and Hanksville. The crew also gathered more test data on the NDX kneepads during this EVA.

 

5 – Crew members Sullivan and Nicoletatos, in consultation with the mission support engineering team, finalized a plan to mount the exhaust fan for the new grow tent. This afternoon, they secured the fan to the metal wall stud and installed the ducting. The finished product looks great!

 

6 – A number of crew have experienced discomfort during AM EVAs due to the bright sun and unusually warm temperatures. Trying to be responsive to my crew’s needs, I created a prototype EVA helmet sun shade that ended up looking a lot like an oversized baseball cap. Crew 149 has requested permission from mission support to test this prototype on a future EVAs

 

7 – We continued our experiments with emergency/transitional foodstuffs. We also sampled some varieties of insect proteins. The cricket protein energy bars were generally well received. The boiled zebra tarantulas were most emphatically not. Who brought spiders to Mars, anyway? (I blame Ziggy Stardust.) The other notable food event is the unrelenting persistence with which my crew has been pestering me for more of the braided bread that I made two days ago. Today, I relented, and made a loaf to go with the delicious Minestrone soup created by crew member Nicoletatos.

 

8 – Crew 149 is proving to be resilient, resourceful, and a bit rambunctious. I have noticed, however, some signs of fatigue. Accordingly, I am declaring tomorrow to be a “stand-down” day. Aside from the daily engineering EVA, we will not conduct EVAs or major projects. I have directed crew to spend the day catching up on small tasks and getting some R&R.

                                                        

 

Crew member Miscodan has made pizzas for supper tonight. I came to Mars worried that I might lose a lot of weight. I don’t think that is going to happen!

 

Respectfully submitted,


Paul Bakken

Commander, MDRS Crew 149