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Report for 30 March 2015

Last night, we experienced several problems during COMM.  Several students submitted reports that were not acknowledged/received.  We are uncertain if it was a problem on our end or not.  We anticipate it may have been a problem on our end.  To conserve bandwidth, computers were immediately disconnected from Wifi after submitting reports.  The Wifi may have interfered with email submissions.  We will make sure to wait an adequate amount of time before disconnecting WiFi tonight.

Also, last night we experienced some band with issues.  All crew members were instructed to disengage automatic updates on their lap top computers to conserve bandwidth.  This commander forgot to disengage Drop Box.  There was an initial drain on the bandwidth when I turned my computer on for the first time, which left us in the position of struggling to make sure we had enough bandwidth to last the night.  These problems have been corrected.  We also have come up with a strategy to make sure we have enough band with for COMM window.

Correction: Yesterday, I reported the previous crew had left us insignificant bandwidth.  This was a mistake on my part.  I misread/misunderstood what I was reading the Download Allowable Status.  Crew 151 generously left bandwidth over for us to us.

After COMM, all crew members went outside to look at the sky, out of SIM.  The cloudy skies were not conducive to star gazing.  The students were incredibly excited to use the astrobinoculars to look at Venus, Cassiopeia, the moon, and other easily recognizable objects (when in view).  Venus was low in the horizon when we went outside and disappeared entirely in the 20 minutes we were outside.

The team went back into the Hab after discussing astronomy, in preparation for later EVAs this week.  Lights out was at approximately 10:30 PM.

30 March 2015
Before the team was up, I received an email from Paul Bakken.  Some of the samples that were thrown out at the Green Hab were his samples that needed data collection.  I apologize to him profusely; these samples were thrown out under orders.  I am reporting it here so The Mars Society knows of a potential breakdown in communication.

The team awoke at 7 AM to Luis’s music pick, “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” by Flogging Molly.  As team members woke up, they enjoyed Luis’s pick of other random music, which included music from the 1990s.
At 7:30, the team enjoyed a 30 minute team yoga session.  The commander can self-report feeling refreshed and energized after the yoga session.  I am looking forward to our morning yoga sessions for several reasons.  I think the yoga sessions will help to reinforce our team atmosphere (which I am convinced is the key to having a successful and happy Mars experience, both in sim and in real life).

The team ate a simple breakfast together, of bread, cereal, oatmeal, and coffee.

In this commander’s experience, putting on space suits for the first time can take a significant amount of time.  We chose to spend our morning practicing gearing up.  I think this practice run will make our first EVA run much smoother and will give the first team out more time gathering samples for their research projects.

Crew Engineer Sam Thomas performed his engineering checks this morning.  Prior to Mars, all crew members earned their Technician Ham Radio License (see below).  In the past, the walkie talkie radios did not work once people got out of the line of sight of the Hab.  Because all members are licensed, all members can use their ham radios and communicate with the Hab.  Members worked with their ham radios.  Sam and I communicated via ham radio as Sam completed his engineering reports.   I think the ham radios will work very well during EVAs.

Karen KG5GAK

The remainder of the morning was spent working on projects (see the journalist report for more detail on specific projects).

The crew enjoyed sandwiches and left over spaghetti for lunch.  After lunch, the crew members continued to work on their projects.  I tried my hand at homemade banana pudding.  The flavor was not quite right, but it was passable.

During the afternoon, the crew worked on their research projects some more.  Lori tested soil samples.  Karen worked on her repeater.  Sam worked on his modified motorcycle helmet (which we will only wear while walking in the suits).  Luis worked on plotting his coordinates.  Drew worked on his journalist report and pictures.  I floated around and helped everyone as needed.

This afternoon, around 6:00 PM, there were gusts of wind.  These gusts blew the hab door open.  We looked out the window and noticed the coverings on the ATVs had probably blown off.  Karen and I suited up, decompressed, secured the door, and went outside to re-cover the ATVs.  We placed rocks on top of the air mattress coverings to secure them.  We returned inside the hab without incident.

The crew will enjoy dinner of leftover marinara sauce and rice.

After COMM window, the crew will spend time meditating together.  Drew is planning to start using the large telescope, as per his astronomy request submitted before we arrived at MDRS.  The rest of the crew will have down time to work on projects or play board games.  We will have quiet time at 10:30 and wake up tomorrow for morning yoga at 7:00 AM.

We are going to request two EVAs tomorrow.  Lori Tergerson and Sam Thomas will be on the first EVA.  Lori needs to collect soil samples for her terraforming research project.  Sam needs to gather baseline data using the helmet provided at the hab to compare to the helmet he is retrofitting with a motorcycle helmet for safety.
Luis and Drew will be requesting the second EVA.  Luis needs to collect rock samples for his project.  Drew will be taking pictures.

Luis and Lori need to collect samples from different places (hence two EVA requests, instead of one).
We received a request from Jean Hunter regarding food inventory.  That will be sent during COMM window tonight.
We have a question: Sam would like for us to walk around the Hab in his retrofitted helmet, to compare his helmet to the helmets that are already available at the Hab.  He does not know if he will be ready for us to do that task tomorrow, or if it will need to be on Wednesday.  Do we need to submit an EVA request for a walking-only EVA?  Or are EVA requests only for ATV use?

Liz Mitchell