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Commander Report  
27 OCT 2015 -- Sol 4
Paul Bakken
Commander, MDRS Crew 155


Greetings Mission Support!

Only Commander Report and Journalist Report today.  Details below.

The mood of the crew is a bit subdued today due to encounters last evening with vermin of both the four-legged and two-legged kind.  Both issues have been dealt with, but these occurrences threw us off schedule and caused a night of poor sleep for some crew.  After just having entered Sim last night, we had to drop out of Sim in the morning to address these matters.

Nevertheless, Crew 155 had a very productive day.  Crew Journalist (CJ) Klos and I drove into Hanksville to attend to some critical errands.  Notably, we discovered last night that the charging cables for the EVA packs were nowhere to be found in the Hab.  I could have sworn that I saw them duct taped to the packs during the September refit mission, but I may have been mistaken.  Regardless, CJ Klos and I located them in the creatively organized storage unit in Hanksville.  We have five standard model packs now fully charged, as well as the one integrated pack model.

Executive Officer (XO) Silva-Martinez and I worked together to fix EVA helmets.  We now have three functional helmets, plus the one on the integrated model pack.  One of the helmet half-globes is a bit scratched, but is otherwise okay.  It was not worth replacing it with a fresh one.  We did replace the half-globes on two of the helmets.  We found a pack of half-globes in the Hanksville storage unit and used those.  Please note, however, that these half-globes have the wrong flange size.  The flanges are supposed to be one inch, but these have only a quarter-inch flange.  Accordingly, they do not fit the helmet bases very well.  We did the best we could to mate them to the helmet bases and screw them securely into place.  These half-globes should be replaced once the newly ordered replacements arrive.

During the afternoon, XO Silva-Martinez and Crew Engineer (ENG) Palpanis traced all of the electrical outlets in the Hab and associated them with their controlling circuit breakers.  Tomorrow, they will perform the same task for light fixtures and other electrical services.  Upon completion, each of the outlets and services will be marked with an unobtrusive sticker identifying the associated circuit breaker.

These two crew also noted a few outlets that are non-functional.  We will investigate whether this is because of a tripped GFC and, if so, try to reset the GFC.  If not, the non-functional outlets will be clearly marked as “out of service.”

For most of the day, crew took turns working on the static tank sanitization project.  We finally completed this job and the inside of the tank looks much more appealing!  The trailer tank has been completely drained to refill the static tank.  We would like to request a refill of the trailer tank sometime within the next two or three days, whenever DJ’s schedule permits.  In addition to sanitizing the static tank, we also scrubbed the rust and residue off of the anti-icing device in the tank, and removed the accumulated sludge and sand from the tank bottom.  This was a time-consuming job and we are pleased to have gotten it done.  It will make a big difference for the crews who follow us this season.

Despite the loss of the use of the stove, we are still able to bake bread.  Sort of.  Health and Safety Officer (HSO) Harrison came up with a field expedient dutch oven using a kettle, lid, metal pan, and aluminum foil.  It works quite well for baking muffin sized loaves of bread.  We enjoyed some freshly baked whole-wheat bread muffins with lunch today.

After a day of refit tasks, I decided to treat the crew to a visit to the nearby Burpee Dinosaur Quarry State Park.  The fossils and petrified wood are always enjoyable to see, and it was the perfect way to end the day.

It is my turn to cook evening meal today, so I will close my report now.  I plan to make a noodle dish that went over well with crew 149.  Hopefully, it will be well received once again.  I suspect, though, that it will all disappear even if it is wretched.  The hard physical work of the day has left the entire crew feeling famished.  The old saying is true: Hunger really is the best spice!

Once our evening meal is done and we have performed Hab preventative maintenance and correct service (PMCS), I plan to have the crew do a team building activity of some sort.  I’m thinking that tonight might be a Cards Against Humanity kind of night.

Despite the disruptions last night, we are still on course.  Crew 155 will re-enter Sim tonight, -- this time to stay, until we exit Sim near the end of our rotation.

“The stars are ours, but we’ll start with Mars.”

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Bakken    
Commander, MDRS Crew 155