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Commander Report  
29 OCT 2015 -- Sol 6
Paul Bakken


Greetings Mission Support!

Crew 155 will file a Commander Report, Engineer Report, and Journalist Report today.  We performed EVAs in the morning and afternoon to accomplish refit tasks.  I will address the details the EVAs in this Commander Report.

We woke up at 0730 hours.  After the traditional Reveille, we listened to “The Distance“ by Cake and “Good Intent“ by Kimbra.  The crew reported being much better rested this morning than the day previous.  After a group breakfast we held our morning brief and got to work.

The first order of the day was to clear the rodent traps.  Last night, we switched the bait from peanut butter to plain peanuts.  Somehow that made a difference.  The Hab Rodent Overlords have been reduced by one mouse and one rat.  HSO Harrison was happy to top off the bait and reset the traps, but the job of removing the remains fell to me.  I took photos of what was trapped (with a ruler for scale) to help with identifying the particular species.  Perhaps getting a species I.D. will help us formulate even more effective control strategies.

But the day wasn’t just about rodents!  Over the course of the day, the 1st Engineers accomplished the following tasks:

1. Removed the remainder of the questionable soil from near the back porch and deposited it near the “Dangerous” sign in the southern service area.

2. Performed a deep cleaning of the loft area and removed extraneous exposed screws.

3. Installed an additional support bracket for the desk in the southernmost stateroom.  The far edge was a bit wobbly before, but is now stabilized.

4. Some accidental damage to the airlock SCADA system occurred.  It has been fixed, but the exterior door sensor is temporarily bypassed.

5. The office supplies bins have been de-cluttered, sorted, and organized.

6. Fixed shelf unit in the Commander’s (northernmost) stateroom.  Some of the support pins for the shelves were missing.  New ones installed.

7. Installed a new shower head in the shower.  The new unit is a hand-held shower head on a 5’ hose.  This has made it a lot easier to shower which, consequently, has helped us reduce the amount of water used to take a shower.

8. Fashioned a flagpole for our tricolor Martian flag.  The flag is now proudly displayed outside the Hab near the front airlock.

9. Hauled in clean fill to replace the soil removed from the back porch area.  The area is now level and ready for work on the new porch.  Once we receive shipment of the concrete and concrete forms, we will be ready to begin construction of the new Tunnel Access porch.

10. While I was raking the fill material to level it, the head of the rake fell off.  Accordingly, the rake cycled into the Hab with us and has now been fixed.  This kludge fix will probably last the rest of the research season, but we may want to put “new rake” on the wish list for the MDRS.

11. While moving fill material to the back porch area, one of the wheels on the wheelbarrow fell off, too.  Examination of the axel revealed that a cotter pin that had been holding the wheel in place worked loose and dropped somewhere.  We were not able to locate the cotter pin, so I used baling wire, instead.  (This is really turning into a stereotypical “chewing gum and baling wire” kind of rotation.)  This temporary fix works great but, again, this is the type of fix that may only last until the end of the season.  We should try to procure a new cotter pin for the wheelbarrow.

12. While out on our EVAs, CJ Klos took some pictures that show the entire MDRS campus.  We will send these along to Mission Support tonight as a supplement to the Journalist Report.

Midday meal was leftovers.  As I write this report, ENG Palpanis is making some sort of beef, tomato, and noodle dish for evening meal.  It smells fantastic.

We did not get around to testing the ozone laundry machine today, but perhaps tomorrow.  I have also organized the ingredients for the Generic Lipo-enhanced Organic Paste (GLOP) palatability trial.  My hope is to try out a few different versions either tomorrow or the next day.

After Hab PMCS is completed, I plan to issue a crew engineering challenge: Who can build the sturdiest structure out of toothpicks and marshmallows?  With this group, I am certain that the competition will be fierce.

That is all for now.  Crew 155 has a few supply requests, but I will send those to Mission Support under separate cover.

“Per ardua, ad Marte!”

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Bakken    
Commander, MDRS Crew 155