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Commander Report  
30 OCT 2015 -- Sol 7
Paul Bakken


Greetings Mission Support!

You will recive a Commander Report, Engineer Report, and Journalist Report during today‘s comms window.  We performed EVAs in the morning and afternoon to accomplish refit tasks.  ENG Palpanis and XO Silva-Martinez performed a separate EVA in the late afternoon to perform the data gathering tasks necessary for the Engineer report.  I will address the details of the refit EVAs in this report.  The details of the late afternoon EVA will appear in the Engineer report.

Once again, we woke up at 0730 hours.  After Reveille, we listened to “Waka Waka.“  (Not the version by Fozzie Bear, though.  This one was by some singer called “Shakira.“)  We also listened to “Six Underground“ by the Sneaker Pimps.  After a group breakfast we held our usual morning brief and got to work.

Our mighty hunter, HSO Harrison, succeeded in trapping yet another mouse.  I performed removal duty, and then prepared for the AM EVA.

For the entire AM EVA, HSO Harrison, CJ Klos, ENG Palpanis, and I worked on expanding the tunnel system to the GreenHab.  The work was strenuous, but went well.  We finished most of the tunnel before our oxygen began to run low and we needed to head back to the Hab for some rest and lunch.

While the EVA team was working on the tunnel, XO Silva-Martinez finished labeling (unobtrusively, of course!) the electrical outlets and light switches.  Each of these electrical services now has a small sticker that identifies the particular circuit breaker with which that service is associated.

During the same time, GHO Nguyen staffed Hab comms and prepared and incredible midday meal for a hungry crew.  He made a dish from his homeland of Vietnam called Pho.  This was my first time trying it, and I found that I liked it.  The spices helped clear up my sinuses, too!

After lunch, CJ Klos produced a panoramic photo that shows the view in a 360° arc from  the Observatory.   She performed post production work to make the photo look like one of the panoramic “stitched together” photos taken by the Mars rovers.  We will be sending this photo as an addendum to the Journalist Report.

During the same time other crew took naps or tended to personal business.  I spent some time in the Engineering area fabricating metal struts to serve as the transition framework from the GreenHab to the tunnel system.

At about 1430 hours, CJ Klos, GHO Nguyen, ENG Palpanis, and I went out on the PM EVA.  During this time, we installed the transition framework and finished it off with cattle panels.  We also began patching the remaining gaps in the tunnels.  We made good progress, but had to cut the EVA short due to high winds.  Our first Martian dust storm!

We used the indoor time to fix more small holes in the walls and tidy up a few odds and ends.  HSO Harrison prepared a special Spaghetti Bolognese for evening meal.

Another  item of note today is that the crew has begun to collect water usage data.  We have determined the amount of water used by each of the two types of toilet flush, as well as the average water usage for a “Navy shower.”  Guess what?  A legitimate Navy shower should use about half as much water as a single full toilet flush.  Who knew?  Once our data collection is complete, we will organize it and forward our findings to Mission Support.

Last night, after Hab PMCS, we changed plans and I ended up “opening” the MDRS Engineering Olympics with the first formal event: The marshmallow and toothpick architectural challenge!  Entries were judged in three categories: Tallest, Most Weight Held, and Aesthetics.  The “medals” are plastic gold knives, silver forks, and bronze spoons.  CJ Klos took the gold in Height, and HSO Harrison earned gold for Most Weight held.  To my surprise, I ended up winning gold for Aesthetics.  Apparently, “Commander Bakken’s Icosahedron of Unspeakable Delight” struck a chord with the rest of the crew.  Every crew member ended up placing in at least one event, and we enjoyed the activity.  More events will follow.

Crew 155 got a lot of work done today.  We are tired, but content.  My plan for tomorrow is to designate it as a “Stand Down for Safety” day.  We do not anticipate any EVAs, except for the daily Engineer’s EVA for data collection and systems inspection.

My crew is nagging me to join them for evening meal, so I should go do that.  Until next time!

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Bakken    
Commander, MDRS Crew 155