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Commander Report  
7 NOV 2015 -- Sol 15
Paul Bakken


Greetings Mission Support!

Crew 155 will send an XO Daily Summary, Engineer report, and Journalist Report in addition to this Commander Report.

Last night, we had an unanticipated surprise after close of comms.  The stuck needle on the diesel tank finally came fully unstuck -- and revealed a “zero” setting.  We ran completely out of diesel and lost power at about 1930 hours.  

Somehow, this seemed like an entirely appropriate and fitting final event for our rotation.  The blasé attitude of my crew toward this challenge made me proud.  “Total loss of power?  Meh… use a sterilized dipper to pull water from the static tank into containers for drinking and manual toilet flushes, crank up the propane heater, and go to bed!”

We had another early start to our day today at 0730 hours.  Crew had an informal breakfast and then began preparations to receive Crew 156.

The first order of business was to travel into town and get the diesel situation squared away.  Check!  Then transfer the last items that needed to go into the storage unit.  Check!  The Hab looks so clean and tidy now.

After returning to the MDRS, we painted the new 7th stateroom wall, performed a deep clean of the Hab, and planned the briefings for turnover to Crew 156.  We also performed a number of last minute cosmetic fixes to Hab walls, furniture, and fixtures.

XO Silva-Martinez and I traveled into town again after mid day meal to rendezvous with Crew 156 at Bull Mountain Market.  We showed them the MDRS food storage area and helped them restock their food supply from those items.  (They will still need to acquire a number of items from elsewhere.)  We showed their Commander plus two other crew the location of the storage unit, how to open it, and how to lock it up.  Finally, we led the convoy of vehicles out to the MDRS.

After arriving at the MDRS, Crew 155 gave the personnel of Crew 156 extensive briefings on safety issues; emergency contact information, MDRS campus structures and layout; water, electrical, heating, and other key Hab systems; food storage and cooking; sanitation and cleaning advice; ATV operation; EVA suit operation and maintenance; EVA procedures; and mission support report requirements.  We also took time to answer all of their follow up questions and make certain that they were comfortable taking over responsibility for the MDRS site.

The 1st Engineers have spent the last few hours packing luggage, attending to final administrative details, and performing one last cleaning of the Hab.  On Mars, the cleaning never stops!

Crew 156 elected to stay overnight in town, but will travel out to the MDRS no later than 0800 hours tomorrow to execute a crew hand over and take possession of the site.

This will be my last Commander Report for this crew rotation.  Tomorrow morning, the 1st Engineers will fire up the MAV and begin our journey back to “Earth.”  It has been a pleasure reporting on the hard work and achievements of my crew and, even though we will part company tomorrow, I look forward to keeping in touch with each of them and following what they do next.  This is a stellar collection of talent, and I expect great things from them.

Stay tuned!

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Bakken    
Commander, MDRS Crew 155