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HSO mid-Mission Report



HSO/Philippe A. Souvestre


This report includes my observations, reviews, and analyses performed in my capacity of Health and Safety Officer of Crew 158 currently on a scientific and expedition operation evaluation mission at MDRS, hence currently in residence at the HAB.   These have been performed with respect to maintaining and if possible enhancing the crew’s health, safety, and performance statuses as well as reviewing and assessing if needed all HAB environmental and operational equipment and technologies expected to be used by any personnel residing in the HAB during the time of their mission.


To date, with respect to the crew health and well-being status:


  1. No traumatic events, injuries, or accidents to report
  2. No infection, illness, disease ,or significant food related ailment to report, except

1.       Only one mild food related incident to report regarding the use of dehydrated gravy which bothered overnight all the crew who ate it the day before that night

2.       One crew member reported about several daily but occasional nose bleeds and spells of fatigue.  After consultation, these transient episodic problems appear to essentially relate to dry, cool, and thin air [altitude]

  1. No other particular adverse or negative events to report


To date, with respect to the crew performance status:


  1. All exercise and duties were performed without any glitches, error, or clumsiness attributable to health issue or sleep alteration.
  2. All crew members are feeling good and happy
  3. Crew was compliant in keeping well hydrated before, during, and after all sustained and heavy duties and EVA operations.
  4. My concerns about the personnel equipment provided to perform EVA are as follows:

1.       The space suit framed equipment is left stored on open shelves right beside the airlock door, which is the main entrance to the HAB through which lots of fine dust much visible by sunny weather, enters the HAB each time the airlock is operated.  This dust will land over everything in the EVA and Lab areas, including within the helmets’ pipes, which will blow that dust in the helmets and in the crew’s respiratory system when ventilation is operated. There are no filters in these helmet’s pipes, and the source air space is wide opened to the environmental atmosphere.

2.       I did not identify any usable camel backs e.g. removable water supply containers wearable on the space suit frame, always helpful even now in winter, because working with EVA equipment produces rapid excess of body heat which causes rapid dehydration.

3.       By the same token, such rapid excess of body heat appears to be poorly mitigated with helmet air ventilation system at the cost of

4.       rapid intense sweat of the chest/upper back, neck and head, hence

5.       fogging all over the helmet’s hood creating subsequent

6.       severe loss of vision which is a definite hazard whether when walking in rugged/sloppy friable terrain, driving ATV even on the road,  and when needing outside environmental visual reference to perform anything that has to be performed. One helmet in particular should be either seriously refit or discarded.as it is a safety risk in EVA operations even by cold weather. 

7.       Once personnel is fit standing or sitting in the space suit frame with helmet secured on, one’s head is pushed forward and neck bent downward forced by the weight and positioning of the rear of the helmet against the occiput. There is very restricted capability to pull the helmet backward so that the helmet contention system would allow normal head’s vertical posture instead of forcing head to be bent forward over 30 degrees, which is significantly incapacitating operators from the start right after the donning,  This poses a significant safety issue that may compound adversely with the above-mentioned observations.


My final report at the end of this expedition will contain a few recommendations regarding these issues. 

I would be very pleased to contribute to enhancing and updating the current fleet of MDRS space suits and related equipment. 


To date, with respect to medical area and equipment status:


  1. Medical pharmacy and general medical equipment located in the white cupboard in the upstairs living area appears to be well supplied at first glance.
  2. However, the cabinet is filthy and all items are randomly placed without order.
  3. As expected, casual emergency and primary care needs are generally met.
    1. However, I did not see the emergency remedies and medications necessary in the case of catastrophic life threatening occurrences such as anti-anaphylactic Epipen, emergency pain killer such as Demerol or morphine, and anti-shock item such as adrenalin in the HAB pharmacy, allergic respiratory distress such as Salbutamol inhaler, anti-hemostatic bandades, orthopedic attelles and tourniquets.  Such items should be stored apart in a labelled locked box to be used by trained physicians only. 
    2. All the various items relevant with medical emergency, trauma and orthopedic contention, environmental protection, supplements,  and comfort remedies etc…  should be specifically pooled and organized in determined and identified areas within this cabinet for the sake of time and efficiency. 
  4. Primary care disinfectant and other necessary solutions such as alcohol should be replenished, replaced, or brought in the fold.
  5. The two itemized lists held behind the right door need to be updated
    1. First Aid lists not updated since November 2014,
    2. The other general cabinet list’s last revision is not dated, and expiration date/extension range are not adequately noted.  Each item’s purchase date should be known and noted to prevent incident/accident.


To date, I did not need to use anything stored in the medical cabinet.


Considering MDRS location with respect to appropriate medical care and logistics in the case of accident


To date, with respect to food supply:


  1. A careful check of the food supply stored in the pantry confirmed a good food status to start this mission.
  2. There was only a very mild food related ailment to report regarding the use of:
    1. dehydrated powdered gravy which mildly bothered overnight all the crew who ate it the day before that night. No further consequence was reported the day after. 



To date, with respect to the HAB environmental impact on personnel health and safety:


The HAB includes a living area upstairs and downstairs is the toilets/bathroom complex along with several working and operational areas designated as front airlock/main entrance reserved to personnel transit in and out of the HAB, and EVA, Lab, Engineering areas and Engineering airlock designed to transfer safely from HAB to outside and reversely large and heavy equipment and technologies.


A number of mild issues have been observed and reported by crew as follows:

  1. Dust is everywhere and does commonly affect respiratory function and eyes in most of the crew, essentially due to circulation of dust cyclically blown around and lifted off from floor and walls by a strong warming air blowing from pipes not equipped with filters.
  2. Blown circulating unfiltered air is also everywhere.
  3. Chemical and hazardous substances and equipment necessary to experiments and research appear to be properly and safely stored in the Lab area in a number of drawers, cabinets, and cupboards attached to the wall.
  4. Similar safe and clean pattern is observed in the Engineering area
  5. Lighting is technically reduced to a few ceiling sets of neon -type of lighting all over HAB. Such lighting is now known as a key environmental factor of chronic cognitive fatigue
  6. Strong electro-magnetic fields are easily identified in the HAB everywhere resulting from numerous electrical wirings and circuitries of various types found to be all over walls and ceilings with a large number of outlets necessary to operate scientific research, housekeeping tasks, and technical operative needs.
  7. Fire countermeasure equipment is adequately placed at key positions, updated, and ready for immediate use. Such EMF loads are permanent in the HAB. They are now well known for altering neuro-immune, neurophysiogical and general cellular functioning capabilities. Prolonged exposure to such EMF is now shown to result in general intractable chronic fatigue and sleeplessness leading to various ways to become increasingly physically, cognitively and intellectually incapacitated.
  8. Toilet and bathroom are located side by side in the back end of the Engineering area, with no insulation, opened to cold air drafts, and not specifically heated.  Refer also to Daily Summary Reports regarding toilet insufficient drainage due to voluntary insufficient water pressure and water shortage experience.
  9. Sleeping quarters, located side by side near the kitchen and living area, are very effectively kept warm with using blown air circulation. 
  10. HAB general temperature level and regulation are uneven in the various HAB areas. It is easy to get overcooled or over heated at the same time in different areas. As mentioned above, toilets and bathroom are constantly very cold areas. This poses a potential cause of health and performance issue.
  11. HAB general hygrometry is very low, due to over 4000’ altitude and the surrounding high plateau desert.