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Oatmeal, the unwanted breakfast of champions…  they’ll thank me some day.

Several crewmates have been teaching/learning fluid dynamics in their spare moments.  Everyone seems to enjoy following along to the best of their abilities, curious and stimulated to investigation.  Though I’m personally not trained in physics, I’ve been really enjoying the mood that their studies produce— we are a self-generated society here on Mars, and we are starting to make our own culture.  This momentary culture of contagiously permissive inquiry is one of the great benefits of analog simulation, beside its value to the concrete research that crews pursue.  

On to the day.  During our morning briefing, we discussed our plans: an initial EVA test of the NorCal rover, further terrain scouting, calibration and attempted remote operation of the telescope, and an upcoming tin foil hat competition.  After Commander Nick Jewell led a lesson in rover operations, the crew collectively rigged a holster so that it could carry the Chi chlorophyll detector.  Commander Jewell, HSO Giammona, and Astronomer Stoltz then took the rover out on EVA, driven remotely (and expertly) by Engineer Cocchiara.  It was determined that the Chi detector will need a more specialized housing, but the EVA was otherwise successful for determining several of the rover’s performance limitations, and for taking hilarious GoPro footage.  It’s hard not to feel fond of a little robot— from the Hab’s windows, I had a great time watching my crewmates return, trailed by their faithful companion.  Meanwhile, I was testing the performance limitations of the Hab’s small oven, as XO Emmy Jewell and Commander Susan Jewell worked on their own projects.  A mariner’s lunch of beef stew and mashed potatoes was followed by sweet cornbread.

Commander Susan Jewell led initial testing of the new(er) MDRS EVA suit prototype during the afternoon on our most height-divergent crewmates, HSO Giammona and Engineer Cocchiara.  We were all very impressed with it- the new suit’s integrated design is very comfortable, especially for a certain size of person, so we hope that our feedback will be helpful towards the development of even better equipment at MDRS.

Later in the evening, Astronomer Stoltz and XO Emmy Jewell corrected the telescope’s focus and were able to achieve views of the Whirlpool and Cat’s Eye Nebulas.  Tonight Astronomer Stoltz surprised us with an exquisite view of the moon by way of revealing that the observatory is fully online!  Hopefully, he’ll soon be using the CCD camera to take some cosmic snapshots.  As the mission goes on HSO Giammona will try using his tracking app to see if we can make out some other travelers in the night sky: larger iridium satellites, some of which are operated by our own Engineer Cocchiara in Germany!

It’s been an incredible evening on Mars— and meanwhile, we’re getting into games of manipulation and lying.  No better way to build community than to marvel at the sky and cheat at cards...