Crew Journalist Adeniyi Adebayo
SOL 4 was as exciting as it was adventurous. Commander Dee (Divya Shankar) is studying the Mars regolith with a focus on the chemical composition of the various soil samples. In Dee’s words, “we cannot colonize Mars without a thorough understanding of the chemical composition of its constituent soil.” Her research will shed more light on the regolith of the North Pinto Hills and other locations around the Mars Desert Research Station. Crew executive officer and journalist, Adeniyi, who is a chemical engineer by training, is assisting commander Dee’s research. Today’s EVA was devoted to collecting samples from the North Pinto Hills. Commander Dee’s intuition is impeccable: she got down to work as soon as we got to location with all her gadgets. She collected samples from three depths, measured pH values, moisture content and the shear capacitance at the different depths. Some few minutes into our EVA, we lost communication with the HAB. Commander Dee decided we continue the EVA and keep tracking time. Crew Astronomer, captain Marmot was on ground to take beautiful shots of this EVA.
Once samples were collected, we set out on our journey back to the HAB. At this point, we knew we were out of scheduled EVA time. Due to low visibility, we had to go at a very cautious speed but also keeping in mind that we were out of contact with HABCOMM. Even though the radios have a 30-mile connectivity radius, we could not get in touch with HABCOMM until about 2 miles to the HAB. Crew engineer is looking into this technical glitch and hopefully we can quickly resolve whatever issues might arise. Upon arrival, we had a long team debrief on this EVA. Two things had gone wrong: we lost connection with HABCOMM and we exceeded scheduled EVA timing by 30 minutes. We discussed ways to mitigate these problems in the future. Lunch followed, with Officer NATIK (Natalia Glazkova) treating the team to rice teriyaki and pancakes.
Crew members retired to their chambers for a short rest which was followed by intense deep work on various research projects: Captain Dee studying collected samples, Marmot (Veronika Shtengardt) working with her astrophotos and planning future trips to the observatory, officer NATIK monitoring her radish and taking down notes, Comrade Lenin (Mikhail Khmelik) coding his robot and yours truly catching up on some much-needed reading.
Enjoy the majestic views from Mars today.