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Journalist Report 06 Apr 2016
Sol 04

Crew Astronomer Clayton was again up at 0500 local time and used the telescope for one hour. This morning’s viewing conditions were favorable for the stars Sirius, Betelgeuse, Rigel, and Polaris. He also thought he observed the planet Alderaan momentarily. However, reacquisition of this target area revealed only a small moon and expanding asteroid field. A fast moving object was also observed and determined to be the International Space Station. He continues to find the early morning viewing hours to be better than the evening.

The crew turned in shortly after Comm window close after some hard EVAs yesterday. Everyone was up again prior to 0700 local time and enjoyed music from Crew Chemist/HSO Sansom followed by coffee and pancakes for breakfast.

Shortly after breakfast, crew members Sansom, Clayton, and Stanford embarked on an EVA to collect additional soil samples in the hope of discovering cyanobacteria and fungi at a later date. More gypsum was found that may be supporting cyanobacteria colonies.

They also conducted a radiological survey and found no radioactive minerals during their EVA. No water was found for bacteriological sampling purposes. However, they did find a very rare and protected species of Sclerocactus radii. They also discovered what appeared to be clay plastered over sedimentary layers. Could this be a surface for artistic expression? Perhaps this is a sign of intelligent and expressive Martian life?

Crew Engineer Beechner continued to take laser measurements in the Hab for his virtual reality research project.

Crew Chef Overman spent most of the day doing food prep. The Hab ran out bread (self-rising) flour so he had to make some from the all-purpose flour. Details behind this chemistry can be found here: http://mcclifeonmars.blogspot.com/2016/04/chemistry-on-mars.html. The bread he made today also did not contain butter and shows how that particular reactant is an important factor in the Maillard reaction.

He served a lunch of Greek Avgolemeno Chicken Soup over Egg Noodles which was quickly consumed by all crew members, especially those returning from EVA. This was followed by Almond Brownies he made using Nesquik chocolate drink.

Crew Biologist Stanford has observed a growth on a culture taken from one of the helmets which is a positive indication for staph bacteria.

Crew fatigue seems to be increasing. Sleep quality may not be that good since nearly all crew members took a nap this afternoon. Despite this, spirits remain high and the crew looks forward to upcoming research experiments.
Clark Overman, Crew Journalist, MDRS 167A