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Journalist Report 11 April 2016
Sol 03

Last night could not have finished better after Commander Rucker’s discovery. She accidentally found a bag full of chocolate inside one of the kitchen cabinets. After consuming (of course after carefully checked the expiration date) some tryptophan found in these rectangular pieces of candy, everybody was feeling good and happy. Tryptophan is known as a chemical found in chocolate that causes the release serotonin in the human brain, a neurotransmitter that can produce feeling of happiness.

Today has been a beautiful day around here: beautiful blue sky, great temperatures, and of course those beautiful colorful mountains that make you think you are part of a painting. Early during the morning 5 of the crew members were up prior 0700, Martian time, as requested by our Commander the night before. What happen with member number 6? Well, member number 6 was enjoying the sleeping time and decided to take few more minutes. Why not? Not a big deal.

Crew member Canham was in charge of the music this morning who offered us some American Country music. Engineer, Beechner, prepared delicious breakfast for us: some powdered eggs, dehydrated sausages, and dehydrated hashbrown potatoes. It is still fascinating how this not very good looking “food” turned into something edible and delicious.

At about 0906 local time, a group consisted by Commander Rucker, Commander-in-training Villarroel, and Engineer/Geologist Beechner left the HAB to complete a Chemistry EVA. They explored the Martian terrain looking for some presence of liquid dihydrogen monoxide, H2O, best known on the street as simply water. On Earth, this molecule, made up of three atoms, is many times associated with life. While expeditioners could not find the presence of this vital molecule in its more stable state, under normal conditions, it was evident that water was part of that beautiful scene some time ago. The existence of beautiful geological structures, presumably sculpted by the power of water, were observed along with the presence of gypsum, CaSO4*2H2O, which support our ideas. It seemed like a very dedicated sculptor worked so hard on those structures, paying attention to every single detail.

During today’s expedition more evidence of life on Mars were found. Some unidentified animals’ (we hope) footprints were observed as well as some plants, trees, flowers, and cacti. Also a nest-looking structure was observed inside a cave suggesting the presence of birds around here (???).

While EVA group was out, the remaining members: LaBarre, Hartman, and Canham stayed in the HAB to provide communication support. During that time Hartman and LaBarre worked on their independent projects. Also, all three prepared a wonderful lunch to receive EVA group after the excursion. Menu included: Beef crumbles, rice, and cheese. Also some homemade spicy salsa with chips was offered during lunch.

Radishes are still looking happy. Regarding the green onions, they showed no appreciable progress yet. On the other hand, surprisingly, we finally observed some interesting progress on the tomatoes. We noticed the presence of some beautiful tomatoes today. We don’t know what Crew 167A members were doing but know since they left, tomatoes are happy and look awesome (see today’s Sol Report).

Engineers went out to complete their daily routine, making sure everything is working as expected. Also, per instructions of mission support Engineer Hartman with the assistance of our HSO/XO crew member, Canham, has found the source causing the loss of water pressure. They found that the filter was clogged by a nasty hair ball looking material. Right after the disgusting discovery, they proceeded to clean the filter and it seems the problem has been successfully solved. Toilet is working properly again!

The rest of the afternoon was used by the students to keep working on their individual projects as well as getting prepared for the media visit tomorrow.

Dinner was prepared by our Head Chef, serving fresh made pho, mashed potatoes, and Martian apple pie.

Otsmar J. Villarroel, Commander-in-training and crew Journalist, Crew 167B