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0412-JournalistsReport

Last night crew Astronomer Villarroel used the telescope, completing a two-star alignment as well as a four- star calibration procedure. During this time the following celestial bodies were observed: Capella, Sirius, Spica, Merak, Alkaid, Arcturus, and Jupiter.

Four sols have passed since The McLennan Community College Highlanders Crew 167B arrived to Mars. For sure, four sols full of challenges and amazing experiences. Every activity around here is designed with the main purpose of providing us a unique experience other than that offered by a traditional classroom environment.

After all six crewmembers took breakfast together, at about 0925 local time, Crew 167B got visited by Joe Mascaro and Neil Schwartz from The San Francisco Film Society. The film crew spent all day with us learning about our routine here on Mars. They are putting together a science-oriented documentary and they were interested in knowing about our experiences, projects, our college as well as all related with the MDRS program. After giving them a short talk about our goals as a crew visiting Mars, the film team was invited to escort us during our morning Geology EVA for some action pictures.

After the daily routine of getting suited followed by the depressurization process before going out of the Hab, the Geology EVA crew departed at about 1005 local time. The EVA group consisted of Villarroel, Beechner, and LaBarre. The geology experiments conducted today consisted of assessing many different regolith characteristics in the area around the Hab. Understanding what this material is made out of helps to determine what resources could be available. Also, crew members learned about the use of a Brunton compass to measure as strike and dip, both useful geological parameters which provide valuable information about what angle a particular geological formation has been uplifted. This EVA was greatly led by our Geologist Beechner.

While Villarroel, Beechner, and LaBarre were collecting samples and taking geological measurement outside the Hab, remaining crew, Rucker, Hartman, and Canham stayed in the Hab serving as communication support. During that time they also prepared lunch which was enjoyed by the crew members and guests. Menu included delicious pasta with meat sauce made of dehydrated beef as well as cheddar bay biscuits.

Radishes cultivated by MDRS crew 166 are still doing great. Tomatoes also are showing some improvement. Regarding green onions, no appreciable observation has been seen.

Engineers completed their daily checking routine without major anomalies.

Today’s afternoon was spent working on independent projects, daily reports, and getting interviewed by the film team.

During dinner time the crew discussed the plan for tomorrow. While some crew members showed some signs of fatigue during the day, Crew 167B members are looking forward to keep doing their best in order to successfully complete this mission. The challenges make us stronger!

Good night from Mars,

Otsmar J. Villarroel. Commander-in-training/Astronomer/Journalist Crew 167B