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0415-DailySummaryReportSSR

SOL 7:


Sol Summary Report (SSR) for 15APR2016

Person filling out Report: Drew Canham

Summary Title:  Houston, my helmet could use a windshield wiper.

Mission Status:  Chatty.

Sol Activity Summary:


Hola, Mission Support,

Operation Day 7 in progress.  Okay, so we’ll leave A2D2 alone (fingers crossed), and make ice cream another way.  Or, since we’re about to rotate out of sim, we’ll visit Stan’s.


But we need to talk helmets, Houston.  Our helmets are important—our lenses to the world.    Let’s work on those, too.  Let’s form a third committee to work alongside the MDRS-V2 and 2ROVE teams.  We’ll call this one Operation Lens-Cap.  (Those old school peeps who coined them “Snoopy Caps” were pretty clever.)  Here are some thoughts:

  •   First, we need windshield wipers.  One on the outside for sure.  And, something for the inside—they fog up sometimes.  By the way, we may need a windshield wiper on the hatch-back part of the Rolls-a-Roo®, if there is a hatch-back part once redesign is unveiled of course (why cross-team collaboration is a good idea).  For now, though, we don’t need one on the back of our helmets because we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads. If some unexpected Mars mutation happens, we might need one.  Maybe send a spare parts kit with a how-to-guide.  If a mutation is expected, you really should tell us.  That would cause serious trust issues, Houston.

  • We should have names like Maverick, Goose, and Ice Man on our helmets.  Remember, we like to feel special.  We suggest Dr. Honey Bunz for Commander-in-Training Otsmar.  And, before you go and call HR, Houston, this isn’t an inappropriate reference.  It’s a crew thing that relates to conserving water (see our next section on ways to save H2O).   The crew is getting out-of-hand; they want my helmet to say Mr. Wiggles.  Rascals.  Captain Mal is a bad influence.

  •   Drink holders.  You know those guys who ride their lawn-mowers with drinks affixed to both sides of their helmets with straws attached to them?  They are real men of genius.  We hope at least one of them is on this engineering team.

o   You probably thought those bendy straws I requested for my birthday was an odd request.  Not so much.

  •   A place to put a propeller/beanie on the top.  It would be fun to tease new crew-mates.

  • We suggest you call former McLennan Community College crewmate Mr. Sam Thomas.  He has real-world mission experience, having served on Crew 152A.  He makes “physically superior helmets,” even if he does say so himself.  He’s a rascal, too.  He’ll fit right in, Houston.  He knows a thing or two about a thing or two.

  • Maybe some new-age visors.  You know, something where we can change the lens from clear, to yellow, to orange, to smoke gray, or even pink-ish purple.  Sometimes you just need to see the world through rose-colored glasses.  We won’t think foolishly (idioms, etc.)—but the pink sky might be refreshing.   This gets me thinking about what will eventually become folklore on Mars.  Pinkish-purple lenses on Mars might be goofy—everything is already a pinkish-brown.  Maybe Martian pioneers will end up looking through green-colored glasses when they’re not using their heads (but if Martians really are green, I bet those suckers blend right in).  I hope you think this all through, Houston.

We were low on water earlier this week, so we decided to brainstorm ways to conserve and be more efficient in general.  Here are some ideas for future crews to consider beta-testing:

  •   Eat snacks like popcorn, dried fruit, peanuts, Nutella and honey out of your hand.  It cuts down on the need to use bowls, and therefore saves water.  It’s also a helpful method when you’re out of bread, tortillas, cookies, etc., that you typically spread stuff on.  Commander-in-Training Otsmar tried this with honey.  Yes, Houston—Ostmar is now Dr. Honey Bunz.  Note: don’t eat out of other people’s hands; that would be unsanitary.

  •   Beef Jerky is a wonderful thing.  But, we don’t have any (Christmas is coming, Houston.  Hint, hint.  Wink, wink.)  For a protein snack, and to save water, crewmembers could just suck on beef cubes, or turkey cubes.  Put it right under your lip, like chew.  Ta-dah: new tradition.  Unless you change your packaging, I don’t think we’ll be able to create a wear mark in our back-pants pockets though, which would be at least half of the fun.  I don’t know about the protein part, but vegans can play too, because we have “beefish” and “chickenish.”  We’re very progressive.

  •   This is a whole new way of thinking about conservation, Houston.  Pay attention, please.  To save water, you could send me Coke Zero.  Seriously.  I would use a lot less water.  Maybe Coca-Cola could subsidize Mars Direct.  Lots of marketing potential up here (assuming there is other life).  Also, imagine the new flavors you could try at the Coke Museum in Atlanta, Georgia if we found new inter-planetary soda drinkers.  I bet their tastes are very different.  And, the folks at Pepsi-Cola would be so ticked that they missed out.  Side note on the holiday topic we really need to discuss eventually.  Coke makes the cutest holiday commercials; you could beam some up to us.  Those polar bears frolicking, enjoying the night sky, and a Coca-Cola product of some sort—it just screams, well, buy some Cokes the next time you go shopping, I suppose.  But, they’re still cute.  And, we want a Polar Bear, Houston.  I’d settle for a Coke Zero, though.  (Seems like a good compromise, now, I bet.  Imagine shipping us a Polar Bear.)

  • Our other ideas were even zanier, if you can believe that.  Maybe we’ll share more on a rainy day.  Speaking of which, it rained last night and today.  And, the Henry Mountains received more snow—it’s quite pretty.  And, at about 4 pm Martian-Standard-Time, it hailed.  We took a selfie.  Houston, hail—really?  That wasn’t in the brochure.  Not cool.

Back to my part-time efforts (i.e. retirement plan).  Today, we began the out-of-doors (that’s just a goofy alternative to saying outdoors I think) phase of Operation Meet-the-Neighbors.  This mission has two purposes.  First, test Victoria’s Search & Rescue rover to see if it could be used to deliver fast-food around the E-Dome (first Martian food truck!).  And, second, if we ever get neighbors, we could use rovers to help each other out.  “Hey neighbor, can I borrow a cup of brown sugar?  Thanks!  I’ll rover right over.”  Or, “I seem to be running low on powdered egg dust; can you hook me up?”  Today, on EVA, we took Director Rupert a care-package (see attached).  We think she’s swell.  It has nothing to do with wanting her to change her mind and let us retrofit A2D2 (the shop vac) into an ice cream maker.  At any rate, the test was successful.


MDRS lessons:

1.   For your viewing pleasure, check out Ice Age 5: Scrat in Space! at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyfu8pv5nws.  It really explains a lot about the planets and solar system.  You might even be able to CLEP test into Astrology 2 after watching this.

2.  The Henry Mountains are wonderful.  Even prettier with fresh snow-cover.  Mt. Ellen, the highest peak for those not in the know, got 3.1 inches today.  It’s only 32 miles from here.  However, it takes an hour and a half to get there (by car).  You really don’t want to know how long it takes in a rover.  Pack a snack is all I’ll say.  Those beef cubes (aka Mars-Jerky) are great.  Houston, we’re low on gas.

3. The Mars Society is awesome, and our experience has been wonderful.  We greatly appreciate the opportunity to bring our students here to challenge their minds and conduct research in an analog environment.   I’m thankful for the time to focus on my creative writing.

4.  Commander Rucker did a wonderful job.  She is legit.  A unicorn if you will.  Call her up, SpaceX.

5.  Commander-in-Training Otsmar (yes, readers, Dr. Honey Bunz—same guy) is wonderful.  He will be a great commander next year.  True story.  I would be his wing man (co-commander).

6.  Victoria, Jaxom and JonnyB are great too.  They earned their stripes as crew members and did the college and themselves proud.  They’re going places.  Wait and see.

7. I’m glad they let me hang out with them.  I almost had a feeling several times.  But, as my friend Becky once told me, “hunger is a sensation, not a feeling Drew.”  (I told her I still feel hungry.  She didn’t think I was as funny as I did.)  Crises averted.

8.  Did you notice I wrote Astrology in number one, above?  It’s funny what the human eye and brain can do.  Astronomy would likely transfer better.  Unless you’re a social-science-y major, like me.



Anomalies:  Hail.  And, we’re having breakfast for dinner.

Weather:  Hail, Houston.   Seriously, not in the brochure.

Look ahead plan:  Stan’s diner.  So many shake flavors—so little time.

Crew Physical Status:  We’re honestly doing very well.  It’s official; we like each other.  Jaxom is making BFF chain maille bracelets.  I’m hoping we’re not being fake and pretentious, though.   Dr. Honey Bunz has already said that he will act like he doesn’t know us back on campus.  We’re on to him; he just doesn’t share his feelings well and is sad that we have to go home soon (he even tried to cancel our flights home).  We’ll have a care-frontation; maybe hug it out.  Life on Mars is tough.  He’ll be okay.  We plan to go out for empanadas and cheese sticks back on Earth.  Apparently, it’s a Venezuelan thing.  I see a bro-mance coming on…or a heart attack.

Upcoming EVA:  N/A.  We’re signing off.  Hope to see you about Crew 182 or so.  Be well, friends.  Ciao.

Drew Canham
XO and HSO (aka Dr. Initials)


Drew Canham, Ph.D., J.D.

VP for Student Success

McLennan Community College