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
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.
1. For your viewing pleasure, check out Ice Age 5: Scrat in Space! at
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.
XO and HSO (aka Dr. Initials)
Drew Canham, Ph.D., J.D.
VP for Student Success
McLennan Community College