Sunday, January 10, 2010

First full day at the MDRS: Orientation Day

5:04am: woke up with a start and almost knocked my head on the bunk ceiling. The reason I woke up was that the background hum of the Hab had changed and a pump or something had started. I am a pilot and pilots are like that. I can sense if an aircraft is climbing or descending just by the change of the sound in engine RPMs. I woke up worried, as something did not seem right. My mind went through an automatic checklist: internal tank water pump had come ON - no, it could not have been that as it is manual. External water tank pump - no to that as well, alongside a short list of other posible things. So I put my "red LED" head lamp and checked the upstairs of the Hab, then went down stairs and checked everything. One Meter showed a mere 750W being used. Could not find anything out of the ordinary but with generator/battery power settings at "nominal" my worry went away. I went back to my "stateroom" and went back to sleep. The sleeping bag was very comfortable. The Hab has several sounds that it makes. It’s not like your regular home which is very is quiet. There is machinery at work, and while there is a quiet background hum, every now and then pumps open and close, heat turns ON and OFF, Toilet pumps water etc.

7:15am: woke up and felt much rested. Once again checked power settings and internal water levels. Everything is nominal. "Kitty", the new generator is working well. Outside Air Temperature (OAT) at 8.5F. Sun is just peeking over the hills with a great view of the terrain out of the East porthole with white frost intermingled with the red dirt.

8:30am: Breakfast consisted of 2 cups of black tea, pancakes and a fruit puree (thanks to Paul and Bianca). I tried making dehydrated egg white scrambled eggs. Log book entry states that it was not very successful. It congealed into chunks with a consistency of rubber and even with Tabasco sauce it tasted really bad. I was the only one who attempted to take a few bites of it. It got dumped very quickly. Now the big problem is to how scrape the stuff off the pan. This stuff is adhered to the sides of the pan stronger than super glue. All else fails, I can do experiments on reproducing it as the next biggest breakthrough in super glue.

Lots to do today: more engineering walk through and measurements, an oil check on Kitty is need around Noon. Must replenish both the internal and external potable tanks also by Noon when it gets a little warmer and the ice crust is weaker on the trailer potable water tank. Need to check out all three ATVs (Spirit, Opportunity and Odyssey). Also, a quick check out of V'jer our Ford Explorer that is kept on site for emergencies. V'jer can also be consider a "pressurized rover" for extended EVAs, but we have no immediate plans to do this on this rotation. Besides all of these engineering tasks, we want to enjoy our last day not in-sim and we want to walk and explore the nearby fossil fields, scout out locations for Diego's spacesuit experiment, do a couple of training sessions on ATV use, practice spacesuit gowning, and make a trip to town for a few last minute supplies.

Tomorrow when we wake up we will be in full scale simulation. We plan to adhere to the rules of simulation and use the full value of this experience to complete our scientific and engineering research. I am thrilled to be here. The Hab is an engineers dream come true and I am so excited about being the Chief Engineer for the Mars Desert Research Station for the next two weeks.

Taken at 8:30am

1 comment:

Trish said...

You mean to tell me that one of the ATVs in not named 'Colbert'?! ;-)

Good luck blasting off, Laksen!