Monday, January 11, 2010

Mars Mission Day One

MDRS Upper Floor

Today is day one of our mission and we are officially “in-simulation”. This means that we have to adhere to strict Mission Rules. For example we cannot go outside unless we are wearing our simulated spacesuits (unless we are using the simulated pressurized tunnels to get to the GreenHab or the Engineering Area). Exit through the EVA airlock has a five minute depressurization time before the hatch can be opened. We also have to make sure that the inner hatch is closed before depressurization and opening or closing of the outer hatch. These are some of the mission rules that the Mars Society would like us to adhere to. In turn we really want to follow them and make this as close an approximation as we can to the real thing within our terrestrial constraints. We are all excited to be in-sim and starting our mission now that we have completed our orientation and training on Hab Systems and EVA Procedures. We are now officially on Mars.

Day one on Mars turned into a great day for me and today was a Chief Engineer's perfect day. Almost nothing went wrong and the Hab is functioning well. Even our temperamental toilet is behaving itself.

0500: Woke up and checked the power status. All systems functioning with Kitty humming away, power drain less than 800W and backup batteries charging. Went back to sleep and woke up at 0700. I am getting very fond of the Hab and very protective and I am really enjoying tending to all of the various systems that are needed to keep this place functioning at optimal conditions.

0800: Breakfast of instant oatmeal did not work out well. It ended up very sticky and I tossed it away although I should have used it to insulate the water pipes under the Hab. We finished our crew briefing and planned out our days activities. All pitched in to help Diego with his Spacesuit Mobility experiment and we collected some very interesting data. It was a beautiful sunny day here with blue skies and warm temperatures with an OAT around 40F at Noon.

1400: Lunch was Raman instant noodles and tea. I had two packets which had enough Sodium to Terraform most of Mars.

1600pm: I had a variety of maintenance activities to complete: filled our internal and external water tanks. There was a four inch thick layer of ice in the Trailer Potable Tank that we had to break through with a crow bar. We then inserted a pump down into the tank and transferred water to the external tank. Green house systems are functioning nominally and the Water Hyacinths seem to be responding well and the water recycling system is also operating nominally. All GreenHab maintenance completed per procedure. All three ATV’s were checked out and all maintenance completed. The only issue we had today was that when we shut down Kitty to check the oil level we could not get it restarted because of a dead battery. We had anticipated this issue, and had jumper cables ready to jump start using Casper's battery. During this down time the backup batteries did not take over (we believe that this is an issue with the Inverter), but we had power restored to the Hab within seven minutes of shutdown. Later in the day Paul and David did a spacesuit checkout and had a very successful EVA using suits 2 and 6. All engineering checks completed by 1700 and all systems are functioning within normal parameters.

1835: Engineering report submitted to Mission Support and the Mission Director. Tomorrow I will start rewriting some of our Hab procedures and create simple and easy to follow checklists and trouble shooting guides for the crews that will follow us to MDRS.

Busy writing reports and updating procedures

1950: Have not decided on dinner. Today is a non-cooking dinner and we are individually going to chose what we have for dinner. I may have instant noodles again unless I find something interesting in our Food Study packets (what the heck is Shrimp Newberg – it is part of the rehydrated food packs). I have a feeling that tonight will be an early one but I have to stay up until Mission Support comes on-line at 8:00pm local time.

No, this was NOT taken by one of the Mars Rovers


greatballsoffire said...

Hello too you all.
We live in Belgium and are friends from Bianca.
It's amasing to read all what happens and what you are doing on your mission.
Give our best regards at Bianca please .
Greets ,
Jacinta en Rita.

Laksen Sirimanne said...

Jacinta en Rita;
Halloookes! Tof dat julllie dit allemaal lezen. Ik heb ook een blog maar die trekt nog op niets biancagoestomars.Ik zal de volgende dagen daar meer opzetten. Intussen laat ik jullie weten dat het hier gezoon heerlijk is. Ik hadeen heel klein hartje toen ik vertrokken ben,maar dit is meer dan de moeite!
Groetjes vanuit de rode planeet!