Sol Summary – August 12th
Sol 24 (or 104)
Big and successful sol today, rounding off our EVA campaign. We were all up early to greet the day, though to the dawn. Dawn does not happen until the 15th. It was breezy, with low cloud, but no rain. Good EVA weather.
The first EVA team – Paul and Yusuke with Anastasiya riding shot gun – were out the hatch by 8 am. They revisited Paul’s mega polygon site to collect more data and samples. They were home by 12, by which time the second team was lunched and ready to go. Soon after 1 pm Anushree and I, with Alex as shotgun, departed for a long drive down to the centre of the crater in search of an additional site for gypsum sampling. Working off the geology map we located an outcrop of the gyosum-bearing Bay Fiord Formation. This turned out to be a mega breccia outcrop, presumably formed by the impact that formed Haughton crater. A fascinating outcrop, well worth the drive. It was capped by the presence of a seam of ice in a fracture at the base of the outcrop. We were also rewarded by the sun breaking though and some magnificent sunlit views of the centre of the crater.
On the way back was ruminating on our time here. Felt rather sad that this was out last scheduled EVA. We are just getting into our stride, building confidence in the terrain, our skills, and our equipment to carry out longer and longer EVAs into the crater and its surrounds. Of course, if we had been here for two months we would probably feel the same. If only we could stay longer. No doubt future astronauts on Mars will feel the same when it is their time to leave. Our experience does highlight the value of longer (one to one and a half Earth years) as opposed to shorter (30-60 days) stays on Mars.
Tonight we feel weary but very pleased with ourselves. We will watch “The Expanse” tonight, and tomorrow we can sleep in on a day off. Outside it can rain if it wants to, we won’t care. So long as it is fine for our flights out next week.