FMARS-15 Crew Journalist Report 25-07-2023

 In Journalist Report

Crew Journalist Report – Sol 2: A Day of Mars Planetary Science

By D. Terry Trevino

Devon Island, Arctic – As the sun gently rose over the barren landscape of Devon Island, Crew 15 immersed themselves in a day of rigorous Martian planetary science. Today’s activities were meticulously planned, with the crew working diligently to prepare for their upcoming Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) and scientific exploration.

Under the guidance of our experienced Commanding Officer, Andrew Wheeler, the crew readied the space suits and backpacks for the upcoming EVAs. The analog space suits, a testament to human ingenuity and survival in harsh environments, were carefully inspected, and their donning and doffing techniques were honed to perfection.

However, not everything went as smoothly as planned. Genny, the generator that had previously faced fuel line issues, experienced yet another hiccup during evening meal prep. Thankfully, our dependable Yanmar generator, Bambi, jumped into action, ensuring our power requirements were met. There’s always a backup plan in this unforgiving environment, and Rachel, the 5000-watt gas-powered generator, stood ready for its moment to shine.

In the pursuit of science, Chief Science Officer Olivia Drayson and I found ourselves working with a vacuum affectionately named Henry the Hoover. Our mission was to clean up spills caused by a mischievous bear that had rummaged around our storage cabinet. The fuel absorbent material we used was disintegrating, a reminder of the unpredictable Arctic conditions. Nonetheless, our commitment to scientific exploration remains undeterred, and we will persevere to ensure a clean and pristine habitat.

Amidst our busy schedule, we never forget the importance of mental well-being. Our crew gathered twice for meditation sessions, carefully monitoring our heart rate variability with the assistance of our trusty Garmin watches.

While the science team prepared for EVAs, the crew engineers, led by Caleb Pool and assisted by Andy Greco, were hard at work in the engineering rooms and repairing the spacesuits. These suits, our lifeline during EVAs, must be in top condition to withstand the harsh Martian-like conditions of the Haughton Crater.

As the day progressed, our vigilant attention to the Hab’s CO2 levels remained a top priority. We monitored the ppm closely, noting a significant increase during the night. The crew remained resilient, with no complaints of headaches, even in the face of rising CO2 levels. While we strive for accuracy in our scientific endeavors, it’s important to recognize personal factors that may influence our well-being, such as the hab’s temperature and individual health considerations.

Our EVAs began, with Andrew and Andy venturing out for approximately 2 ½ hours, while Caleb dutifully stood guard against potential bear encounters. The second EVA involved Olivia and me, with Andy ensuring our safety as bear guard. As we ventured into the Arctic landscape, the beauty of Devon Island provided a backdrop akin to the desolate and mysterious Martian terrain.

Looking ahead, we acknowledge the challenges that lie before us. Another fuel line leak in Genny requires attention, and preparations for additional EVAs continue. We must also address the mysterious CO2 anomaly to ensure the safety and well-being of the crew.

Despite the cool winds that swept across the island today, our spirits remain warm, fueled by the passion for exploration and discovery. Each day brings us closer to unraveling the secrets of Mars, and we stand united as Crew 15 in this ambitious quest.

Signing off from the red planet of the Arctic,

D. Terry Trevino

Crew Journalist, Crew 15