FMARS-15 Crew Journalist Report 27-07-2023

 In Journalist Report

Crew Journalist Report -Sol 4: Advancing Research and Preparing for Future EVAs

By D. Terry Trevino

Devon Island, Arctic – As the fourth sol of our Mars simulation on Devon Island comes to a close, Crew 15 continues to make impressive strides in our scientific endeavors and preparations for upcoming Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). Our mission’s spirit remains unyielding as we explore this Martian-like landscape, uncovering the secrets of the Red Planet right here on Earth.

Today’s activities began with the crew rallying to address an air quality concern that arose overnight. Swift action was taken as system checks were performed, and airflow was optimized to mitigate the issue. Collaboration between Crew Engineer Lead Andy Greco and myself led to identifying potential solutions to improve wall humidity around one of the large panels and the floors nearby. Ensuring our health and well-being is paramount, and Health and Safety Officer Caleb Pool proactively discussed the potential short-term effects of volatile organic compounds with the crew.

Our mid-morning EVA proved to be an exhilarating expedition, as Science Mission Lead Olivia Drayson and I embarked on a journey to the “chain of lakes.” Armed with our trusty ATVs Valkyrie, Pegasus, and Centaur, we collected water samples for the nano-plastics study and searched for active cyanobacteria colonies. With Andrew Wheeler dutifully serving as our bear guard, we ventured along the creek bank, making discoveries that astounded us.

During our four-hour EVA, we unearthed a large stromatolite sample, providing invaluable insight into the geological history of this Martian-like terrain. Additionally, we stumbled upon fossil evidence, further igniting our excitement and passion for exploration.

We optimized air quality at the habitat by installing a 6-inch fan that brings fresh air into the lower hab through the emergency exit. Our crew engineers demonstrated resourcefulness by organizing potentially hazardous materials and salvaging essential equipment.

Olivia’s dedication to human performance research continued, with her conducting the IRB-approved emotion recognition study and 10-minute focused breathing exercises. The results of these studies will undoubtedly contribute to our understanding of psychological health and resilience during prolonged isolated missions.

Looking ahead to Sol 5, our crew is ready to take on new tasks with enthusiasm and determination. Ground maintenance will ensure the surroundings of the habitat remain pristine, while preparations for the plane flight scheduled on July 31 will be meticulously carried out. EVA preparations are also underway, ensuring our space suits and equipment are ready for the next exploratory adventure. Maintaining the habitat remains a priority, with crew members decluttering the engineering rooms and addressing lighting concerns.

Our research endeavors are underway, with Olivia and I diligently working on fluorescent photography of the water samples. This crucial research and various other scientific studies will be documented in our comprehensive post-mission science report.

The weather on Mars – or, instead, Devon Island – treated us to a sunny and bright day, with moderate winds and comfortable temperatures of 14°C.

Our physical health remains in top shape as we continue our mission, with each crew member contributing their personal health data for monitoring and reference.

We are immensely grateful for the support we receive, particularly in addressing pollution concerns. Our crew’s achievements thus far are a testament to our dedication and the success of our mission. Every discovery and challenge we encounter brings us closer to unlocking the mysteries of Mars, preparing humanity for future explorations beyond our pale blue dot.

Signing off from the Simulated Red Planet,

D. Terry Trevino

Crew Journalist, Crew 15