Flashline-16 Daily Report 03-07-2024

 In Daily report

Author: Michael Andrews – Crew Logistics

Today was our first full day at our Devon Island base. The team had the following objectives to accomplish on this first of three planned pre-sim work days:

  • Become universally familiar with operations and safety protocols for operating the habitat
  • Performing a mini expedition to take water samples and gather potable water
  • Start and complete multiple habitat restoration actions
  • Organize material in the station and record inventory

We woke up to “Vamanos a Marte” as our morning song – a favorite of mine. We all grabbed a quick breakfast and reviewed our plans for the day. Tasks for the day were chosen by criticality, and action owners were assigned by interest and skill set. I’ll be focusing my report today on the engineering tasks that we performed.

Before our expedition, the engineering team showed the rest of the crew how the generator and incinerator operate, along with how to refuel them. Health and Safety Officer Swarmer took thorough videos and pictures of these processes, so we could develop work instructions for future crews. Our generator and power system were stable in the morning and continued throughout the day – restoring functionality to the other two of our four generators will have to wait for another day.

After our expedition (which is detailed in Chief Science Officer Nicholson’s science report) and collection of 12 gallons of water for drinking, the team divided and conquered multiple actions. I’ve summarized them below:

  • Mold Test: we noted sections of mold in areas of the station upon entering yesterday. I used Mission Specialist Wood’s mold test to swap various areas of concern, and fortunately no harmful mold (aspergillus/penicillium and stachybotrys) was detected. Regardless, additional samples were collected to send to a lab when we returned home for more information.
  • ATV Activation: Mission Specialist Woods oversaw getting our ATVs back up and running. Woods started up the first ATV yesterday and got another one running today. The remaining three ATVs would not easily start, and one of them has a flat tire (that would be replaced with the tires we brought with us). It was determined that the spark plugs on one unit that was deeply investigated was fouled – requiring cleaning or replacement. The batteries for the remaining units are also being fully charged overnight.
  • Hot Water: the hot water heater ruptured over the winter and is not functioning. We will need to remove the heater and work on procuring a new one for next year’s mission.
  • Wind Turbine Install: a wind generator was purchased last year to provide a few watts of DC power to charge batteries. I assembled the turbine but needed the help of the entire crew to run power cables and lift the 50 kg unit onto the top of a 4m tower. The unit has some wiring issues that can be addressed tomorrow.

The team finished up with a wonderful supper by HSO Swamer: hab-made bread, vegetable soup, and peach cobbler. We enjoyed it and reflected on the day as it began to snow outside. All of our objectives above were accomplished, except for formal inventory of our supplies. We expect bad weather tomorrow morning, but there is an opportunity for a longer expedition than today.