FLASHLINE-16 Daily Report 07-07-2024

 In Daily report

Author: Michael Andrews – Crew Logistics

The team had an eventful simulation day! The morning was spent on preparation for our first EVA walk, and the afternoon focused on that task.

After getting a quick and simple breakfast, we identified the last few actions that needed to happen before our first EVA. One mantra that our team has adopted on the mission: “everything is harder in the Arctic”. As I’ve mentioned in previous daily reports, some of our objectives have been met with unexpected issues or generally just take longer than intended. The most important things to keep in mind when tackling a day of priorities are: to not be discouraged by the setbacks and to follow through on any half-completed tasks so they don’t carry on to the next mission.

The engineering team continued their work on the ATVs with awesome results. All 5 vehicles now turn on, and only one has a transmission issue preventing it from shifting. One vehicle needed starter fluid to prime the system, one needed a new sparkplug, and one needed a simple temporary tire patch. This helped prepare us for EVAs by allowing the maximum number of participants to operate their own ATV. Some work on our water pump system, gray water retention, and backup generators remain.

I spent some time organizing some small areas of the habitat, and only the science lab is left to tidy up! But I spent most of my time getting familiar with the space suits that our team would be using for EVAs. Here we have a collection of 6 backpacks and 5 helmets, along with boots and suits of all sizes. I had difficulty with the communication headsets, as some of the electronics appear to not work anymore. Did I mention everything is harder in the Arctic? Regardless, we had all the necessary equipment and actions complete to exit the hab by lunch!

The team, eager to start their first true EVA, ate camping meals and were back in the space suit room shortly after. Crew Engineer Robbins prepared his custom pressurized suit, while Commander Cinelli and Chief Science Officer Nicholson would perform the mission in the station’s suits. Health and Safety Officer Swarmer and I would perform bear watch roles.

Swarmer and I exited the habitat early as the EVA crew members dwelled in the airlock for the required simulation 5-minute hold. It was a wild sight to see 3 of our crew members emerge from the station in their full suits. Mason quickly swapped his custom suit for a regular one after his demonstration, and the mission continued. After getting familiar with the suits’ nuances and communication techniques (sans headset), the crew agreed to next recover a stromatolite that was identified on the three lakes pre-simulation expedition. I had to learn this: fossilized stromatolites consisted of microbial colonies that help us understand life in this region prior to the Haughton crater impact and even early life on Earth. With a bit of navigation, it was located and hauled back to the habitat.

The team performed a debrief during dinner, which consisted of another quick camper meal. You can’t make a five-star meal here every night! A plan for tomorrow is already coming together where we extract data from some local dataloggers and gain familiarity with EVAs for more ambitious missions in the coming days. Tomorrow might be an opportunity for yours truly to put on a suit of his own… more to come!