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Archive: 17 Oct 2016

Picture of the Day – October 17th

October 17, 2016 | Permalink


Crew Photos – October 17th

October 17, 2016 | Permalink

Jon shows sample to Anushree

Jon shows sample to Anushree



Anushree and Anastasiya



Anushree at work



Back to the hab



Finishing the EVA



Hypolith study




EVA Narrative – October 17th

October 17, 2016 | Permalink


Jon Clarke


Looking for hypoliths

“Extra-vehicular activity” covers of a multitude of tasks, on simulated space missions as well as actual ones.  Some are engineering focussed – pumping water, refuelling, carry out minor repairs.  Others are scouting, like the one to Skyline Rim last week.  Still others are focused on very specific science tasks.  Today we dedicated an entire EVA to one scientific goal, documenting hypoliths in the field.

What’s a hypolith you say?  I am glad you asked! Hypoliths are colonies of photosynthetic organisms that live under translucent rocks, usually in desert or alpine settings.  These micro-environments trap moisture and offer shelter from temperature extremes and high ultra-violet levels, while still allowing enough light through for them to photosynthesise.  These types of micro-environments point to the kind of location where life might exist, or once existed, on Mars.


Looking for hypoliths at a different site

Today we carried out the first stage of study, characterising their occurrence in the field.  In field ecology, as with geology, context is everything.  This meant examining and counting every quartz pebble in a old terrace of the Fremont river within a specific area.  The recorded the orientation of each pebbles and the number we were colonised by hypoliths.  Slow, painstaking work.   Anushree, our biologist, and her support team of biologists in the broader mission, will characterise these samples in the lab in the near future.

Of course we did not just look at hypoliths.  The location had lichens growing on many different rock types, so we sampled these as well.  As geologist, I also looked at the ancient flow directions in the inverted channels in outcrops as we made our way back.


Probable Jurassic reptile burrows in side of small mesa of Morrison Formation


Probable Jurassic reptile burrows outlined in red

At one of these outcrops, one I had past many times, something caught my eye.  The light angle was just right, and there, on the side of a small mesa, were angled burrows up to 1.5 m long and 20-30 cm across.  Studies of the trace fossils of the Jurassic Morrison Formation by Stephen Hasiotis of the University of Kansas indicate that these burrows were dug by medium sized reptiles such as crocodiles or sphenodonts.  Once again, this illustrates the importance of being able to revisit sites, because some features only become evident to the observer are multiple visits.

Commander’s Log – October 17th

October 17, 2016 | Permalink

Commander log – 1st entry
by Alexandre Mangeot
Sol: 18
UTC Date: October 17th 2016

Crew status
Morale: Optimal (method of assessment: counting daily laughs), decreasing tendency
Health: No serious issue, happy to go to bed at around 9PM
Workload: House keeping tasks excluded, indoor physical exercise excluded, reports included, we work at least 9h a day.

Personal status
Health: Concerned, lost more than 2kg of mass since my arrival, usually very tired starting in the afternoon
Workload: Mission and private related tasks keep me busy/worried all day long

Food: Ok
Water: Ok, two tanks full, no refill expected before the 26th
Laboratory hardware: Missing (to be arrived this week)
Med kit: Incomplete (see Annalea/HSO requests)
Connectivity: Unreliable, hardware needs to be upgraded although we manage pretty good our data allowance

Personal notes
Until Sol 11, my management was loose. I trusted each crew member to take responsibility to move on their respective projects as efficiently as possible.
Due to unsatisfactory of progress on the projects, I have adjusted my management since Sol 12. Now we have:

  • Daily briefing to be aware of individual agenda. Special care is given to the shared resources needed on each tasks.
  • Daily debriefing to monitor what tasks have been successfully conducted and which did not. From what I have seen this week, 90% of the scheduled tasks are conducted, 9% are not due to lack of time (unrealistic agenda) and postpone to the day after, 1% are not because of fatigue.
  • Yusuke/XO is managing internal minor issues and report me the major ones.
  • Annalea/HSO (starting this week) will be conducting weekly (on Friday and Saturday) individual interviews to monitor health crew.
  • Claude-Michel/CE deals with engineering issues meaning: resolving problems, identifying causes, do what is necessary to suppress the identified causes.

I made a rooky mistake.
My mistake was to under estimate the importance of a recurrent issue and lack of awareness of the necessity for this issue to be resolved. The issue was related to several causes that prevent me to assess the real situation.
The consequences were: waste of time, communication loss, break down and very late working.

Aftermath, I apologize to the concerned crew member, I will remember that lesson to make sure that this will not happen again. I have shared this with Yusuke/XO, since he deals with internal issues.

Recipe for Smash Potatoes and Ham

October 17, 2016 | Permalink

Food Report for 17 of October 2016.


Smash potatoes and ham: (for way more people than you can handle)

4 Cup of mash potatoes
4 Cup of water.
6 tbsp of butter
2 Cup of milk
2 Tbsp of dried chopped onions
1 Tbsp of paprika
1 Can of DAK ham
Enough vegetables oil to cover the bottom of a pan.


Step 1: Melt the butter in a CAS.

Step 2: Heat a pan with the vegetables oil at medium low heat.

Step 3:  Add the dried flake potatoes in the melted butter along side the milk and the right amount of water, while stirring.

Step 4: While Stirring the soon to be mash potatoes add the dried chopped onions and the paprika in the mix along wide ¼ cup of water.

Step 5: Open the can of HAM and cut the block in small cubes of half a centimeter.

Step 6: Fry the cubed ham in the pan until the ham start changing color on every side.

Step 7: Add the fried ham in the mash potatoes. Mix well and serve hot.

Sol Summary – October 17th

October 17, 2016 | Permalink

Person filling out report: Anastasiya Stepanova

Summary Title: Hypolith studies

Mission status: Operations are nominal

Sol activity Summary: The EVA was very productive, we did quadrats of hypolith. Annalea have finished her big article for We went to the laboratory to asses the amount of work that should be done within few days to make it operational. Yusuke and Claude-Michel did the test on the dome project. The rest of the day crew spent writing the reports and working on their projects.

Anomalies in work:  Photo camera of one crew members was damaged by the strong wind. Had the engineering intervention.

Weather: Sunny, strong wind

Crew Physical Status: Good

EVA: Characterization of hypolith abundance