Mouse Trap Report October 5th
This Commander report was submitted by Alexandre Mangeot – Commander & Engineer
We are living in a scientific station in the middle of the desert. We can pretend as much as we want to be on Mars, do as many (crazy?) things as we want to feel that we are on Mars, we still have to deal with the so called “Martian” wildlife.
This one was not shy. It visited me (and others) several times during my sleep the past few nights. But over here the days are very busy and exhausting. We need to rest without worrying about an animal going into your sleeping bag or crawling on your arm…
So I decided to catch the Martian animal. For my first attempt (yes I failed!) I did a mistake (obviously or else I would have caught it the first time) and the alien was very lucky. I put some peanut butter on the rope that held the cheese and the bucket (see the schematic on the left of the Figure 1). By eating the peanut butter first it cut the rope, then ate the cheese without actuating the trap and left. Clever small thing! And, at this stage, I was ashamed to have a PhD in rocket propulsion.
But the animal made a mistake as well. It showed me that it could cut the rope that holds the bucket if there is peanut butter on it. So be it! My second and final attempt was successful (see the schematic on the right of the Figure 1). The animal was caught, treated with caution and care, then returned to its natural habitat.
I present to you, Jerry. Caught during the night of Sol 5 and released on the morning of Sol 6.
Lesson learnt: a mechanical design should always be as simple as possible to avoid failure. You never know who will use your device. As a friend of mine told me “complexity is easy, simple is hard”.