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Archive: 24 Nov 2016

Crew Photos – November 24th

November 24, 2016 | Permalink



Jon Clarke

Jon Clarke




Annalea drawing a quadrant.

Annalea drawing a quadrant.


Annalea enjoys the view.

Annalea enjoys the view.


Crew disappearing into the distance.

Crew disappearing into the distance.


More work on the new ATV.

More work on the new ATV.

EVA Report – November 24th

November 24, 2016 | Permalink

EVA Narrative
Report by Jon Clarke

My North American friends tell me that today is Thanksgiving Day.  I, for one, have a lot to be thankful for.  Just being here for is one, having the privilege of living and working here in this amazing facility set in such an extraordinary landscape is another, and sharing the experience with such a great crew is a third.  I am also very thankful to the Mars Society and the director of MDRS Shannon Rupert for the opportunity.


Today Yusuke, Aexandre, and I went on a scouting EVA along a former access track that is now impassable.  It was certainly a good day to be alive.  We were able to walk through a part of the MDRS area that I had not been to before.  We scouted for lichens and hypoliths and explored the geology.  The sandstones and siltstones of the lower part of the Morrison formation were here redoing back along a low lift line, leaving behind some extraordinary pinnacles and pedestals.  We hunted unsuccessfully for lichens, normally a common feature of north-facing rocky outcrops here, and pondered why this should be the case.  We searched quartz pebbles in gravels for hypoliths, and found some.


Whether or not they come from cultures that celebrate a formal Thanksgiving day, I am sure that future Martian explorers also will be thankful for the opportunity to be there, to explore the amazing martian landscape, and to further expand the horizons of human experience.

Thanksgiving Message – November 24th

November 24, 2016 | Permalink


Phrase of the Day – November 24th

November 24, 2016 | Permalink


Sol Journal – November 24th

November 24, 2016 | Permalink

Sol Summary Report (SSR):

Sol# 62

Person filling out report: Annalea Beattie

Summary Title: Happy Thanksgiving!

Mission Status: Better than on track.

Sol Activity Summary:

Thanksgiving. There was an EVA today with Yusuke, Jon and Alex lichen sampling for the first time with no results. At home, we did the floors. Yusuke and Claude-Michel equalised EC levels and changed filters on plants, (numbers 24 and 7 need fifteen drops of pH) then they moved to cooking, added more flour to the gnocchi and recut them, which took hours. Alex is close to finishing one major modification on the space suit. Anu processed hypoliths samples in the lab this afternoon. Jon and I met at three to discuss the data and the themes for the science operations EVA project. A fume hood arrived. Yoga, yes. I did reports, began, a bit of reading and worked through my field notes.

And now we have our quietest eighth crew member for dinner.

Claude-Michel is sharpening the knives.


Reports Submitted to CapCom:

  1. Sol Summary- Annalea
  2. Picture EVA narrative- Jon
  3. EVA narrative in photos
  4. Phase of the Day –
  5. Pictures – Anastasiya
  6. Photo of the Day – yes


MDRS lessons: Eat thanksgiving at lunch, (midday?)

(Non-Americans don’t understand you are meant to eat all day on Thanks giving.

We are just starting dinner now 6pm)


Plans for tomorrow: EVAs planned.

Crew Physical Status:  Excellent.

Weather: Sun is still warm when its out but anywhere with no sun is chilly.

Anomalies: Thanksgiving ??

Sol Journal – November 23rd

November 24, 2016 | Permalink

Renewed station

My first acquaintance with Mars Desert Research Station happened in 2014. Back then, it consisted of the habitat, observatory and green house. Our crew 143 just started the construction of the tunnels to connect the modules. Two years passed and now the tunnels are not only finished but also spread further and covered with white tarpaulin.

I am on the EVA, standing at the top of the hill, catching up my breath and look from the distance to our renewed station. The feeling of being on real Mars is so strong, therefore, your mind tries to find an explanation and came up with the idea of being in sci-fi movie decorations.

Big solar panels, capable of 15 kilowatt shining brightly under the Utah sun. White dome 10 meters in diameter is the second home for crew scientists. The new science dome was built just several months ago and we can still sense a little bit of paint. It is connected to solar panels for the power supply and has the coolest door with a small porthole and wheel lock just like in submarine. Inside the dome, there is a 4 meters long window, which opens to an amazing view to the red hills and inspires scientists at their tough hours of work. Some of us love to come here without a reason, just to enjoy new facility and grasp the view of beautiful landscape. Behind the science dome door starts the tunnel, which connects all MDRS modules. After a fire in the greenhouse in 2014, new home for plants was built. The new greenhouse is bigger and has a climate control and aquaponics, which basically is the use of fish poops to fertilize the plants. The Elon Musk foundation observatory didn’t have any changes, still functional and good looking. The habitat is still there since the year 2000 but the inner part has had several changes. All the walls repainted into white color, which adds a more spacy feeling. Additional room for 7th crew member was built in the attic level, on top of two rooms. The lower deck, emptied from science shelves, tables and equipment, became the space for exercise and engineering projects. In the living room there are new comfortable earthy colored (green and beige) sofas and white spacy looking table. The kitchen has a brand new oven, which allows us to cook much faster than before. And the favorite part, we received a new electric ATV for two astronauts.

The renovation will not stop. A new ladder for the habitat, new equipment for the science laboratory, a new sink for the bathroom – all these will arrive soon. Next year the Mars Society will continue to add new facilities to MDRS and new crews will have a breathtaking experience living in such a real simulation.

Food Report – November 23rd

November 24, 2016 | Permalink

Here is a dish where you will learn how to make the famous Udon noodle like you probably already eaten in a restaurant. It is not an easy process, but bear with me on the making and the results will be marvelous.

Marvelous Udon noodle: (for noodles lovers and )

100g of flour / person
50 ml of water / person
1 tsp of salt / person


Making the Dough
Step MtD – 1: Put all the ingredients in a big enough mixing bowl.

Step MtD – 2 : Kneed the dough very well, until it is uniform and homogeneous.

Step MtD – 3 : Fill a sandwich bag (Zip lock type of plastic bags) with the dough. Put this bag in a plastic bag (the sort you can (used to) get at a supermarket).

Step MtD – 4 : Step on the bags for 1 minutes.

Step MtD – 5 : Open the bags and make sure its not teared up and good to be used for another stepping.

Step MtD – 6 :  Redo Step MtD – 4 and MtD – 5, for 10 – 15 minutes.

Step MtD – 7 : Once you feet hurt too much or the 10 -15 minutes has passed, the dough will be finish. The dough should be very sticky on touch. While manipulating the dough it should stick on your hand and fingers with ease.

Making the Noodles

Step MtN – 1 : Take the freshly made dough, while using a rolling pin, flatten the dough.. Don’t forget to add flour on the working surface.

Step MtN – 2 : Fold the dough on itself to remake a ball of dough.

Step MtN – 3 : Redo Step MtN – 1 and MtN – 2 around 10 times. While doing these step start boiling some water, that will be use later to cook the noodles.

Step MtN – 4 : Do step MtN – 1 one last time, with a thickness  of around 1 mm.

Step MtN – 5 : Cut the flatten dough in large band of 5 mm. Once a new noodle is cut, put it in the boiling water.

Step MtN – 6 : The noodle should boil for around 10 minutes. Test the consistency of the noodle, you might want to take them out earlier or later.

Step MtN – 7 : remove the noodle from the water and serve them to your guest/family/friends.

I am a big fan of Udon noodles. Being able to make them and eat them from fresh was a great experience. We had Yusuke and me stepping on the dough, and while we serve them no one in the crew was aware we actually stepped on them to make them. So we just said that this bowl was made by Yusuke and the other one by me. They learn and were a little bit in shock but the taste changed their view on the matter and we ate all.

As always please try this at home. Very little supervision is required to make, and to eat. Please enjoy.

Claude-Michel Laroche
Mars 160 – Crew Engineer

Sol Summary – November 23rd

November 24, 2016 | Permalink

Sol Summary Report (SSR):

Sol# 61

Person filling out report: Annalea Beattie

Summary Title:  Planning Ahead

Mission Status: On track

Sol Activity Summary: 

Today Jon and Anushree successfully exited the hab on an EVA and did four hypolith quadrants plus found some very bright green lichens we have heard about from Shannon but have never seen. I wrote and wrote. Anastasiya wrote and wrote.

Yusuke and Alex worked on the ATV and pumped in the water.

Claude-Michel pollinated tomato plants plus plant reports and made gnocchi (with the help of Yusuke) for thanksgiving tomorrow. It took him hours and it looks really fine. I cooked dinner/ tuna patties with dill from our plants. Thank you for your sacrifice, Jon Clarke.

Reports and reading. Tonight we will see the second episode of National Geographic Mars. Its dark outside now-  another day on Mars nearly over.

Reports Submitted to CapCom: 

  1. Sol Summary- Annalea
  2. Science report- Jon
  3. Anastasiya – Journalist report
  4. Claude- Michel – Food Inventory

5.  Pictures – Anastasiya

6.  Photo of the Day – yes 

MDRS lessons: Exhaustion is the second name of EVA!

Plans for tomorrow: EVAs planned.  

Crew Physical Status:  Excellent.

Weather: Sunny, drying out. 

Anomalies: Today is the day for our ship to come in. To make sure we understand what’s required in the next few weeks, this morning Shannon asked us to plan ahead 20 days of menus. We tried to improvise and work it out. We sat down together and planned the ingredients for cooking six meals each for the final days of our mission then Yusuke compiled all the amounts and the information needed to order the amounts of food required. But actually, we seem to have asked for enormous amounts of food in some areas. We kind of got it and kind of didn’t.