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Archive: 12 Dec 2016

Sol Summary – December 12th

December 12, 2016 | Permalink

Sol Summary Report (SSR):


Person filling out report: Annalea Beattie

Summary Title: Sol# 80 The Final Day of Our Simulation

Mission Status: on track

Sol Activity Summary:

We are preparing to leave the hab and packing for the Arctic but are still in simulation. Everyone tried to finish their own work. Today is the last chance for Yusuke to finish his 3D graphic. He is multi-tasking today as he is also helping Claude-Michel, going out with Alex on the EVA, and doing the GPS coordinates for lichen sampling with Anu. She is now mopping the lab and then she will work on her last lichen report.

Jon wrote lists for the Arctic and cleaned and mopped downstairs.

Alex is testing his suit interface out on a final EVA this afternoon. Claude-Michel received ipod touches from Heather Hava and is connecting them to the internet to monitor relationships between us and the plants. I cooked dinner, cleaned, washed and finished my last article for space. com and sent it off.  We all worked on the final report for the last quarter of the mission. Then we wrote to Polina. A final yoga today! Will we ever be this fit again? Through the round window we can see a crowd outside. Nat Geo setting up discs and cameras outside. Someone just furled the American flag.

Jon is very pleased as he has had a second paper on Mars analogue research  accepted for publication while he has been here. The first was with David Willson on the potential of the Coober Pedy area in South Australia to test water extraction from sulphate-rich regolith, the most recent second was with David Willson and Heather Smith proposing Meridiani Planum (the site of the Opportunity rover mission) as the location for the first crewed landing on Mars. David and Heather are both at NASA Ames Research Center and part of the Mars 160 support team.

See you in the Arctic.


Reports Submitted to CapCom:

  1.   Sol Summary- Annalea
  2.   Journalist – Anastasiya
  3. Pictures – Anastasiya.


MDRS lessons for today:

Struggle is important. Giving up is not an option. (Anu)


Plans for tomorrow:  Back to Earth! EVA, live 365 Facebook event, Nat Geo more NHK interview followed by more cleaning and packing.

Crew Status: We are great.

Weather: Not as cold!

Anomalies:  Dozens of people outside the hab is an anomaly!

Sol Journal – December 12th

December 12, 2016 | Permalink

The fascinating rocks

What do you imagine when hear the word “geology”? The search on the internet will show that “Geology is an earth science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change. Geology can also refer generally to the study of the solid features of any celestial body (such as the geology of the Moon or Mars).”

In our mission Mars 160 we have an outstanding geologist Jon Clarke, whose partner in crime is microbiologist Anushree Srivastava. Together they represent geo-microbiology, which is the study of living and fossilized organisms and their interaction with the rocks. It is a perfect team for future Mars explorations. In order to know the sampling area for soil, gypsum, hypoliths, and lichens, the crew microbiologist seeks an advice from Jon Clarke. He is the one who can tell where to go to find sandstone, gypsum, fossils and other interesting and relevant rocks. He is the one who tell jokes and interesting phrases about the geology, such as:

Lichens is what stops me from seeing the rock

A dust is windblown regolith

Regolith is everything between fresh rock and fresh air

If you observe what crew geologist does on the EVA, you would think that this is some kind of sightseeing. Yes, Jon walks around with 75cm stick and a hammer (provides scale), climbs the hills and takes the pictures. Those actions all together are called “geological scouting”.  Sometimes the scouting is sufficient for the purpose, because Jon is building on knowledge gained on previous trips to the station. Other times the scouting leads to more detailed investigations of sites, sampling, and laboratory analysis of the collected material.

Jon’s main geological focus in this part of the expedition was two-fold.  Firstly, he was following up previous studies into the relationship between the ancient rivers that deposited the rocks that make the geological succession at MDRS and the modern landscape.  Secondly, he was collecting samples of the different types of clays in the succession for our other crew geologist, Paul Knightly who is currently at the University of Arkansas but who will join us in the Arctic, to determine their composition.  Jon was also supporting Anushree by characterizing the substrates that had been colonized by hypoliths and lichens and providing the broader geological context.

The Mars Desert Research Station environment allow us to explore and study geological and landscape features at a scale similar to those found on Mars. Geology is the key to understand the history of Mars, provides the context for the search for life, and is essential for the search for martian resources and determining safe places to build mars stations. Mission Mars 160 also provides a visually, topographically, and geologically realistic environment to test instruments, procedures and conduct operations to assist future mission.

Picture of the Day – December 12th

December 12, 2016 | Permalink

Only Martians allowed

Crew Photos – December 12th

December 12, 2016 | Permalink

Beautiful gypsum


Gypsum sampling


Happy microbiologist


MDRS and dome at night


The first salad on Mars will be cooked


Watching 3D pictures


You are needed on Mars in Russian