Science Report – December 28th

Geology/Mars Climate Report 28122016:

The astrophotography exposure from last night turned out alright with
one of the time-lapse cameras. I put that camera over the mound just
West of the HAB to look at some stream channels flowing down the side
of a few hills.

My other camera is still looking at the HAB and the surrounding
mounds. It does not look like we will receive any more rain for the
rest of our mission. This doesn’t concern me too much as I can also
use this data to visually analyze the shape of these stream patterns,
even in their dry state.

One interesting aspect of the geology of Mars in regard to the first
human mission is landing site selection. Strategically, selecting a
location for the HAB and the power generators will be critical. An
enclave that provides protection from sandstorms but still has plenty
of sunlight for solar panels could work. There are many other factors
to consider: access to ice/water, geologically interesting features
and some protection from cosmic and solar radiation. With the thin
atmosphere and extremely weak magnetic field, electronics and power
supplied will need to be shielded or located underground.

The poles present abundant ice deposits at the surface but the frigid
temperatures will require more fuel and energy to sustain human life.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a menace.  Latitude is also a
factor. Many of the landers and rovers that have been to Mars are
located at the mid-latitudes. The pros and cons of every possible
landing site must be weighed.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 12 F – 43 F
Outdoor Humidity – 35% – 67%
GreenHab Temp – 22 F – 94 F
GreenHAB Humidity – 10% – 35%
Barometer – 29.67 – 29.87 inHg
Wind – 1.1 mph, gust – 2.5 mph
Solar Rad. Max – 399.8 W/m^2
UV Index – 777 uW/cm^2
Dew Point – 2.5 F – 19.6 F
Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in

Final Sleep Study Report:

The crew’s sleep schedule is pretty much aligned at this point.
Geoffrey consistently wakes up first and starts doing work in the
kitchen. I usually wake up second and then the rest of the crew. I
think many people are sleeping in such a way that they are awake from
around 2-5 am to take advantage of the free internet. Overall,
everyone seems to be very productive. A couple of the crew members
take naps during the afternoon hours in order to stay rested. I think
that plenty of sleep is critical to work output. On Mars there could
be a plethora of other factors to consider with sleep. How does sleep
change with different levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen in
the atmosphere? Also, how does the reduced gravity affect sleep
patterns in the brain, if any? We’ll need to eventually find these
things out.


Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist

Crew Photos – December 27th

Sean thins radish plants.


Sunrise on Mars.


Ancient drainage patterns on surface of Mars where water once flowed.


Connor sews a mission patch onto his new flight suit.

GreenHab Report – December 27th

Today we have deemed efforts to utilize the GreenHab
officially ineffectual; nevertheless, the day proved to be productive
for the growth of our Martian cultivars within the crew quarters.
Radishes, mystery crop (which we are beginning to believe is
Turmeric), Red Oak lettuce and Green Oak lettuce varieties have been
thinned and planted into canopy density experimental setups.  The
plant conveyor research continues, although rather languidly.   All
experiments using soil are duplicated using a hydroponic testbed for
future evaluation of the similitude of plant growth properties with
respect to nutrient medium.

Brittany Zimmerman
GreenHab Officer
Crew 171

Science Report – December 27th

Geology/Mars Climate Report

The weather for the rest of the week looks pretty consistent with minimal wind and sun. Erosion features can be seen in the hills near the HAB. This time-lapse photography comes in handy here on “Mars” because we can use this analogue Mars terrain to study how the ancient geologic features could have formed on Mars. Melting snow and ice along with precipitation could have caused these features we see on Mars. The debate that still rages with planetary scientists and climatologists is: was the ancient climate of Mars “warm and wet” as opposed to today’s “cold and icy” climate? Where was ice distributed? The obliquity of the planet (the spin axis) may have been drastically different and thus the ice may have migrated over time.

Instead of having to go down to the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica to study these processes on Earth, we can study them here in this Mars-like environment to get a better understand of them. This in turn will tell us about the ancient climate of Mars and how it has evolved over time to the present day.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 11 F – 38 F

Outdoor Humidity – 30% – 62%

GreenHab Temp – 21 F – 91 F

GreenHAB Humidity – 18% – 30%

Barometer – 29.75 – 29.94 inHg

Wind – 3.5 mph, gust – 4.5 mph

Solar Rad. Max – 385.2 W/m^2

UV Index – 743 uW/cm^2

Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in

We know the atmospheric pressure at “sea level” on Mars is around 0.6% the pressure on Earth. This would mean that a 50 mph breeze on Mars would hardly be noticeable and that the beginning of the movie The Martian is inaccurate. It would take winds of unimaginable strength to knock a rocket over like that.

Since Mars is around 1.5X further from the sun the incident solar radiation would be around 2.25X reduced if we neglect the atmospheres (r^2 dependence for solar flux). However, the Martian atmosphere is much thinner and is of a different composition, so we’re not totally in the hole. This will bode well for solar panels on the surface but the atmosphere will have a different absorption pattern than Earth’s.

Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist

Daily Summary Report – December 27th

SOL 09

Person filling out Report: Anselm Wiercioch, XO

Summary Title: 70% of the way there

Mission Status: Ramping up for science

Sol Activity Summary: Lot of green hab work, staying inside

Look Ahead Plan: EVA to Candor Chasma, Commander’s data acquisition

Anomalies in work: Many martian visitors driving around

Weather: High 38F, low 11F, Humidity 30-62%, wind avg 3.5mph, gust

4.5mph, clear skies and sunny

Crew Physical Status: Fully functional

EVA: Postponed due to martian traffic

Reports to be filed:
– Sol Summary
– Journalist Report
– Science Reports
– 6-8 Photos
– EVA Plan
– Operations Report

Support Requested
– None

Crew Photos – December 26th

Crew Biologist Sean turned 26 on Mars today and was treated to colorful decorations and a feast of desserts.


Terribly chasm-like.
Connor points majestically at the horizon.
Chief Scientist Connor prepares to place a time-lapse camera during an EVA
Beautiful scenery along this convenient Martian road. Mars would make an excellent rally stage.
The EVA heads for a nearby chasm.
The EVA crew pauses for a photo at the edge of the chasm.
Exploring the chasm on foot.
Beautiful scenery along this convenient Martian road. Mars would make an excellent rally stage.

Daily Summary Report – December 26th

SOL: 08
Person filling out Report: Anselm Wiercioch, XO
Summary Title: Boxing Day
Mission Status: Ready for a productive week
Sol Activity Summary: Cleaned up the hab and eva to Candor Chasma
Look Ahead Plan: Follow up EVA to Candor Chasma
Anomalies in work: None
Weather: High 39F, Low 20F, Humidity 22-53%, Wind avg 5-10mph, Gust 20mph
Crew Physical Status: Fully functional
EVA: Follow up to Candor Chasma
Reports to be filed:
– Sol Summary
– Journalist Report
– Science Reports
– 6-8 Photos
– EVA Plan
– Operations Report
Support Requested
– None

Science Report – December 26th

Geology/Mars Climate Report: The camera that was on during the night to track stars ended up making a decent video and some stars were visible. I reprogrammed the camera and left it outside to take another exposure tonight. However, the camera will be pointed use above the horizon instead of straight up in the sky.

Another camera was repositioned to look due West toward the Lower Blue Hills and the sides of the cliffs.


Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 20 F – 39 F

Outdoor Humidity – 22% – 53%

GreenHab Temp – 27 F – 93 F

GreenHAB Humidity – 18% – 32%

Barometer – 29.43 – 29.89 inHg

Wind – 5-10 mph, gust – 20 mph

Solar Rad. Max – 387.5 W/m^2

UV Index – 756 uW/cm^2

Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in

———————— —

Mars Self Sleep Study Report:

The new dynamic sleep schedule we set out to adhere to has broken down somewhat. I am now back to sleeping in one big chunk at night. Anselm has been taking a nap during  some of the days though.

Other sleep schedule ideas for Mars:

  1. Uberman Cycle = ~4 x 45 min naps at equal intervals throughout the day. Hardest for the body to adjust to initially. To slowly adopt this schedule you can gradually reduce your nightly chunk of sleep and replace part of that lost time with small naps. May only work for people that need 4 hours of regular sleep per night.
  1. Biphasic  Cycle = One chunk of sleep at night for ~4-5 hours followed by a nap during the day. This cycle has some research supporting its cognitive benefits.
  1. Daylight Cycle = This is a little different than the regular biphasic cycle but still involves two blocks. You are sleeping all at night when it is dark but your 8 hours total is broken up with a two hour awake/working period in the middle of the night.

Whatever gets the work done on Mars!!


Philosophy of Colonizing Mars Report:

The initial steps of mankind on Mars will be for scientific and exploratory purposes but eventually businesses and politicians will be mounting their campaign on the Red Planet as colonization continues. For example, how will land be divided on Mars and what will the long-term governmental structure look like?

At first there will be only a handful of people on the surface and as a crew they will be subject to mission objectives and goals from NASA and Earth-based institutions. However, as more and more people migrate to a city on Mars there will be autonomous political institutions which can act by themselves. In the long term future of Mars colonization, will cities and civilization emerge just as it has done on Earth? These are the aspects of Mars colonization that need to start being addressed now as they will become more and more critical over time.

Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist

Journalist Report – December 26th

Sol 08
Journalist report to be posted
Authored by Anselm Wiercioch

Hey gang!
Long time no see. Or, read.. or whatever.
Hope everyone planetside had happy holidays!

This was one of the quietest and strangest Christmases I’ve had (first
tin can holiday, woo), but was still very warm and wholesome. The crew
feels almost like family at this point. We had some fresh croissants
and played charades and trimmed the tiny Charlie Brown tree someone
brought. It was cute. We exchanged white elephant gifts – some books,
some legos, lots of fun stuff (I got a sweet Brown jersey). It was

Festivities aside, we also had our first martian dust storm! Right in
the middle of the night after things had settled down, the hab started
shaking violently. I know this is a thoroughly engineered structure,
but it’s also heavily mass optimized and no matter what the math says,
a thin sheet metal wall does not feel very strong when it’s standing
between your warm comfy Christmas night and a brutal frozen iron oxide
space storm. That’s a unique Mars experience for sure. After about 3
hours of struggling to fall asleep in a vibrating bunk, things got
really exciting. The hab includes a small hemispherical skylight dome
right in the center of the roof, and our tiny haboob blew it straight
off. We were all awake at that point luckily, but we’re sitting around
drinking tea and reading books, not planning what to do when your
house suddenly and loudly depressurizes and you get flash frozen.
Despite popular opinion, it kind of sucks.

Our training kicked in anyways and we were able to pull on our
emergency pressure suits before anyone was severely injured. We all
complained our fair share over the decade or so of building muscle
memory for things like this, but you’re sure happy when it comes to
task. A quick trip to the engineering bay yielded a solid replacement
(in my humble opinion, much more solid than what we started with) and
we were able to seal the hole without much trouble. It took about 10
minutes for the emergency system to repressurize, but the kitchen and
loft area were coated in a fluffy layer of red sand.

Somehow we all slept pretty well after that. Go figure. About 9 hours
later we woke and assessed the damage. (Yeah yeah, we missed morning
briefing. Priorities. Meh.) The hab as a whole seemed to survive
alright, as did the slightly buried but generally unbroken rovers. The
landing site is situated in between two small dunes against a hillside
to avoid things like this, and I think we avoided the brunt of the
storm. The interior was fluffy and red, but it gave us some nice
meditative cleaning work this morning.

After everything was basically back on track, if slightly behind
schedule, the day’s EVA crew suited up and headed out for Candor
Chasma. Some kind of massive geological rift NE of the hab. I stayed
home and started inventorying the engineering bay, but apparently it
was pretty spectacular. I’ll find out tomorrow on the follow-up crew.

Over all it was a pretty slow day. Lot of mindless work and gradual
mental debriefing. We’ve got a lot of work to do this week as our
primary mission winds down. Gonna get to sleep pretty early tonight.
And hey, my shower rotation is back up tomorrow. Little victories.


GreenHab Report – December 26th

GreenHab Report:

There is not much to report from the GreenHab today.  We have moved our experiments into the lower level of the Hab and will not be able to move them back into the GreenHab until the heater is functioning and we have control of the temperature.  Ideally, we would like to be able to maintain the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees F at all times.  In contrast, the low temperature last night was 26 F and peaked today at 93 F.  Obviously, these are not conditions that are suitable for plant growth.  The first step in once again regaining control of the temperature is to get the heater functioning again.

The germination front is going quite well!  We saw many more seedlings sprout and now have confirmation that all types of species that we planted at the beginning of our mission have germinated.  We are very excited to see the pinto bean, kidney bean, and popcorn grow up before the end of our mission.  Over the next few days, we will be working on transplanting the more mature seedlings and providing them nutrients through hydroponics and soil as well as beginning data collection on the lettuce experiments.


Thank you,

-Sean Gellenbeck

SEDS-MDRS Crew GreenHab Officer #2