Sol Summary – January 24th

MDRS Sol 9 Summary
Summary Title: Boys and Girls Like to Kiss, the Fall of Idriss and Roy. 
By GreenHab Officer Rick “Tricky Dicky” Blake
Mission Status:
More and laughs, science and cultural exchanges
Sol Activity Summary:
This morning we had pancakes for brekky, followed by the taping of a birthday message for Roy’s mum. We also had a great chat to some French year 12 science students, who were keen as beans to learn about our mission here at the MDRS, as well as the future of the space industry. I learned the Hebrew alphabet (which feels like cracking secret codes), and continued my work in the GreenHab. The rest of the crew watched me learn Hebrew. 
In the afternoon, Roy, Niamh and I went out for an EVA. Roy’s plan was to collect some more geological samples, both to test for the presence of carbonates, and to gather some regolith for use with the 3D printed bricks Idriss is working on. I was after some regolith to test for suitability to potentially be used as a starting block for generating soil. Niamh came with us to capture some footage of an EVA, as well as to get some shots of the landscape. During the EVA, we saw the first episode of ‘Boys and Girls Like to Kiss’ Season 3, which was a real doosy. 
Tonight saw us sharing a Moroccan meal for Idriss’ culture night, as well as hearing about the history and state of Morocco, including Idriss’ Berber roots. 
Look Ahead Plan:
Tomorrow we have a film crew from France coming to see us. This will take up most of the day, but shouldn’t be too disruptive hopefully. We will be continuing with our scientific projects and we have an exploration EVA planned.
Anomalies in Work:
Saw an alien hovercraft during EVA.
Today was sunny in the morning with clouds and wind increasing in the arvo. Rainwater from yesterday mostly gone now.
Crew Physical Status:
I lightly bumped my tooth on a coffee mug. The rest of the crew are nominal. Healthy and safe.

EVA Report – January 24th

EVA Report:
SOL: 9
Date: 24/01/2017
Person filling out the report: Roy Naor
Crew members involved in the EVA: Roy Naor, Richard Blake, Niamh Shaw.
EVA leader: Roy Naor
Begin: 2:00pm
End: 4:35 pm
Type of EVA: Walking + ATV 350, ATV 350, ATV 4X4
Purpose: : Collecting regolith and soil samples from various localities in MDRS vicinity to test 3D printing project and for pH and salinity as candidates suitable for crops.
UTM Coordinates: Northing : 4250100  Easting :  518000 Zone : 12 S
Summary: We climbed up the Kissing camel ridge and collected silicified conglomerate for further analysis. Later on we collected the common red regolith that accumulates as the Brushy Basin topsoil to use in our ISRU 3D printed blocks test. We ended up climbing to radio ridge for the Dakota sandstone regolith and sampled it to use in in the ISRU project. A second bag of regolith was also collected to be tested for pH and salinity. This is to determine whether the regolith could be a future candidate for GreenHab soil.

3D Printer Activity Timelapse Video

Crew Photos – January 23rd

HAB Jan 22nd 2017 Idriss has Secured sponsorship from French startup Teach on Mars
Main Airlock January 22nd 2017 Crew 173 flight suits
Hab Jan 22nd 2017 Slovakia Culture night at the HAB

Outside Hab January 23rd 2017 Rick and Idriss on EVA (Credit Rick Blake)

HAB January 23rd 2017 Roy and Rick speak with students in Israel
HAB January 23rd 2017 Roy and Idriss speak with students in Israel

Crew Photos – January 22nd

Airlock January 22nd 2017 Crew 173 flightstuits hanging in the main airlock area (Credit Niamh Shaw)
Outside Hab January 22nd 2017 Michaela on EVA (Credit Michaela Musilova)
Outside Hab January 22nd 2017 Michaela and Idriss on Eva (Credit Michaela Musilova)
Science Dome January 22nd 2017 Geology samples being tested for carbonates by Roy and Rick (Credit Roy Naor)
Outside Hab January 22nd 2017 Michaela conducting fieldwork on EVA (Credit Michaela Musilova)
Outside HAB January 22nd 2017 Idriss on EVA (Credit Michaela Musilova)
Main Airlock January 22nd 2017 Michaela and Idriss head out on EVA (Credit Niamh Shaw)
Hab January 22nd 2017 The first 3d printed brick is almost complete (Credit Niamh Shaw)
Hab January 22nd 2017 Roy and Idriss succeed at printing the first 3d printed brick (Credit Niamh Shaw)
Hab January 22nd 2017 Niamh photographs Michaela at work (Credit Roy Naor)
Hab January 22nd 2017 Cloudy day at MDRS (Credit Niamh Shaw)

Sol Summary – January 23rd

MDRS Sol Summary Report for Sol 8
Crew Journalist & Artist Niamh Shaw
Summary Title
Gigabytes and Gallons and blustery gales.
Mission Status:
All is well with Crew 173. News of our mission spreads back on Earth, and as interest mounts, we must prepare for delayed comms between Earth and Mars in speaking with schools and news agencies.
Sol Activity Summary:
Like sheafs of wheat in the bountiful fields back on Earth, who bend and bow to the beat of the wind and weather, we too must adapt daily to the weather that Mars brings us. We had 2 interesting EVA’s planned for the day, but due to bad weather, we set them side and focussed our attention instead to our other projects today, specifically outreach. Roy had a request to speak with some students on Earth earlier this morning. After a series of comms tests he obtained a secure connection (22 minutes ahead of us, of course) and spoke with the students from the ‘Young Israeli Astronaut Academy’, a programme which is part of the Davidson Institute of Science Education, the educational arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The students were interested in discussing the geological experiments with Roy including the 3d printed bricks and regolith which they will be filled with. They also spoke to Rick and Idriss about their participation in the project. Then the crew knuckled down to preparing another video for our outreach activities which Niamh is in the middle of editing. We have high hopes for the final product and predict that it will pique the interest of even more Earthlings, highlighting the importance of our work here. There are remnants of last nights Slovakia culture night around the communal area, a reminder of the great evening’s entertainment our commander provided for us.
Look Ahead Plan:
We continue to 3D print our modular brick system, and with Michaela’s and Roy’s students experiments from Slovakia and Israel respectively. Niamh continues to document our experience and hopes to complete her art project by the end of the week. We will push hard on more outreach activities for the remainder of our time on Mars, including answering some of the many questions that have been sent in to us from Earthlings.
Anomalies in work:
We are trying to understand how we are consuming an inordinate amount of water and internet usage as we have made no changes to our daily routine. Something is afoot and we will strive to solve this ‘gigabytes and gallons’ anomaly.
Weather today was less familiar to us, an inclement morning more akin to an Irish ‘soft day, thank God’ (rain, rain and more rain, with blustery gales). It perplexed the crew but hibernophile Niamh took them through the experience of getting ‘soaked to the bone, whilst simultaneously getting the wind taken out of ya’. Some understood, others still looked clueless. Thankfully, the afternoon cleared up nicely to the more familiar chilly martian sun we have grown to love since landing here. So we could put an end to describing the many different forms of rain in Ireland.
Crew Physical Status:
The crew is in good shape but getting cabin fever due to our inability to stretch the Martian legs, so as to speak. Tomorrow is another sol.
Due to the inclement weather (see above), EVA’s were stripped back to a short and local perambulation by Rick and Idriss, to do our necessary operations activities. They returned flushed and invigorated by the special time they spent alone together. We will resume our planned EVA’s tomorrow when the more familiar Martian weather conditions return.
Reports to be filed:
sol 8 summary
Eva report
Eva request
Commander’s report
Operations report
Support Requested:
 Information about water readings and internet anomaly

Commander Report – January 23rd

Commander’s report Sol 8
Michaela Musilova
 “My daughter is on Mars and I have not heard from her in days. I am worried”. Such was the complaint my father made to his doctor a few sols ago. It is true. As soon as I arrived on Mars I plunged straight into my new life here, so much so that I disconnected almost completely from my life back on Earth. In a way it was so liberating. Suddenly, all the concerns and problems of your job, relationships and generally every day life issues are hundreds of millions of kilometres away. You start to feel like you’re living another life, perhaps even starting from a fresh slate.
Only checking my emails brings me back to the harsh reality back on Earth. Each email account has gotten into the hundreds of unread emails. I would not even check them to spare me that pain of feeling extremely behind on everything. However, we have to communicate with Mission Support back on Earth every night for two hours, who help us with any of our problems on Mars. We also have to send them reports about all of our activities on Mars for the given day and get approval for our planned activities for the next day. Mission Support is in many ways like a parent, watching over us. But at a distance and unable to help us immediately should something bad happen.
Indeed, we are all alone on Mars. Even the aliens have backed down again and have hidden themselves into the hills. We have to be able to survive on our own no matter what the circumstances. We have only been here for just over a week and we have had the “joy” of experiencing quite a selection of interesting circumstances. Our very first few days revolved around a battle with a malfunctioning toilet, forcing us to use our imagination to the maximum. You see, it was a bit of a catch 22. We have very limited amounts of water here with us, but in order to make the toilet function again we need to flush it repeatedly during the day…
Then came the multiple alien invasions, followed by a snow storm and now a leaking water pipe. The past day has been particularly entertaining, as the water pipe started to leak even faster, our communication with Earth dropped during the crucial two-hour Mission Support window and then very strong Martian winds have been ravaging our small colony. Luckily, no big damage has been made so far. Let’s just hope that Mars will stop fighting our presence here so persistently. We are grateful our “parent” is trying to guide us from afar and we hope that we will solve our urgent problems soon.
While worrying about surviving on Mars may sound like a rough battle and quite the mission by itself, we have our hands full with many other activities and responsibilities here. As my crew’s commander, I have to make sure everything is running smoothly in our Martian colony, everyone is doing their job/research and that we all get along. I am pleased to say that this has been going really well so far. All my crewmates have been actively involved in their research/outreach projects, despite all of the distractions Mars is throwing upon us. Everything from 3D printing, geological studies to growing spinach through my Slovakian students’ experiment is going very well. We are all also having a great time here, whether it’s doing our chores, writing reports to going on EVAs together and enjoying our culture nights. Last night was my Slovakian culture night and we had a blast.
So yes, I do live my new life on Mars fully. So much so that I forget about my life back on Earth. I of course do not forget my loved ones, friends and family. Similarly, I am very grateful to the wonderful support that I have had from my followers around the world. I think about you all regularly, but just like my many work problems that are awaiting me and spamming my mailboxes, you are just too many million miles away now and I have to learn to live without you while I am here. The more I will be grateful to be with you all again once my journey back to Earth will begin.
Take care for now Earthlings, until we meet back on Terra once again.

EVA Report – January 22nd

EVA Report:
SOL: 7
Date: 22/01/2017
Person filling out the report: Michaela Musilova
Crew members involved in the EVA: Idriss Sisaid and Michaela Musilova
EVA leader: Michaela Musilova
Begin: 9:30 am
End: 12:37 pm
Type of EVA: ATVs + Walking
Purpose: Conducting sampling of hypoliths and regolith south of MDRS.
UTM Coordinates: 4249100  Easting :  518000 Zone : 12 S
Summary: Several hypolith samples were collected and different types of regolith (soil) samples were collected for inspection in the Science Dome.

Science Report – January 22nd

Sol 7 Science Report

GreenHab officer Rick Blake

One study being conducted by this crew rotation is designed by Israeli high school students. It involves investigating the differing ground colours on the hills around the MDRS and reporting our findings back to the students. Rather than a strict scientific aim, this experiment was mostly proposed to get students interested in STEM careers. The students don’t have any prior geological knowledge and it is hoped that by doing this experiment we will inspire their imagination and thirst to learn science. Our geologist, Roy, already knows the geological setting and history of the area to be tested, so any data generated will be purely for the students to interpret.
For this experiment, a transect up a hill was conducted during an EVA by our crew geologist, Roy, and myself. Samples were taken of the regolith and underlying rock at every change of colour on the ground. These samples were labelled and brought back to the Science Dome for further analysis. The samples were inspected for their general colour, reaction to acid, and, under a microscope; grain size, grain roundness, and any other interesting features. This data was recorded and will be relayed back to the students to interpret. Small sections of the samples will also be returned to the Davidson Institute for Science Education, Weizmann Institute, Israel for the students to further analyse.
For reference, it is known that the stratigraphy is part of the Brushy Basin member of the Morrison Formation, and it was formed in the late Jurassic in a fluvial lacustrine environment. The top of the stratigraphy is capped by Cretaceous geology, which ended up being the last sample collected on the transect.
The data recorded is as follows:

Journalist Report – January 22nd

By Niamh Shaw
Crew Artist & Journalist Crew 173
It’s 1977 and I’m 8 years old.
We have just moved to a small town in Ireland called Carlow.
It’s summertime so we have no school, and I have only my cousin to play with.
She’s nice, but she’s 2 years younger than me and we have very little in common.
I like school and learning, so I’m bored a lot this summer.
Dad is leaving for work and he asks me what my favourite planet is.
I tell him its Saturn.
I’m not sure why.
I think it’s because its the only planet with rings.
He asks me to make a report about Saturn.
I’m thrilled.
I have something finally to do with my day!
I open the Children’s Encyclopaedia and get to work.
I make a big poster, using my new colouring pencils.
It’s filled with facts and drawings.
I can’t wait to show it to Dad when he gets home later.
But now that I’m done, I’m bored again.
I’ve never lived in the countryside before.
I haven’t yet discovered the fields around me that will soon provide me with limitless fun for the next 2 years until we move again to another small Irish town.
So I continue to read the encyclopaedia.
And learn about all the other planets in our solar system.
I go to John’s room and study the poster on his wall.
It’s a poster from National Geographic. Dad gave it to him.
Having read the encyclopaedia, I realise it’s of our solar system and all the other stars in our local interstellar neighbourhood.
I like it.
John comes in and tells me more about the poster.
And Alpha Centauri.
And that his favourite planet is Mars.
He tells me about Mars.
It’s now my favourite planet too.
Roy can’t remember a time when he didn’t know about Mars. His mother would tell him about our solar system all the time. She had a special chart that could predict the position of the stars and planets in the night sky and they would use it to stargaze most nights.
Rick learned about planets in school when he was aged around 8, but for as long as he could remember, he was always interested in nature, rocks, fish and the world around him. His curiosity for space and Mars began in earnest in University while studying geology.
Idriss was 13. Living in Morocco, he spent a lot of time in the Atlas mountains, and with such low light pollution so high above the cities, the area had stunning views of the night sky. He needed to know what he was looking at and so he signed up for an Astronomy weekend. They told him about the French magazine ‘Ciel et Espace’, which he still reads to this day (he brought a copy with him to MDRS to share with us).  And thus, our astronomer crew member was hooked on the stars and planets.
I wish I could tell when our commander first learned about Mars. But Michaela’s cooking dinner at the moment and also has to communicate with CapCOMM shortly. Its Slovakia night here so its all on her. I will have to tell you her story another time.
We have all been inspired in so many different ways. But somehow we all ended up here at MDRS with our shared passion for Mars. I wonder who we will inspire, with our experience here?
Here’s to another great Culture night here at MDRS.  Hura do toho a na zdravie!
CREW 173
by Niamh Shaw
Crew Artist & Journalist