Science Report – March 27th

Science Report
Crew 177
Filled by Esteban Ramirez, Elijah Espinoza, Victoria LaBarre, Joseph Quaas.

Today, crew 177 spent the day working on a Chemistry EVA as well as working on their independent projects.  Unfortunately one of the goal of the chemistry EVA could be completed due technical difficulty with the Geiger counter.  Crew member will work on trying to solve the problem as a secong group will be send later this week to complete the task. Next, crew went to the Candor Chasma to collect water samples. Water was not located in this area although several moist areas were identified under rocks. Gypsum was evaluated and the students discussed that you can make water from gypsum if needed.  Some samples were brought back for future composition evaluation.  An important amount of green vegetation and colorful were observed down in the canyon.  We observed birds, and found evidence of nesting by some unknown creatures.

Esteban Espinoza, spent part of the afternoon working on his project. The generator bike was unpacked and partially assembled during SOL 1. During SOL 2, the final components to the bike were attached and we began test trials. Crew member, Pitchayapa Jingjit began the first test trial. There were a few complications with the readings from her heartrate sensor initially, but these were later solved. The bike generator was also initially unable to generate power due to weak initially battery levels, but this issue was solved using a larger battery to charge the generator’s batteries. In Pitchayapa’s second trials, we could obtain constant heartrate measurements, and there was a significant increase in the battery’s voltage. We plan to begin official trials in the coming days wherever possible.
Caleb Li spent part of his afternoon working on  a LED digital clock in the air lock, since there is not a clock in the air lock so far; he came up the idea that make a digital clock by using FPGAs and the Basys 2 board. This clock could optimize the crew member’s experience when they wait in the air lock and go out do the simulation. He is currently working on the alarm function on the Basys 2 board, he found some issues related with the alarm codes and he is working on solve them. He is planning to continue troubleshooting for the alarm function tomorrow. Hope it will work out.

Joseph Quass, in addition to led the chemistry’s EVA during the morning, he spent his afternoon working on a virtual reality training simulator. This specific simulation is based on MDRS, so the sim would train incoming crews of the basic layout of the HAB, as well as important surrounding locations. Today, he worked on editing textures in order to fix some clipping issues that were occurring prior to my arrival at MDRS. The rest of his time at MDRS will be devoted to making the simulation as accurate as possible to the real deal in order to immerse users. The goal of the simulation is to train participants in the layout and through certain situations, such as rescue emergencies, that can occur on-site. Tomorrow, he will continue with bug-fixes and terrain creation.

Elijah and Victoria are doing joint research about robotic. First the robot was unpacked and parts were checked for damage. They proceeded to assemble the robot, starting with the frame, circuitry, wheels and then finally the motors and gearboxes. Once fully assembled, Victoria taught Elijah how to use a soldering iron so that we could connect motor wires to motor controller wires, which went into the brain. This ended up becoming larger tutorial for other members of the crew who were in tested in learning how to solder wire. After connecting the wires, they switched on the robot. They noted that although the robot turned on, the wireless communication between the remote control and the brain seemed to have trouble connecting.  They plan to try solving this problem by cutting up two USB cables that they brought to solder together a USB to USB cable that will connect the brain and the remote control.