Commander Report – March 28th

Four sols have passed since The McLennan Community College Highlanders Crew 177 arrived to Mars.  For sure, four sols full of challenges and amazing experiences.  Every activity around here is designed with the main purpose of providing us a unique experience other than that offered by a traditional classroom environment.

After all eight crewmembers took breakfast together, at about 0845 local time; Crew 177 got visited by Rae Bichell from NPR.  Rae Bichell spent most of the day with us learning about our routine here on Mars. She is was very interested in knowing about our experiences, projects, our college as well as all related with the MDRS program.  After giving her a short talk about our goals followed by a tour around the MDRS complex, she was invited to escort us during our morning Geology EVA.

After the daily routine of getting suited followed by the depressurization  process before going out of the Hab, the Geology EVA crew departed at about 1045 local time.  The EVA group consisted of Elijah Espinoza, Pitchayapa Jingjit, Esteban Espinoza, and Becky Parker. The geology experiments conducted today consisted of assessing many different regolith characteristics in the area around the Hab. Understanding what this material is made out of helps to determine what resources could be available. Also, crew members learned about the use of a Brunton compass to measure as strike and dip, both useful geological parameters which provide valuable information about what angle a particular geological formation has been uplifted.

While EVA team were collecting samples and taking geological measurement outside the Hab, remaining crew stayed in the Hab serving as communication support.  During that time they also prepared lunch which was enjoyed by the crew members and guest.  Menu included delicious teriyaki chicken, rice, corn, and red pepper.

During the afternoon, Pitchayapa started working on her microbiology experiments.  The point of her experiments is to swab the Hab for the presence of Gram negative and enteric bacteria and Gram positive staph bacteria.  Both have health implications.

Engineer completed their daily checking routine without major anomalies.

During dinner time the crew discussed the plan for tomorrow.  While some crew members showed some signs of fatigue during the day, Crew 177 members are looking forward to keep doing their best in order to successfully complete this mission.  The challenges make us stronger!
Tomorrow, pending approval, will consist of a morning chemistry EVA with Elijah, Esteban, Caleb, and Becky.  Rest of the afternoon will be spend working on individual projects and microbiology experiments conducted by Pitchayapa.

Good night from Mars