Wind Conditions: windy, we closed the lower part of the shutter because it was shivering.
Observation Start Time: 1am
Observation End Time: 2am
Summary: The first goal was to set up the telescope for the first time. We couldn’t make any photography due to the problems described below.
Objects Viewed: Arcturus, Jupiter
Problems Encountered: impossible to focus. For each viewed star, what should have been a single point was stretched out. Jupiter was fuzzy. We guess this is due to the alignment of the primary mirror. Can you send us the procedure to follow? Thank you.
Also, we didn’t dare to open the lower part of the shutter because of the wind. It was shivering. We let the upper part open to set up the telescope for next nights. After encountering the focusing problem, we closed everything.
Quentin “Dips” Thomas, Crew Astronomer,
Mathieu “Mitch” Vander Donckt, Crew Scientist and Journalist.
Weather: sunny, dry and hot
Temperature: around 30°C
Location: 12 S 0519938 4247631
Elevation: 1333 m
Duration: 120 min
Team: Damien Mertens (crew engineer), Elke Mergny (crew geologist), Quentin Thomas (crew astronomer)
– Geophysical survey of the area with a ground penetrating radar
– Telecommunication: installation of marking devices that use tools to cartography the sound beacons placed next to dangerous reliefs and hence, to construct a map of risk areas.
– Ground penetrating radar: 7 geophysical profiles collected (area of the survey=10000m²). 3D mapping will be established
– The installation of the marking device succeeded but the localisation system needs still to be adapted (see tomorrow’s EVA)
It is astonishing how the situation can deteriorate in a few hours. Being isolated, we cannot depend on external assistance. We need to rely on our own skills and training and have a blind trust in the abilities of our crewmates. That was proved during last day’s incidents, that we afterward named “the cowboy crisis”.
Sol 3 ended with the disappearance of two crew members. The dust storm that raged that night made any expedition to lead an emergency rescue, impossible. Besides, protocol forbids to go outside of the base at night, whatever happens. It is of course for our own safety, the lives of all the crew cannot be put at risk for an operation with such uncertain outcomes. However, it was thwarting to stay inside in such a time. We defined an area of search near the sector they were surveying the last time we had contact with them and decided to send one of Tarzan’s probes with an infrared camera. Due to the storm, it crashed into the Northern Rim, a mountain range north of the station. It was a risk to take, and worth it! On the last images send by the probe, we could see our two fellows sheltered at the base of the Rim.
A few hours and some minor incidents later, they were in the hands of “Coach”, which is not only our persecutor – I often hear cries of pain from the first floor when she “wants to make us more fit and healthy than when we were on Earth” with her workout – but is also our Health and Safety Officer. Tonight, we will use our only rations of fresh food to celebrate their return and the halfway through our stay on Mars. Tarzan and Patch told us how, after a weary night without sleep, they encountered cowboys. As you know, that’s impossible on Mars. I guess it was tiredness, the low visibility, and queer-shaped rocks. Or maybe they have gone crazy… We will see that in the following days.
Weather: sunny and windy
Temperature: around 25°C
Location: 12 S 4251500 518500
Duration: 140 min
Team: Aurian d’Avernas (crew commander), Nathalie Dupont (health and safety officer), Elke Mergny (crew geologist), Calogero Montedoro (crew biologist)
1. Geophysical survey of the area with a ground penetrating radar
2. Mapping of the area with a drone
3. Test of an omnidirectional telecommunication relay
1. Ground penetrating radar: 6 geophysical profiles collected (area of the survey=15000m²), a second layer of soil was discovered. 3D mapping will be established
2. Fail of the mapping: technical problem with the drone. One of the motor was faulty.
3. Successful identification of limit points at which a talkie walkie can not communicate directly with the Hab in comparison of the irregular relief of the ground. Need to adjust the telecommunication relay parameters.
Journalist report Sol 3 – 170413
Mathieu « Mitch » Vander Donckt
Crew Journalist and Scientist
Crew 178 – UCL to Mars
A new day begins on Mars. I can see the sun rise from the Science Dome, where the windows are the largest of the station. We have more of them in the Habitation Module, looking like boat portholes, giving a nice view of the vicinity of the base but incomparable to the Dome’s 180° panorama. The sunrise in the morning is a predictable event, witnessed hundreds of times by the majority of human beings. Nevertheless, I never came across someone who couldn’t find beauty in it.
It is a bit different on Mars. Same Sun, same phenomenon, but a different impression. We orbit further away from the centre of our solar system than our neighbour the Earth, which makes the Sun look smaller. The composition of the atmosphere is different, and it is disturbing to see how the colour of the sky can change. At the horizon, we can see a violet radiance on top of a red stony landscape. Even with those unusual details, the slow rise of the Sun still somehow feels like a familiar vision, that makes me peaceful.
After the first expedition of yesterday, it is good to have a day in the station. It was an uncommon experience that we will repeat later during our stay on Mars, but we have to prepare more the next time. We were surprised that the spacesuits brought so much restrictions, it wasn’t the same version with which we trained on Earth. Furthermore, the experiment was a failure: the radar malfunctioned when we got to the area of interest. Patch tried to identify and solve the problem when we were in the field to avoid wasting the precious time that was allowed to our expedition, without any success. In the end, we had to get back to the station exhausted and without any results. After working on it for several hours, Patch found a solution and wishes to go out again.
At midday, it was decided that she would go, with Calogero, aka “Tarzan”, Second in Command and Crew Biologist. He wants to make 3D maps of different zones of interest, using very precise probes. Beneficial to everyone, those probes will be more accurate than satellites, and we know for sure that it is hazardous to go outside without a good knowledge of our environment.
They have departed for several hours now. The wind blows harder and harder, we can feel the walls of the base shivering. No new of “Tarzan” and “Patch”. The anxiety rises in the station, as one of the major natural danger during our missions outside are the dust storms. Winds of high speed and no visibility are real life-threatening hazards. Our medium-range communication system is deficient and we lost contact with them. It will be the job of “Boss” to improve our communications by the use of relays, but he still needs to put together the devices and place them.
Still no news. We can just wait and hope for the best.