GreenHab Report #2 – May 23rd

Greenhab Report

Avishek Ghosh

Scientist and Greenhab Officer

On the day I arrived at Hanksville, I asked Commander Cassie about feasibilities of growing plants by utilizing Greenhab facilities as, she was also interested growing plants and vegetables.  Although a typical Greenhab structure is developed at MDRS campus but, installation of proper equipment and materials are essentially required in order to transform it into an active working Lab growing plant during crew sessions.

On first day, I have seen some of the equipment such as Water tubs and tanks, watering systems are available but have to be configured properly. The equipment such as weather control and monitoring system, air circulation system, are necessary to create a perfect atmosphere inside the Greenhab. But, Initially I started with some basic step to grow plant and understand the effect of inside atmosphere of the temporary Greenhab placed inside the Science Lab.

Figure 3: Greenhab in Science lab at MDRS

Soil collection, sampling and preparation:

On my first attempt of growing plants in MDRS, I was encouraged by the crews with some thoughtful ideas through the discussions. Then, I have figured out the most feasible way to collect soil sample and plants during EVA’s. Commander Cassie and all other crews agreed with the initiative of growing plant inside the small Greenhab lab. So, I started collecting different soil sample from the surrounding are of our Hab.  Everyone was eagerly waiting to see the process of tree plantation and Janet was enthusiastically took a step forward of helping me with the process. She asked me if she can start filming me working inside the science lab during the process. It was an incredible opportunity for me to be part of a project carried out by a journalist. I auspiciously agreed with her decision of filming the session. During this session, I had interesting discussion with the crews on projecting our ideas towards developing a functional Greenhab in MDRS. Sometimes we use to have nice conversation through expanding the barrier of our imagination during lunch and dinner about how we can grow green plants vegetables on MARS in future. We also tried to understand the psychological effect of having a backyard garden with MARS habitat resembling an earth like atmosphere which might give home-like feeling during our stays on MARS. We started creating some artificial designs while travelling through our imagination towards creating ides of human settlement on MARS.

Phase 1, 15th & 16th May: I started collecting different soil samples and rocks during EVA’s and placed them inside small black containers. Then I have decided to choose existing plants that are available on surrounding area of MDRS crew Hab and brought them inside to grow under a proper treatment. In this duration I prepared the soil samples with (20 % nutrients) and without nutrients then placed the plants accordingly. Another soil sample is prepared in a medium size pot container by mixing two different soils samples 50 % each then I poured 10ml water on each prepared soil in small black container and medium pot as well. After the preparation, I placed the black containers with plants inside the small temporary Greenhab (UV light).

Figure 4 : Soil Samples

Phase 2, 17th & 18th  May: Although most of the plants and soil was collected from surrounding area of the hab, so the transformation or changes much not observed in plant growth  but  I observed the plants with nutrients are wilting a little more but the plants without nutrients are growing naturally and looks very normal. I continually poured 10ml water on each of the plan every 2 days.

I discussed with the crews about this little progress that I made in this process. Everything looks very cool there inside the Green hab under UV light. The crew were happy to see the progress of growing plants as they also continuously visited the sciences lab making attempt to see the situations of plants.


Phase 3, 19th & 20th May: During this phase, I observed the plant which is put in mixed soil has almost died, similarly the plants without nutrients are wilting and bending down, it seems stems do not have enough strength to hold the leaves. But the plants without nutrients are growing good with solid strength in stems.

Figure 5 : Plants (a) with and (b) without Nutrients

Table 1: Plant growth in different soil


Figure 6:  Fungus has grown in Greenhab at MDRS

Phase 4, 21st May: When I woke up in the morning, I walked through the science lab and curiously watched inside, look! What I found there? I observed a type of white fungus have been surprisingly grown up across the adjacent and surrounding area to the plant (without nutrients). Although it has seen unexpectedly but, it’s amazing to see such algae fungus growing inside the Greenhab atmosphere alongside of other plants while a few of the plants are actually wilting and fading inside the same atmosphere.

Seed from Crew 180: Before my arrival at MDRS, Crew 180 made contact with us to discuss about the Hab activities and if we can take care of the Physalis they have placed inside the Greenhab. So, I use to take a look at  the natural growth in the seeds planted inside Greenhab by Crew 180. I wanted to see the natural growth in the plants without having any further interference with the process. Initially a tiny green sprouting was observed and then it naturally grown up even the leaves are taking shape over time.

Table 2: Seed growth under Greenhab


Astronomy Report – May 23th

Astronomy Report

Name:  Janet Biggs     Crew: 181
date: Sol 10 (23 May 2017)

Sky Conditions: Clear

Wind Conditions: Calm

Observation Start Time: 22:40

Observation End Time: 01:30

Summary: We finally got our two-star alignment!!!  We had a great night viewing and imaging.  Still lots to learn, but are totally excited about our first real steps!  Our entire crew came out and we took turns viewing and trying different exposures.

We used the Telerad, 9 x 50 finderscope,  Autoguide Scope, and laser pointer to find our two-star alignment.  Once we confirmed ALIGN SUCCES, we slewed to Jupiter.  Using the 25 mm eyepiece we were able to see three moons (As we are novices, please correct any incorrect identifications that we make).

We attached my Cannon 5D Mark III to the Autoguide Scope using the adapter Peter recommended.  We photographed Jupiter using a wide range of ISO settings and time exposures.  We then slewed to find M81.  Our two-star alignment may have been off (we only used three calibration stars), or it may have been our inexperience, or lack of magnification as we had my camera on the Autoguide rather than an eyepiece, but we never clearly identified M81 (although we got some interesting photos trying).  We then slewed to Saturn.  We were able to image Saturn, but struggled with a good focus on my camera.

We are eager to get back out there!

Info on attached images:

Jupiter, ISO 200, 5 sec.

Saturn, ISO 2000, 30 sec.

Attempt at M81, ISO 10000, 30 sec.

Objects Viewed: Jupiter, M81 (attempted), and Saturn

Problems Encountered: No problems, other than focusing my camera.


First image from the mission as we look for M81


Three of Jupiter’s moons



Journalist Report – May 23rd

Journalist Report 23 May 2017

Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia

Images courtesy of Cassie and Juan

Sol 10


Avishek’s ship launched from the Green River space center at at 00:50 AM and is currently en route to London, Earth. We are down to four crewmembers.

We made real scrambled eggs, with real bacon. Lunch is pasta with meat sauce, with chicken melt quesadillas. Yes, we are ambitious.

Today is depressurization day. We have not planned any EVA’s for today to catch up on our responsibilities we’ve been falling behind, like sleeping followed by more sleeping.

Yesterday was crazy busy at MDRS. We were out of simulation. The HAB was the site of a media visit with a sizeable army of camera men and television people. They overwhelmed our space toilet facilities.

Janet’s been checking the telescope to see if her and Charlie can get it up and running to see Jupiter this evening. Today the crew filled out a Mars Census/Customs forms. Everyone was out in the observatory. Charlie and Janet are aiming the telescope at Jupiter, and trying to photograph some galaxies. Charlie choses from a list of galaxies on my stargazing app to aim the telescope at. Cassie took some spectacular long exposure photographs of us in the telescope dome at a mind-bending ISO of 25,000! I brought out every color laser I own.


Please enjoy a snippet of our daily banter.

C:  How’s the toilet doing?

J:   She’s fine.


C:  She’s been feeling crappy all morning.

*more laughter*

Daily Summary – May 23rd

Crew 181 Daily Summary Report

May 23rd, 2017


MDRS Daily Summary Report for SOL 10


Summary Title: The Laziest Day on Mars

Mission Status: The laziest and most uneventful day on Mars so far, filled wth Catan and a real breakfast.

Sol Activity Summary: Morning EVA was great for Charlie and Avishek.

Sleeping in is a luxury on Mars. Luckily, we all did that this morning after our very long day with Ozzy Osbourne yesterday. We are down to a crew of four, as we dropped off Avishek to his Earth shuttle last night as well. The mood has changed, but our mission remains the same.

Always something new on Mars. We were dealing with less than pleasant smells yesterday afternoon, and today it became very apparent we had a toilet problem. Charlie (with radio help from Dr. Shannon) was able to come up with a temporary fix that still allows us to all “do our business.” After Charlie’s literally dirty work, we decided to break into our real egg reserve to make REAL scrambled eggs. Charlie deserved it! And with a few slices of bacon from Crew 180, some tortillas and half of hamburger buns, and some strawberry jam, we had ourselves a real Earth breakfast!

Naps and more writing continued through the afternoon until we were met up again with meal time: chicken and cheese quesadillas and left over spaghetti and meat sauce. Now we are playing more Catan before it gets dark enough to us the observatory.

Look Ahead Plan: EVAs planned for tomorrow. Observatory time tonight or a movie. A few of us really want to watch Hidden Figures, so I think that’ll be the next movie pick!

Anomalies In Work: We are having major leakage of the toilet sewage tank under the Hab and into the EVA prep space. Charlie will has sent a special report and I assume more will be in his engineering report.

Weather: Sunny and cool, not windy.

Crew Physical Status: Well rested and relaxed.

EVA: none

Reports to be Filed: journalist report, EVA report, and EVA request.

Support Requested: None at the moment.


Prepared by Cassandra



Cassandra Klos

Commander, Crew 181

Crew Photos – May 22nd

Ozzy, Jack, and Crew 181


After the deluge


The Right Stuff



Film Crew and Mars Crew


Commander Cassie and Crewmember Avishek

Journalist Report – May 22nd

Journalist Report 22 May 2017

Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist

Sol 9


You’ll never believe who came to visit us today on Mars … Ozzy Ozbourne and his son Jack!  Who knew that we’d have celebrity guests here on Mars! 

It was a long and arduous journey for them to travel all the way from earth just to visit us, but they did!  And they brought a film crew with them.  We’ve been so isolated up here on Mars that it seemed like suddenly hundreds of people descended upon us.  It was actually just over a dozen and they came with their own catering crew, leaving us to fend for ourselves in our freeze-dried pantry.  They bustled about with honking cameras, boom mikes, asking us to sign stacks of releases, and wiring us and our Hab up for sound and with GoPros.  The amount of equipment made our crew’s tech table of a few days ago seem pretty miniscule.  We’re not supposed to say what this is all for, but suffice it to say that MDRS and Crew 181 may show up on your TV screens sometime in the future.

While it was exciting, it was also disrupting.  We had to go out of sim for the day.  We and the Mars Society are eager to get information out about this amazing experiment being conducted up here on the Red Planet!  PR is part of every mission, so we knew there would probably be a break in sim, but it was eerie stepping out the front airlock without a spacesuit.  Just in the week we’ve spent here on Mars, we’ve become conditioned that no suit outside means no survival! 

Iron Man Ozzy was super nice, as was his son Jack, and they were truly interested in both the science and the art being conducted here.  We even had a private concert on harmonica from the Black Sabbath lead man himself! 

The experience left a lasting effect on us all … including on our toilet.  The history of toilets here on Mars has been a trial and error kind of thing … from wax linings meant to burn each individual deposit, to low flow which required multiple flushing during the act.  Rumor has it one model even exploded!  Ours has a trusty affair, but not necessarily meant to handle a large film crew. We thought it was just an overtaxed odor problem, but we have since learned that it is a leak.  We are all on hold … literally! … until we figure out the problem.  Stay tuned…

Sadly, we have lost one of our crewmembers.  Avishek had to head back to the UK and his PhD program.  He asked Cassie if he could go on one more EVA, so Cassie, Charlie, and Avishek warmed up the AVTs early in the morning and struck off for one last sunrise EVA before the Ozbournes arrived.

After Ozbournes, crew, and caterers were packed up and blasted off back to Earth, Cassie and Juan transported Avisheck to the location of his launch (about an hour and a half away).  We are all sad to see Avishek go.  He has been a great crewmember and friend.  We have all enjoyed his conversation, innovation, research, and cooking!!!  We wish him a safe and speedy return to Earth.

Daily Summary – May 22nd

Crew 181 Daily Summary Report

May 22nd, 2017


MDRS Daily Summary Report for SOL 9


Summary Title: A Red Mars Day of Black Sabbath Proportions

Mission Status: Ozzy and Jack Osbourne invade Mars.

Sol Activity Summary: Morning EVA was great for Charlie and Avishek.

Around noon we started to be invaded by a camera crew. The rest of the daylight was dedicated to giving Ozzy and Jack Osbourne a tour of our Habitat. All hands on deck for a media visit of epic proportions! Jack tried some freeze-dried goodies and Ozzy scoffed at the smell of powdered eggs.

We presented them with honorary crewmember patches, name tape, and country of origin patches. Juan, Cassandra, Ozzy, and Jack then went on a short EVA. Ozzy soon “aborted the mission” as the helmet was a bit too warm for his liking! Jack, Cassandra, and Juan found a rock sample and then re-entered the Hab and finished filming.

After the camera crew left, we talked with Dr. Shannon while Avishek packed up his belongings. We then used a large multi-person rover (the Hab truck) to drive Avishek back to the shuttle docking station in Green River. It was sad to say good-bye to a crewmember before our mission is complete, but sometimes Earth activities can’t wait.

Look Ahead Plan: No EVAa tomorrow, we will have a more relaxing day of writing and projects.

Anomalies In Work: None at the moment.

Weather: Sunny and cool.

Crew Physical Status: Feeling great!

EVA: Morning EVA was to Galileo Road and URC South Site.

Reports to be Filed: journalist report, EVA report, and EVA request.

Support Requested: None at the moment.


Prepared by Cassandra



Cassandra Klos

Commander, Crew 181

Astronomy Report – May 21st

Crew 181 Astronomy Report 21 May 2017

Name:  Janet Biggs     Crew: 181
Date: Sol 7 (20 May 2017)
Sky Conditions: Clear

Wind Conditions:

Observation Start Time: 22:30

Observation End Time: 24:30

Summary: Since I am a novice, the learning curve is a bit slower for me than anticipated.  Our Engineer Charlie has been working with me, which has been helpful.  We are both reading guides and manuals during the day to familiarizing ourselves with the equipment.  We are still trying to set our two-star alignment.  We were able to view and center Mizor last night in the finderscope.  Although it did not appear centered in the Telrad.

We are still having trouble focusing the telescopes 2” eyepiece.  If you can give us any tips here it would be appreciated as we cannot complete a two-star alignment until we master focusing.

I was able to take some video images of Charlie working inside the Observatory … one of my goals for my mission!

We are eager to try again, but last night was too cloudy and we had to get the station ready for our media guest.  Tonight, we have a media visit from Ozzy Ozbourne so I’m not sure if we will be able to try any viewing.

Objects Viewed: Mizar and Alcor

Problems Encountered: No problems, other than the above mentioned focusing problem.

Daily Summary – May 21st

Crew 181 Daily Summary Report

May 21st, 2017


MDRS Daily Summary Report for SOL 8


Summary Title: A Rainy Day on Mars

Mission Status: A day full of Settlers of Catan and getting too excited about a potential thunderstorm.

Sol Activity Summary: Janet and Charlie had another late night troubleshooting the observatory. Luckily, they are starting to make progress! In the early AM, Janet, Charlie, and Avishek went to Gallieo Rd (see EVA report for more).

Around 2-3pm, we endured our first Martian rain storm that brought heavy winds. All crewmembers took advantage of the tunnel system to get a sense of the storm and make sure there wasn’t too much damage afflicted to the Hab and the buildings. We then had tuna melt quesadillas and played Settlers of Catan while the storm raged on.

After a few rounds of Catan, Charlie had remained undefeated for the day and nobody wanted to play a third round. We checked our internet and realized our usage was up (still unclear what caused this). We are now writing our reports that will be sent in the early AM tomorrow.

Look Ahead Plan: More observatory tonight if it’s clear enough. We will be out of sim tomorrow (aside from a morning EVA) as we prepare for our Martian invaders, Ozzy and Jack! We will not have reports tomorrow, as it will be a tiring day for all involved. Avishek also leaves us tomorrow, which we are all sad to lose a crewmember mid way through our sim (but PhD work can’t wait, apparently.)

Anomalies In Work: Water heater continues to not work (more info in the engineering report). We also lost Internet connection around noon and continue to not have it. We are unsure if this is because of an earlier service manual for the water heater that Charlie downloaded, or if someone accidentally had something connected to wifi. There does not appear to be any issue with the router, but we have tried all options with it. During the rainstorm, we realized a panel of the Hab seems to be flapping when winds from the north gust against it, creating a loud heavy sound.

Weather: Partly cloudy all day leading up a windy and rainy storm around 2-3pm.

Crew Physical Status: Good spirits all around, a little sad that Avishek will be leaving us tomorrow.

EVA: Morning EVA went to Galileo Rd. Afternoon EVA was canceled.

Reports to be Filed: journalist report, engineering report, EVA report, and EVA request.

Support Requested: Unless you can send out a Martian technician to fix or replace the water heater, we do not have any requests.


Prepared by Cassandra



Cassandra Klos

Commander, Crew 181

Journalist Report – May 21st

Journalist Report 21 May 2017

Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia

Images courtesy of Janet and Juan

Sol 8

Janet is the inventor of Tuna melt quesadillas on Mars. So we’ve named a mountain range after her in homage.

The morning EVA was an adventure to a spectacular area called Galileo Road according to the crew that went. So spectacular, that Avishek was invested in going back for his final EVA this afternoon.

The inside of the GreenHAB was 188° Fahrenheit. I immediately rushed to tell the crew, where several of us rushed into the GreenHAB to experience the surface of Mars without a space suit. Janet, Cassie, and I turned it into an artist sauna. 188° feels like a pressing yet comfortable heat. It makes one feel sleepy. One could fall asleep and stay asleep permanently in the GreenHAB. One is slowly roasted in the soothing warmth of the concentrated desert sun.

We have rescheduled the evening EVA because a riveting thunderstorm rolled up on the HAB leaving muddy ground not apt for astronaut ATV rides. The sky was invaded by dark gray clouds. The mountains vanished vanished from the sky. The back airlock door became nearly impossible to open with the winds. We certainly became concerned, if Charlie rushes out concerned, then we take the trouble seriously.  The wind pummeled the East side of the HAB, where a panel started making a horrible noise because it had become loose. The tunnels and observatory dome swayed in the wind. The weather is back and forth today, beautiful morning, cloudy 188° in the GreenHAB weather at midday, followed by thunderstorm and howling winds, and now we’re back to beautiful skies in the evening.

The meat of the day was in a 6-hour long marathon of the land building game CATAN. It’s essentially monopoly and Risk combined, but better than both. So invigorating was the game that as soon as we ended the first one, we immediately started a new one. Charlie won both times. After the first game, an alliance was formed between Janet, Cassie and myself to put an end to his tyrannical expansion. At a decisive moment in the game, Cassie laid down roads in a key location on the game board, forever more after that moment the history of the game was split into pre-Cassie and post-Cassie’s colonization.

Janet is the expert on Musk observatory domes on the entire planet. She has been troubleshooting the telescope for days now, with the help of Dave from ground control. Charlie has been troubleshooting the water heater with the greatest effort as well. Fortunately, he did have the pleasure of winning two games of CATAN in a row.