Daily Summary – May 18th

Crew 181 Daily Summary Report

May 18th, 2017

MDRS Daily Summary Report for SOL 5

Summary Title: Tired Marstronauts

Mission Status: Tiring EVA and Chana Masala

Sol Activity Summary:  Juan made us all blueberry muffins again for breakfast, which was really nice of him. This was followed by a very tiring journey to the URC South Site by Juan, Avishek, and Cassandra (see EVA report for more details). Lunch was made by Charlie and Janet, soup and sloppy joes. Everyone then took a break to work on their own projects or rest.

Olly joined us again and will be staying over to understand the simulation better before he leaves tomorrow. Evening EVA contained four crewmembers on ATVs while Avishek and Cassandra stayed behind to make dinner (and dessert!) Everyone has been loving Avishek’s authentic Indian cuisine, and it makes the whole Hab smell delicious.

Look Ahead Plan: If the weather cooperates, Janet will be using the observatory tonight and everyone else will want a chance to look into the telescope (although Janet will be the only one working it.) Olly is staying with us as well, so hopefully we will do a crew bonding activity in the form of a game or movie.

Anomalies In Work: We are wondering if the Hab printer is out of ink. We will try it later tonight once we submit reports because we need to download the driver. If it is out of ink, we are wondering the possibility of getting more.

Weather: Sunny, lower than average temperature.

Crew Physical Status: Tired and hungry.

EVA: Three crewmembers went to the URC South Site on foot earlier in the day. Four crewmembers went to the Hab Ridge via ATV this evening.

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

Support Requested: Just information about the printer, if possible.

Prepared by Cassandra


Cassandra Klos

Commander, Crew 181

Daily Summary – May 17th

Crew 181 Daily Summary Report

May 17th, 2017

MDRS Daily Summary Report for SOL 4

Summary Title: Dodging Rain for a Successful EVA

Mission Status: Informative meeting with Dr. Shannon followed by a long EVA whilst dodging the rain.

Sol Activity Summary Dr. Shannon came back to her home planet today. She came into simulation so we could have a long discussion about MDRS and what is expected of our Mars crew. This turned into a long interesting conversation among crewmembers about the ideal government we might need on Mars (avoiding Earth politics discussions as much as possible.) We welcomed Olly back to the Hab and prepared for our evening EVA.

Dinner was prepared by Janet and Olly and was delicious! Tuna and couscous! We are now all scrambling to finish our reports! 😉

Look Ahead Plan: We will be submitting an EVA request tomorrow, otherwise we are hoping to have honorary crewmember Olly stay over tomorrow night so he can get the full experience before his final day on Friday.

Anomalies In Work: We reset the hot water heater and still do not have hot water coming out, no matter how much water we pump through. Charlie will talk about this in his engineering report.

Weather: Cloudy, unusually cold and slight rain.

Crew Physical Status:  All are in good spirits – after a slight fall yesterday during EVA, Janet has a bruised forearm that we are monitoring. Cassandra has a mysterious scraped knee. I think we’ll both survive.

EVA: Four crewmembers when to Gateway of Lith.

Reports to be Filed: journalist report, engineering report, EVA report (sent), EVA request (sent), mission statement, and crew headshots (sent).

Support Requested: About the hot water heater, if you have any advice.

Prepared by Cassandra


Cassandra Klos

Commander, Crew 181

Crew Photos – May 17th

Cassie in a kodak moment


Cassie, Charlie, Juan climbing back to the rovers


Charlie, Cassie, and Avishek preparing for return trip


Juan and Olly run outside to capture amazing sunset!


Juan photographing


Charlie and Juan on EVA

Journalist Report – May 17th

Journalist Report 15 May 2017
Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia
Images courtesy of Juan and Avishek
Sol 4
We have officially run out of Red lobster biscuits. Capcom will parachute us more in the coming days.
Today marks a change in the mission of crew 181. Shannon came by to give a planet-sized pep talk. She has returned from getting her PhD. She has also recently discovered yet another dinosaur fossil. Possibly the Utah velociraptor.
Shannon delighted us with her anecdotes and history on MDRS. How to identify a rattlesnake by its diamond shaped head. Informed us that there are plenty more snakes by the dinosaur pit. Apparently this area is littered with dinosaur remains. She told us about the future plans of the HAB, including converting a helicopter body into a parking area for the all terrain vehicles. When using the ATV’s, that we should not do like previous crews who park too close to each other on missions, “you’ve got the whole damn planet” to park.
Last night we saw the film Alien. It was interesting to see how our experiences here at the base resemble the Communications between the captain and the crew, the airlock system, how the characters in the film shared their futuristic-looking meals together, the similarities of their suits to ours and the dynamics of their Extra Vehicular Activities.
It’s interesting to see how the characters rely on the computer for questions, like us. One of the characters asks the Siri-like computer, “what are my chances of surviving?” (the alien of course) and the computer replied, does not compute.
As a group we definitely have more clarity on the opportunities here and have more freedom to structure our mission in pursuit of our goals.
Then came our EVA.
It was absolutely exceptional. Charlie, Cassie, Juan and Avishek took the ATV’s an hour long drive passing through every variety of terrain. Hills of dirt, plains of rock, curving roads between jagged boulders. Video games aspire to do what we experienced today. Too many scenic moments to stop and take a photo.  
At one point, the horizon went forever both left and right only to be interrupted by an astronaut on a rover and a snowy peaked mountain dominating the distance.
We looked like we were on horsebacks with headlights in between red hills. I wish someone recorded my reaction, just pure laughter and delight on the rover. Pictures cannot do the experience justice. In this desert terrain, our reliance on each other as a team becomes even more apparent. The red dirt, the dramatic jagged rock formations the more one felt to be absolutely roving on Mars. The bone chilling wind numbed our fingers.
Riding back to the HAB was much faster because we all had more experience on the rovers. The white dome peaked through the terrain eventually. Olly’s voice upon our arrival made the communications with the HAB upon our approach seem very official. Like the control tower at an airport. Our expedition concluded with a very healthy dinner prepared by Olly and Janet.

Crew Photos – May 16th

Avishek planting


View from the top


Top of Hab Ridge


In the airlock


Charlie with headset


Charlie putting on gloves

Journalist Report – May 16th

Crew 181 Journalist Report 16 May 2017

Journalist Report 16 May 2017

Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist and Artist in Residence

Images by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist and Artist in Residence

Sol 3

Our EVA is planned for late afternoon so we got to sleep in!!!  We didn’t actually sleep in that late, but just knowing we could was a wonderful luxury. 

Speaking of EVAs, let me describe the process of getting out the door on Mars.  It starts with figuring out what to wear under your suit … light enough to keep cool (not really possible on Mars, but a goal) and heavy enough to keep the suits from scratching.  Our suits are bright orange with lots of pockets … handy for holding radios, lens caps, and rock samples.  Once you have the suit on and zipped up, you take a radio and headset, check that they work, and secure the headset with a bandanna or headband (also helps keep hair out of your face … no pushing hair out of your face or scratching your nose inside a helmet).  Next is the air circulating backpack.  Someone helps you into the backpack, which weighs about 30 pounds, and brings the helmet ring down over your head.  Once strapped into the backpack, a helmet is placed over your head and locked into place on the ring.  Two hoses from the backpack are screwed into the helmet to circulate air.  Gloves on and you’re ready to go.  Into the airlock for simulated pressurization (in our sim, pressurization is achieved in one minute) and then out the hatch door and you’re walking on Mars!

Daily Summary – May 16th

Crew 181 Daily Summary Report

May 16th, 2017


MDRS Daily Summary Report for SOL 3


Summary Title: Plants, Mice, and EVAs, Oh My!

Mission Status: Quiet day of working on our own projects with a satisfying EVA right before sunset.

Sol Activity Summary:  Juan made breakfast of blueberry pancakes for the crew. We all worked on our own tasks for a majority of the day. Charlie worked on checking the water heater, but we still do not have hot water (he will describe more information in his engineering report). The front deck is also sturdy thanks to Charlie’s engineering. We have also been calculating our water usage and feel somewhat confident that we could live another week on our current supply. We seem to be using less than the previous crew, but then again, not many of us have taken showers. A more concrete answer about the next water shipment will be needed in the coming days.

The afternoon was quiet between us all, though we did have a nice discussion about economic sustainability, automation, and how that will affect Mars in the years to come. Avishek planted some seeds in the GreenHab and I recycled some lettuce and chives roots to see if we can perpetuate new growth. We also caught our first Mars vermin, a little mouse, in the Hab kitchen. Janet and Juan worked on drawing and editing their photos and videos.

EVA today consisted of Charlie, Janet, Avishek, and Olly climbing and exploring the Hab Ridge. They had a great time and all arrived back to the Hab safe and sound except for one UV filter on Janet camera (luckily they are inexpensive and she brought a spare.) More information will be in Janet’s journalism report.

Look Ahead Plan: Avishek is making us dinner, then after we will have a bit of crew bonding in the form of a science fiction movie (specific movie – to be determined.) We are requesting an EVA tomorrow using the ATVs for the first time.

Anomalies In Work: None at the present time.

Weather: Sunny, a little cool, wind picked up during the afternoon and died down early during the evening hours. A nice change from last night

Crew Physical Status:  All are feeling okay – starting to get into a rhythm of work and sleep.

EVA: Hab Ridge explored by four crew members. Report to follow.

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

Support Requested: None at the present time.


Prepared by Cassandra



Cassandra Klos

Commander, Crew 181

Crew Photos – May 15th

Cassie and Charlie on First EVA


First EVA team


Looking for bones


Looking for samples


On the way back to the Hab


Suiting up in the Hab

Journalist Report – May 15th

Journalist Report 15 May 2017
Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia
Images by Juan and Janet
Sol 2
The morning started off with the first EVA of the mission. The astronauts shuffled out of the airlock than Avishek and I could photograph them. We stepped outside and monitored their progress from the science dome. The window in that building frames their explorations quite scenically.
We split our allotted EVA time in to two time slots so we could all get a chance to feel out the suits and test out the terrain.
The first team was Charlie, Cassie, and Janet. They found a dinosaur bone (yes, seriously)
The second team would later find no dinosaur bones.
After the first EVA, I made lunch for everyone. Rice, chicken, and re-hydrated peas. Cooking transports one back home. It is very much an Earth activity. If one doesn’t look out the windows too often, the HAB feels like a very fancy space base out of some child’s imagination. But it’s real! Charlie fixes the Air (bless him) in the suits. Over lunch he drops some more knowledge about drones, rocket ships, and combustion on other worlds.
It’s when you take a peak outside the circle windows at the intense landscape and the distant imposing mountains that makes the homeyness of the HAB even more welcome and bizarre. It’s like we are at sea. Especially with the strong wind gusts, it feels like the ocean.
Olly Burn landed today with the help of Cassie. Olly is a British photographer come to pursue a personal project with us here at Mars. Olly’s ship left London, Earth a couple of days ago and was visible in our atmosphere around mid day.
We introduced ourselves to Olly and got to know about his work. Olly showed us his Hasselblad camera with a 50-year old lens identical to the ones used on the Moon!
Later this evening, Olly, Avishek, Cassie and I suited up. We went in the airlock. It was very much a moment resembling crews packed in the Apollo ships. A cool diffuse light poured through the front window of the airlock. The walkie-talkie’s beeping and the muffled voice of our comrade Charlie made the experience more real and more serious. The airlock door heaves open with the wind and we step into a bright wash of light and a windy world.
Covering the terrain was similar to exploring the bottom of the sea. The land is like rubber at parts. The squishy fragmented sand is unlike anything I’ve encountered in nature in New York or Miami back on Earth. Strange egg-like rocks, immovable, jut out of the red land.
The sky was overcast and menacing. The wind picked up on the hills. Climbing the final hill in front of the HAB became intense when just like in the beginning of the Martian movie, the wind started picking up dramatically. It would topple you off your feet. The top of the hill became a wind tunnel. Cassie signals for us to return to the base.
Charlie and Janet have chili with re-hydrated beef and impressive biscuits. Olly joins us for dinner.

Daily Summary Report – May 15th

Crew 181 Daily Summary Report

May 15th, 2017

MDRS Daily Summary Report for SOL 2

Summary Title: We Woke Up on Mars!

Mission Status: Simulation began today and we added a temporary 6th crew member, Olly Burn.

Sol Activity Summary:  Morning EVA was successful as Janet, Charlie, and Cassandra believe they located a Mars lifeform (dinosaur) bone not too far from the Hab near the Marble Ritual. We also dubbed a new landmark – “Cosmonaut’s Underwear” which just appears to be a large pair of underwear covered and partially buried by Mars dust. Lunch was prepared by Juan, a meal of rehydrated chicken breast, peas, and rice. Cassandra escorted honorary crew member Olly Burn to the MDRS facility, and he was promptly given a tour and introduced to the existing crew. Evening EVA consisted of Juan, Avishek, Olly, and Cassandra. Very windy conditions but we all had an interesting and tiring journey exploring the area around. We revisited “Cosmonaut’s Underwear.”

Look Ahead Plan: After coms end, we are doing our nightly chores and watching a movie together. We are submitting a request for EVA tomorrow to visit the Hab Ridge. We are also starting to plants in the grow lights tomorrow.

Anomalies In Work: The air flow features in our spacesuits were not working, along with several walky-talky headsets. Charlie worked diligently all day on fixing the air flow features before the evening EVA, with much success! He was able to fix the air flow features in five out of six suits! We have not been able to fix the walky-talky headsets, but it has not affected EVAs too badly.

Another issue is with the front airlock porch. It appears that the wind has been so strong that when facing the Hab, the right side of the porch is partially collapsing. The underbelly of the Hab is also shedding siding and the tunnels are losing some of their covers. We also noticed that our air vent at the top of the Hab (the piece of wood) is warping and has been battered against the roof.

Weather: Sunny, wind picked up around noon.

Crew Physical Status:  All are feeling great!

EVA: We traveled to Marble Ritual and the surrounding areas. Aforementioned, we discovered a new marker – “Cosmonaut’s Underwear.”

Reports to be Filed: journalist report, engineering report, EVA request, and crew biographies and photos to follow.

Support Requested:  We are still awaiting from an answer from Shannon regarding our next water supply. Also curious if CapCom has any advice about how to protect the Hab and surrounding buildings from wind.

Prepared by Cassandra


Cassandra Klos

Commander, Crew 181