Crew 167 Sol Summaries

From Marspedia
Jump to: navigation, search

April 3, 2016

Hi Mission Support,

Sol Summary Report (SSR) for 03APR2016

SOL: 1

Person filling out Report: Amanda Sansom

Summary Title: Hello… from the inside

Mission Status: running on the CAT, All the other systems are nominal

Sol Activity Summary:

The Highlanders have landed on Mars! After saying goodbye to Crew 166 we settled in and started working. The orientation EVA was completed. Beechner made bread (his mom will be so proud)! Clark made tortilla soup for lunch with freeze-dried chicken. Yummy!

Daily lessons:

1. You can’t move in the suits but it forces you to have excellent posture

2. Hoodoos are amazing

3. Our team is an awesome group of scholars that are all ready to explore Mars!

Anomalies in work: All went well

Weather: Sunny and warm all day long!

Look ahead plan: Geology and Biology EVA tomorrow so the agar plates are made and ready to go

Crew Physical Status: Healthy and Happy!!

EVA: Hoodoo, gypsum fields, desert pavement, and creek beds explored

April 4, 2016

Sol Summary Report (SSR) for 04APR2016

SOL: 2

Person filling out Report: Amanda Sansom

Summary Title: Hot Nights in the Hab!

Mission Status: running on the CAT, All the other systems are functioning normally

Sol Activity Summary:

Greetings from Mars! We now know that the hab is really warm at night. When April is hot you know everyone else is on fire! Day 2 has been a great adventure. Jesse Stanford started our day off with his soothing wonderful music. We then learned a great deal on our geology EVA. In 2 hours we explored rocks, took measurements, and learned how to use a Brunton compass. Strike and dip!! We have also taken samples to see what kind of gross bacteria we humans have brought to the hab. We had some “darn good” chili for lunch thanks to Clark. To make the day even better, we planted some tomatoes that hopefully future Martians can enjoy!

Daily lessons:

1. Crew 167A is hot!

2. To be a fossil, something must be 10,000 years old

3. Gravel includes boulders, cobbles, and pebbles

4. Hoodoos are still amazing

5. Science is FUN!

Anomalies in work: None. We ROCKED at exploring rocks!

Weather: Sunscreen needed today on Mars!

Look ahead plan: Beechner’s morning for music and some in-hab research!

Crew Physical Status: Hot, Healthy, Happy, and a little tired!!

EVA: rock exploration and growing bacteria!

Thank you,

Amanda Sansom

April 5, 2016

Sol Summary Report (SSR) for 05APR2016

SOL: 3

Person filling out Report: Amanda Sansom

Summary Title: The Wind Beneath My Wings

Mission Status: On target and sticking to the schedule!

Sol Activity Summary:

It is just another routine day on Mars. Beechner has had his music on all day. Most of his music is soothing and calms the hab. All six crewmembers enjoyed breakfast and lunch together today. Everyone is getting comfortable with one another and sharing more with the group. After lunch a crew of three went out on a mission to explore Mars and do some research. We have transplanted the radishes to bigger pots to see if they will grow any better. A few of the crewmembers have showered (so we smell nice) and the others are still in need of a shower! April’s daily routine has worked out well. We are all settled in.

Daily lessons:

1. Freeze dried veggies are not bad with garlic and cheese

2. The hab was not built with short people in mind

3. The Awesome Overlook is truly AWESOME!!

4. Crew 167A is windblown and maybe a little stinky

Anomalies in work: Windy!!

Weather: Sunny with a chance of wind

Look ahead plan: Amanda’s music tomorrow!! Also, the chemistry EVA is on the schedule.

Crew Physical Status: Healthy, Happy, and maybe a little smelly!

EVA: Sample collection for science!

April 6, 2016

SOL: 4

Person filling out Report: Amanda Sansom

Summary Title: My belly button is really really something”

Mission Status: Loving life on Mars and staying on top of objectives!

Sol Activity Summary:

Sol 4 on Mars has been quite an adventure. We began the day with Adele, songs about belly buttons, and bringing some Pop Culture into this group. Clark made us a yummy batch of pancakes this morning! After breakfast Jesse, Dakota, and Amanda headed out for the Chemistry EVA and to collect samples for their research. Martian antelope were encountered on the journey!! After the long journey, Clark made lunch and SPACE BROWNIES! The afternoon was spent with a little R&R and bonding before time for reports.

Daily lessons:

1. Pancakes are better on Mars

2. There is life out there

3. Hoodoos are terrific

4. Crew 167A is in great spirits after some chocolate!!

Anomalies in work: Long walks and hot days on Mars

Weather: We’re hot then we’re cold

Look ahead plan: Tunes by Clark in the AM. Also, the mystery EVA (better known as RMR EVA)

Crew Physical Status: Healthy, Happy, and full of brownies!

EVA: It’s a surprise for science and education!

Amanda Sansom

Chemist and HSO

April 7, 2016

SOL: 5

Person filling out Report: Amanda Sansom

Summary Title: Knock, knock, knock… Mission Support

Mission Status: Getting tired but all good!

Sol Activity Summary:

Today is Sol 5 on Mars. After a fun evening of playing Dixit and stargazing the crew was dragging a bit this morning. We began the day with Clark’s well thought out music to wake everyone up gradually. We had self-serve for breakfast this morning but Clark made us lunch that consisted of freeze-dried roast beef, mashed potatoes, and peas. The mystery EVA #7 was completed by Jesse, Dakota, and myself. We got to strike and dip again! After about an hour we returned to find ourselves locked out. I didn’t realize April was serious when she threatened to lock me out in her report last night! After some time of banging on the door we were saved by Clark and Beechner! Mystery EVA #8 was then completed by April, Clark, and Beechner. Upon their return, we made sure they were allowed in the hab in a timely manner (like nice fellow crew members should).

Daily lessons:

1. Freeze-dried roast beef looks vaguely like canned dog food

2. Even introverts need a hug after a few days

3. Measuring layers of rock is fun

4. Crew 167A is getting tired but still having fun on Mars!!

Anomalies in work: Nose itches that can’t be scratched in space suits!

Weather: Lots of sunscreen used and water drank

Look ahead plan: Songs by Dakota in the AM. Chemistry EVA in the morning and sample collection in the afternoon!!

Crew Physical Status: Happy, a little tired, and kinda smelly still!

EVA: Strike and dip and a mystery solved!

Amanda Sansom

Chemist and HSO

April 8, 2016

SOL: 6

Person filling out Report: Amanda Sansom

Summary Title: Hoodoo You Love

Mission Status: All systems go for departure tomorrow

Sol Activity Summary:

It’s a bittersweet Sol 6. Tonight is our last night together in the Hab. Over the week we have become a little family. Crew 167A is just amazing! Today April, Beechner, and Clark completed the Chemistry EVA while Jesse, Dakota, and I made lunch. We had it ready upon their return and we all had lunch together around the table. After lunch Jesse, Dakota, and I headed out for some sample collection. Today is cooler, cloudy, and windy. We even had a few raindrops! I am glad we have all had the opportunity to spend time viewing Jupiter and several stars on previous nights. There will be no star gazing tonight!

What an amazing opportunity this has been! Although we are all ready to go home and see our family and friends, it is sad to be leaving the hab. We have learned so much this week and have had a great time doing it! We have officially left our print as Crew 167A of MDRS.

MDRS lessons:

1. MDRS is an amazing learning opportunity for students and faculty at MCC

2. You can eat expired freeze-dried food and not get sick! J

3. Science is way cool!!

4. Short people do not fit well in the space suits

5. Travel to Mars is in our future!

6. It is okay to be smelly and unshaven on Mars

7. Hoodoo I love… Crew 167A

Anomalies in work: Tears in our eyes as we complete our last full day at MDRS

Weather: Cloudy with a lot of wind

Look ahead plan: Our commander and chief will share her very secretive play list with us in the morning. We will prepare for the oncoming crew and pack to leave

Crew Physical Status: Healthy, Hairy, and pretty SMELLY!

EVA: It’s for science!!

Amanda Sansom

Chemist and HSO

April 9, 2016

SOL: 1

Person filling out Report: Drew Canham

Summary Title: Houston, Beechner Needs a Shower...

Mission Status: The "Right Stuff" Have Arrived.

Sol Activity Summary:

We're super excited to have finally arrived. We trained today with our peer Crew 167A from McLennan Community College. We love them, but are happy to have the planet to ourselves. We did pick up another crew member, Jonathan Beechner, who served as Engineer and Geologist on the first crew. He will serve as Geologist and GreenHab officer. He spent his day out-of-sim enjoying a nice meal, doing laundry and taking a well-deserved shower.

Today has been wonderful-we visited with our Lonestar Highlander friends, received training and visited with Director Rupert, who is partying with us tonight (soup and pizza-nothing too crazy on Mars tonight).

The scenery is amazing, and I am happy to be back on Mars, as this is my second mission (hoping for more)!

MDRS lessons:

1. It takes more than one engineer to assemble the water pitcher.

2. We have some wonderful, and some very interesting items in the food pantry.

4. We solved our first emergency with tweezers; I feel like MacGyver

5. We skipped number three.

Anomalies in work: We are very consistent so far, and have not noticed any anomalies. Perhaps we just aren't that observant.

Weather: It was windier than West Texas today (for those not in the know, that is super windy.)

Look ahead plan: We are excited to learn what "chickenish" and "beefish" taste like...

Crew Physical Status: We are one happy family today and are pleased to have adopted Beecher-he is awesome.

EVA: It's all about the orientation.

Drew Canham

XO and HSO (aka Dr. Initials)

April 10, 2016

SOL 2:

Sol Summary Report (SSR) for 10APR2016

Person filling out Report: Drew Canham

Summary Title: Houston, We may have clogged something (what are the odds?) . . .

Mission Status: We are feeling way above average.

Sol Activity Summary:

Hola, Mission Support,

Operation Day 1 in progress. Commander Rucker, Victoria and Jonny B (Beechner) went on EVA One-an orientation and acclimation exercise. They succeeded in that they found their way home. We rewarded them with lunch. Otsmar, Jaxom and I made lunch-we are proud of ourselves as it proved delicious and people ate seconds (hopefully because it was wonderful and not out of pity). We served super sweet corn (not just sweet), turkey with gravy, and rice ala Otsmar.

EVA Two was also an orientation and acclimation exercise for Commander-in-Training Otsmar, Jaxom and I. We too found our way home. The rest of the crew thankfully opened the airlock and let us back in. I continue to enjoy the scenery here; I benefitted from seeing a gypsum field that I haven't previously experienced. We also saw a U.F.O. that looked a lot like a Nissan Pathfinder we commonly see on Earth.

Work around the hab included routine cleaning and working on research. Victoria is reassembling her rover in preparation for EVA research. Jonny B and Jaxom are working on their virtual hab project. We also enjoyed a surprise dinosaur egg hunt around the first floor of the hab.

MDRS lessons:

1. Dehydrated turkey tastes great. It also reminded those of us who attended public school in the U.S. of the turkey served during lunch periods (ahh, the memories).

2. Jaxom has even more energy than I thought.

3. You can flush a toilet with a bucket of water. Apparently it's called a "gravity flush."

4. The hoodoos remind us of the mushrooms on Super Mario Brothers.

5. We had an entertaining conversation about what the plural of hoodoo is.

6. We didn't skip number three (we're pretty sure at least one of you checked).

7. Victoria has the "coolest" sleeping bag-it's a bear.

Anomalies in work: Victoria's pet rabbit also enjoyed EVA One.

Weather: Like yesterday, at ¼ throttle.

Look ahead plan: Media training in preparation for Tuesday's visit. In addition, the plants don't seem to be doing well following traditional scientific methods. Therefore, I am initiating a social science experiment to foster plant growth on Mars; effectively immediately, I will begin singing to the plants, and generally saying nice things to them.

Crew Physical Status: Physically and emotionally at 100%.

Upcoming EVA: Chemistry EVA-science makes us smile.

Drew Canham

XO and HSO (aka Dr. Initials)?

April 11, 2016

SOL 3:

Sol Summary Report (SSR) for 11APR2016

Person filling out Report: Drew Canham

Summary Title: Houston, Rucker-doodles are delicious!

Mission Status: Right on track . . .

Sol Activity Summary:

Hola, Mission Support,

Commander Rucker made Beechner a surprise treat of his favorite treat, Snickerdoodle cookies (with a Martian pantry twist) that proved to be wonderful, and have been affectionately coined Rucker-doodles.

Operation Day 3 in progress. Commander Rucker, Ostmar and Jonny B (Beechner) went on EVA Three—a chemistry mission. It was a success. Victoria, Jaxom and I made lunch—delicious taco rice was served. (Okay, Victoria made lunch, but Jaxom and I were very supportive.)

The afternoon consisted of work tasks, independent research, and preparing for the San Francisco Film Society’s visit tomorrow. We are scheduled to spend about eight hours with them. We are excited about the potential stardom that awaits us! Jaxom led an effort to find a potential clog in the pipes that could be influencing water pressure and flow. I helped by handing him tools. We found a clogged filter, cleaned it and put everything back together. Water flow and pressure normalized. Well done, Jaxom. As an aside, Otsmar now knows what the term “plumber’s crack” means.


We had Pho (soup) for dinner—it proved to be pho realz!

Interestingly, we are wondering what was up with the Greenhab efforts from the previous crews; we knew from the transition briefings that the tomatoes and radishes were struggling. However, after just one day of singing to the plants, whispering kind words to them, and reading them a bedtime story (Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm), we have home-grown tomatoes. I feel very accomplished and have awarded myself a merit badge (see picture of tomato plants attached). It turns out that my singing has also literally encouraged two REAL tomato spouts (see Greenhab report).

In other news, I have decided as Health and Safety Officer that we need to focus on our mental wellness. With that in mind, I am in the process of converting the newly built GreenHab dome into an Entertainment-Dome. It’s going to be fabulous, causing the other planets to be insanely jealous (especially the dwarf one, who is already having a hard time fitting in these days).

The tranquility pool and koi fish will be unveiled tomorrow. Future plans include a movie theater, tanning bed (using the little plant-room located within the Hab, gaming table, disco ball, and food delivery service (using Victoria’s rover).

MDRS lessons:

1. Drew is the Plant-Whisperer. I may submit a proposal for a Reality TV show. People watch anything, so it’s guaranteed to be a hit. Look out Honey Boo Boo, Dance Moms and Real House Wives from Wherever.

2. Seriously--Jaxom has energy. From now on, energy should be measured on a Jaxomian Scale.

3. We love it when the previous crew leaves us helpful way-points for our EVA’s: checkpoint 1: Stop Here; checkpoint 2: Keep Going, Silly; checkpoint 3: Yep, Still a Road …; Well-played Crew A. See you soon.

4. Look way in the back of the pantry for the good chips (the previous crews ALL missed them). Score!

5. In preparation for our movie nights in the Entertainment-Dome, I will provide some cartoon-short-film options from some of our childhoods. (I also plan to subsidize my outer-space income by continuing the Earthly tradition of overcharging on snack food! I’m thinking $20 popcorn. I mean, really, there is no competition up here.) For your viewing pleasure, check out Duck Dodgers and the 24th and a ½ Century at (note: for bandwidth reasons, I haven’t seen the entire clip copied above, but it starts out as intended and Rated G).

6. ​P.S.: I may have too much time on my hands.

Anomalies in work: We are above anomalies—unless of course our crew literally is one.

Weather: Stellar—if only we could play outside all day. We are optimistic we can use the observatory tonight.

Look ahead plan: We are well-poised for our visit with the San Francisco Film Society tomorrow. Look out, Matt Damon.

Crew Physical Status: Hopped Up on Chocolate! (Serious note referencing the Entertainment-Dome paragraph: we are mentally and emotionally well.)

Upcoming EVA: Film Society work tomorrow. Wednesday EVA’s to be determined based on who the Commander most wants out of the Hab!

Drew Canham

XO and HSO (aka Dr. Initials)

April 12, 2016

SOL 4:

Sol Summary Report (SSR) for 12APR2016

Person filling out Report: Drew Canham

Summary Title: Houston, the Commander won’t let me go outside …

Mission Status: A-okay.

Sol Activity Summary:

Hola, Mission Support,

Operation Day 4 in progress. The San Francisco Film Society arrived and worked on their documentary. Neil and Joe, a.k.a. “the dudes,” spent time with the six of us as we progressed through SOL 4. JonnyB, Otsmar and Victoria went on a Geology EVA. The dudes followed them in their SUV-like rover. It was more advanced than our rovers. I think they have deep pockets. They only have one though; we have five.

Executive Chef Victoria planned pasta for lunch and calzones for dinner—it’s Italian Day; Karen helped since Victoria was out on morning EVA. The dudes said that lunch exceeded their expectations. Victoria is also sous chef, senior chef, saucier, poissonnier (that’s fish, not the poison-er; my brain went into high gear for a moment, there); rotisseur, grillardin, friturier, entremetier (both portager & legumier), tournant (commis too), garde manger (no, nothing to do with “away in the manger…”), boucher, and of course the patissier. People on Mars keep busy. (Note: everyone wants to stay on the good side of the patissier. Mama didn’t raise a dummy.)

The afternoon consisted of work tasks, more documentary filming and independent research. My independent research needs a title; for now, a working thesis can be “Entertainment-Domes in Space: a Social Necessity to Prevent [. . .]” (You, lucky reader, get to pick the ending. I will select the response I like best. For you academics, no, I will not provide a rubric. If I like it, I like it.) I worked on three E-Dome aspects today:

a. The Tranquility Pool is operational. We have koi fish swimming around to sooth our souls. (See attached.) Note: Naming opportunities for the “[Insert Name] Tranquility Pool” are available. Just give me a buzz—I’m the only Drew up here.

b. The tanning bed project is coming along. I am re-purposing the mini-greenhab into a tanning bed. Malibu Barbie is helping us with beta-testing. (See attached. Note: we’re using recycled tin foil. Waste not; want not.)

c. JonnyB is using his laser thingie to help me design the theater for maximum seating occupancy. I mean, really, we only have six people up here. But once Dr. Zubrin’s (et. al.) Mars Direct plan goes operational—BOOM! Cash Cow . . .

MDRS lessons:

1. For your viewing pleasure, check out Marvin the Martian and Bugs Bunny at (“Where is the Earth shattering kaboom?”)

2. The San Francisco Film Society guys said the Hab would rent for at least $4,000.00 a month in San Francisco. This makes me wonder about the colonization of Mars. I want to get there first; lots of “for sale by owner” opportunities. I remember something from law school about “possession being 9/10th of the law”; I wish I had paid attention. #life-lesson

3. Jaxom is making things out of Chain Maille. He may know something we don’t; he isn’t sayin’.

4. Titles don’t mean a lot in Space. Astronaut and Engineer also means “pooh de-clogger.” See also, supra: Executive Chef further-defined.

Anomalies: We have a lot of pepperoni in the fridge. We may have enough to make a bridge back to Earth. Future researchers should evaluate whether pepperoni is a viable source of methane and other gases which can serve to further reduce Mars Direct expenditures.

Weather: We are wondering how much sun tan lotion we’ll need and how much tin foil to use on Mars as compared to the Pale Blue Dot. Mostly kidding.

Look ahead plan: Seriously hoping to get out of Time Out soon. Thank goodness we’re in a round building, or I would have been told to go sit in the corner long ago.

Crew Physical Status: Doing swell—we may actually like each other. I’ll get back to you on that. If we commit to actually liking each other, we might make friendship bracelets during an upcoming craft night in the Entertainment-Dome. (BFF6?)

Upcoming EVA: Chemistry EVA 2 and External Hab Measurements EVA (for JonnyB & Jaxom’s virtual reality research).

Drew Canham

XO and HSO (aka Dr. Initials)?

Drew Canham, Ph.D., J.D.

VP for Student Success

McLennan Community College

April 13, 2016

Hi Mission Support,

HSO Summary Report (SSR) for 13APR2016

SOL: 5

Person filling out Report: Drew Canham

HSO Activity Summary:

Crew 167B is healthy and staying hydrated. I made it a point to check-in with each crew member to inquire about potential health and safety issues. No concerns were reported.

Drew Canham


Drew Canham, Ph.D., J.D.

VP for Student Success

McLennan Community College

April 13, 2016

SOL Cinco: Sol 5 Summary Report (SSR) for 13APR2016​

Person filling out Report: Drew Canham

Summary Title: Houston, can we get a pet? (We promise we’ll take care of it …)

Mission Status: Bacon-y

Sol Activity Summary:

Hola, Mission Support,

Operation Day Cinco in progress. I finally was allowed out of the Hab. Commander-in-Training Otsmar led Jaxom and I on EVA. We did well. JonnyB, Karen and Victoria worked within the Habratory® (yes, it’s trade-marked) doing research, making wonderful oatmeal cookies I hinted about for a few days but didn’t bother to make, and I suspect taking power-naps. We enjoyed a wild rice soup with bonus veggies and crackers for lunch.

It’s time to get serious here. We’ve decided to help re-design the MDRS—a Version Deaux if you will. While MDRS-V1 has been great and continues to serve its function well, we can do better. Malibu Barbie is smarter than you might think; she inspired one of our first must-have enhancements:

· Bay Windows (See attached). Imagine a day inside the hab, reading a nice book, looking at the never-changing Martian desert, curled up like a cat in the sun. Bay windows would also help resale value down the road. At some point, we’ll have all these habs on the then old part of town. Let’s think ahead here. Investment idea: Love It or List It—Mars and or the Duct Tape-er Upper.

· Different stairs. We’re thinking escalator, but perhaps we should save that for when we have established social classes and elitism on Mars. I suppose it will be inevitable. I mean right now titles don’t matter, but I am sure that will get old fast. So, in an effort to be rational, we’re requesting non-tree-house stairs.

· A garage. Where else are we going to put all the junk we accumulate?

· Another bathroom or two. A six bedroom house plus a loft—and only one bathroom! And, come on, I think the current situation is technically two ½ bathrooms. I should pay more attention to all that HGTV my wife watches. Resale, people. (P.S.: Love you, Elaine.)

· A dumb-waiter or freight elevator. Just using the pulleys could be fun. I mean, ask for the Moon right. (I know what you’re thinking, the Moon is so 1960’s, but clichés are what they are.)

· A fire pole. Yeah, I know. We just want one.

· Individual Habratory® space. Academics want to feel special. We need our own labs, or we’re prone to bolt to another “the-desert-is-always-browner- on-the-other-side” place. (Also, I would like a bathroom in mine.)

· A nice area for the pet we’re hoping you’ll let us have, Houston. We’re thinking one of those miniature teacup pigs (see attached). They’re pretty darn cute. [And, we like bacon. From a social-science lens, life on the farm produces tough people. We need tough people on Mars; it’s not easy up here. If we had to kill our pig, it would toughen us up. That could be useful if things got real on Mars, or we just wanted bacon. To be fair, I honestly don’t know whether farmers are tough; I didn’t grow up on a farm (Fern didn’t seem to want to part with Wilbur; Charlotte was a bit partial to him, too). Farm folk might just say that to feel good about themselves. They’re usually pretty strong though, so I wouldn’t mess with them.] We could call this new area the Pig Pen.

· While just an accessory, a toaster-oven could be quite handy. With some effort and duct tape, I’m sure it could double as an incubator or some science-y device used during EVA rounds, helping to “justify” the need. Pop-Tart heater-upper (practical need) and some sort of “Martian-Species” egg warmer (Bazinga!; mission critical). (Note: I really only like Frosted Cherry Pop-Tarts; I hate to be that guy, but it’s not negotiable.)

Over dinner, we’re going to discuss what we would call MDRS-V2. It’s important to get that right. After a few landings, we would have MDRS-V1, V2, V3, etc. We’d feel just like a number. Kind of old hat . . . we want to feel special; needed.

MDRS lessons:

1. For your viewing pleasure, check out Tom and Jerry in Cat Nebula, at It informs the reader about dehydrated food issues and the daily challenges we face here. There is also a special guest appearance in this feature.

2. We’ve pre-named our pet pig Ares (see attached). (Mr. Wiggles was a close second. We’re hoping it’s harder to say no when the pig has a name. And a face. See above again if you haven’t committed to getting us a teacup pig yet, Houston.)

3. Referring back to a previous SOL report, “Beefish” and “Chickenish” are pretty good. MDRS is pretty progressive—vegan friendly menu options available. Please call ahead. I’m still the only Drew up here.

4. Otsmar let us look at Jupiter and the nearby moons at the Observatory last night. One at a time of course. Absolutely wonderful—the definition of the rings and the brown colors were stunning. Worth the trip alone. We also looked at the Moon. Breathtaking. I almost had a feeling.

5. Really, Frosted Cherry Pop-Tarts are the best.

6. If you are ever worried about rationing, or distributing portion sizes fairly, Otsmar is your man. This morning, he was making sure Commander Rucker wasn’t abusing her authority by spot-checking the size of her chocolate chip pancake. Luckily, she was within regulation. Mutiny averted. (See attached.)

Anomalies: We almost over-filled the loft water-tank (but didn’t); Karen is the Commander for a reason (well done, boss). We also spilled some flavored drink of some sort. We aren’t as perfect as we thought. Hopefully that notion will prove to be an anomaly.

Weather: Very nice outside, but we are worried that our opportunity to use the observatory will be limited. We’ll cope by having a movie night. Research idea: eating popcorn in space suits—a how-to guide. Stay tuned.

Look ahead plan: We’re excited to test Victoria’s Search & Rescue Rover. Malibu Barbie will finally contribute. She’s been laying around all week. (In case you’re wondering, Astronaut Barbie got nervous at the last minute and wouldn’t come. HR should have caught that in the screening process.) Weather permitting, we’d like Otsmar to dazzle us with cosmic wonders (no pressure, friend).

Crew Physical Status: We are doing very well. In preparation for the HSO Report today, I was cleaning up the Medical Facility (a.k.a. the first-aid cabinet). I organized everything in some bins I found, and noticed some Band-Aids. It got me thinking about the kind we “used to” have at my house (Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty, etc.)—gosh, those things make you feel better. We don’t have that here; medical attention is very clinical. No bedside manner. Which, I suppose, is my fault since I’m the HSO Officer. I mean, I am a Doctor, but not the kind that helps people. If I had feelings, all of this would make me sad. Speaking of which, those old Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid commercials were heart-warming. “I am stuck on Band-Aids, and Band-Aid’s are stuck on me.” Precious. Now you’ll have that jingle stuck in your head all day. (Also: I wonder if there was a huge knock-down, drag-out fight over which Johnson got his or her name listed first?) One the other hand, life on Mars is tough. Look out, Ares.

Upcoming EVA: Rover EVA’s.

Drew Canham XO and HSO (aka Dr. Initials)

Drew Canham, Ph.D., J.D.

VP for Student Success

McLennan Community College

April 15, 2016

SOL 7:

Sol Summary Report (SSR) for 15APR2016

Person filling out Report: Drew Canham

Summary Title: Houston, my helmet could use a windshield wiper.

Mission Status: Chatty.

Sol Activity Summary:

Hola, Mission Support,

Operation Day 7 in progress. Okay, so we’ll leave A2D2 alone (fingers crossed), and make ice cream another way. Or, since we’re about to rotate out of sim, we’ll visit Stan’s.

But we need to talk helmets, Houston. Our helmets are important—our lenses to the world. Let’s work on those, too. Let’s form a third committee to work alongside the MDRS-V2 and 2ROVE teams. We’ll call this one Operation Lens-Cap. (Those old school peeps who coined them “Snoopy Caps” were pretty clever.) Here are some thoughts:

 First, we need windshield wipers.  One on the outside for sure.  And, something for the inside—they fog up sometimes.  By the way, we may need a windshield wiper on the hatch-back part of the Rolls-a-Roo®, if there is a hatch-back part once redesign is unveiled of course (why cross-team collaboration is a good idea).  For now, though, we don’t need one on the back of our helmets because we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads. If some unexpected Mars mutation happens, we might need one.  Maybe send a spare parts kit with a how-to-guide.  If a mutation is expected, you really should tell us.  That would cause serious trust issues, Houston.

We should have names like Maverick, Goose, and Ice Man on our helmets. Remember, we like to feel special. We suggest Dr. Honey Bunz for Commander-in-Training Otsmar. And, before you go and call HR, Houston, this isn’t an inappropriate reference. It’s a crew thing that relates to conserving water (see our next section on ways to save H2O). The crew is getting out-of-hand; they want my helmet to say Mr. Wiggles. Rascals. Captain Mal is a bad influence.

 Drink holders.  You know those guys who ride their lawn-mowers with drinks affixed to both sides of their helmets with straws attached to them?  They are real men of genius.  We hope at least one of them is on this engineering team.

You probably thought those bendy straws I requested for my birthday was an odd request. Not so much.

 A place to put a propeller/beanie on the top.  It would be fun to tease new crew-mates.

We suggest you call former McLennan Community College crewmate Mr. Sam Thomas. He has real-world mission experience, having served on Crew 152A. He makes “physically superior helmets,” even if he does say so himself. He’s a rascal, too. He’ll fit right in, Houston. He knows a thing or two about a thing or two.

Maybe some new-age visors. You know, something where we can change the lens from clear, to yellow, to orange, to smoke gray, or even pink-ish purple. Sometimes you just need to see the world through rose-colored glasses. We won’t think foolishly (idioms, etc.)—but the pink sky might be refreshing. This gets me thinking about what will eventually become folklore on Mars. Pinkish-purple lenses on Mars might be goofy—everything is already a pinkish-brown. Maybe Martian pioneers will end up looking through green-colored glasses when they’re not using their heads (but if Martians really are green, I bet those suckers blend right in). I hope you think this all through, Houston.

We were low on water earlier this week, so we decided to brainstorm ways to conserve and be more efficient in general. Here are some ideas for future crews to consider beta-testing:

 Eat snacks like popcorn, dried fruit, peanuts, Nutella and honey out of your hand.  It cuts down on the need to use bowls, and therefore saves water.  It’s also a helpful method when you’re out of bread, tortillas, cookies, etc., that you typically spread stuff on.  Commander-in-Training Otsmar tried this with honey.  Yes, Houston—Ostmar is now Dr. Honey Bunz.  Note: don’t eat out of other people’s hands; that would be unsanitary.
 Beef Jerky is a wonderful thing.  But, we don’t have any (Christmas is coming, Houston.  Hint, hint.  Wink, wink.)  For a protein snack, and to save water, crewmembers could just suck on beef cubes, or turkey cubes.  Put it right under your lip, like chew.  Ta-dah: new tradition.  Unless you change your packaging, I don’t think we’ll be able to create a wear mark in our back-pants pockets though, which would be at least half of the fun.  I don’t know about the protein part, but vegans can play too, because we have “beefish” and “chickenish.”  We’re very progressive.
 This is a whole new way of thinking about conservation, Houston.  Pay attention, please.  To save water, you could send me Coke Zero.  Seriously.  I would use a lot less water.  Maybe Coca-Cola could subsidize Mars Direct.  Lots of marketing potential up here (assuming there is other life).  Also, imagine the new flavors you could try at the Coke Museum in Atlanta, Georgia if we found new inter-planetary soda drinkers.  I bet their tastes are very different.  And, the folks at Pepsi-Cola would be so ticked that they missed out.  Side note on the holiday topic we really need to discuss eventually.  Coke makes the cutest holiday commercials; you could beam some up to us.  Those polar bears frolicking, enjoying the night sky, and a Coca-Cola product of some sort—it just screams, well, buy some Cokes the next time you go shopping, I suppose.  But, they’re still cute.  And, we want a Polar Bear, Houston.  I’d settle for a Coke Zero, though.  (Seems like a good compromise, now, I bet.  Imagine shipping us a Polar Bear.)

Our other ideas were even zanier, if you can believe that. Maybe we’ll share more on a rainy day. Speaking of which, it rained last night and today. And, the Henry Mountains received more snow—it’s quite pretty. And, at about 4 pm Martian-Standard-Time, it hailed. We took a selfie. Houston, hail—really? That wasn’t in the brochure. Not cool.

Back to my part-time efforts (i.e. retirement plan). Today, we began the out-of-doors (that’s just a goofy alternative to saying outdoors I think) phase of Operation Meet-the-Neighbors. This mission has two purposes. First, test Victoria’s Search & Rescue rover to see if it could be used to deliver fast-food around the E-Dome (first Martian food truck!). And, second, if we ever get neighbors, we could use rovers to help each other out. “Hey neighbor, can I borrow a cup of brown sugar? Thanks! I’ll rover right over.” Or, “I seem to be running low on powdered egg dust; can you hook me up?” Today, on EVA, we took Director Rupert a care-package (see attached). We think she’s swell. It has nothing to do with wanting her to change her mind and let us retrofit A2D2 (the shop vac) into an ice cream maker. At any rate, the test was successful.

MDRS lessons:

1. For your viewing pleasure, check out Ice Age 5: Scrat in Space! at It really explains a lot about the planets and solar system. You might even be able to CLEP test into Astrology 2 after watching this.

2. The Henry Mountains are wonderful. Even prettier with fresh snow-cover. Mt. Ellen, the highest peak for those not in the know, got 3.1 inches today. It’s only 32 miles from here. However, it takes an hour and a half to get there (by car). You really don’t want to know how long it takes in a rover. Pack a snack is all I’ll say. Those beef cubes (aka Mars-Jerky) are great. Houston, we’re low on gas.

3. The Mars Society is awesome, and our experience has been wonderful. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to bring our students here to challenge their minds and conduct research in an analog environment. I’m thankful for the time to focus on my creative writing.

4. Commander Rucker did a wonderful job. She is legit. A unicorn if you will. Call her up, SpaceX.

5. Commander-in-Training Otsmar (yes, readers, Dr. Honey Bunz—same guy) is wonderful. He will be a great commander next year. True story. I would be his wing man (co-commander).

6. Victoria, Jaxom and JonnyB are great too. They earned their stripes as crew members and did the college and themselves proud. They’re going places. Wait and see.

7. I’m glad they let me hang out with them. I almost had a feeling several times. But, as my friend Becky once told me, “hunger is a sensation, not a feeling Drew.” (I told her I still feel hungry. She didn’t think I was as funny as I did.) Crises averted.

8. Did you notice I wrote Astrology in number one, above? It’s funny what the human eye and brain can do. Astronomy would likely transfer better. Unless you’re a social-science-y major, like me.

Anomalies: Hail. And, we’re having breakfast for dinner.

Weather: Hail, Houston. Seriously, not in the brochure.

Look ahead plan: Stan’s diner. So many shake flavors—so little time.

Crew Physical Status: We’re honestly doing very well. It’s official; we like each other. Jaxom is making BFF chain maille bracelets. I’m hoping we’re not being fake and pretentious, though. Dr. Honey Bunz has already said that he will act like he doesn’t know us back on campus. We’re on to him; he just doesn’t share his feelings well and is sad that we have to go home soon (he even tried to cancel our flights home). We’ll have a care-frontation; maybe hug it out. Life on Mars is tough. He’ll be okay. We plan to go out for empanadas and cheese sticks back on Earth. Apparently, it’s a Venezuelan thing. I see a bro-mance coming on…or a heart attack.

Upcoming EVA: N/A. We’re signing off. Hope to see you about Crew 182 or so. Be well, friends. Ciao.

Drew Canham

XO and HSO (aka Dr. Initials)

Drew Canham, Ph.D., J.D.

VP for Student Success

McLennan Community College