Crew 177 - Journalism Reports

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Journalist Report – March 27th Victoria LaBarre, XO and Chemist for Crew 177, on March 27.2017

Today four crew members went out on EVA to Candor Chasm and collected five rock samples to conduct chemistry experiments on, later this week in the lab. The most significant geological feature noted on this EVA was the large strata of Gypsum at the bottom of Candor.

While four members were out on EVA, the rest of the crew spent their time delegating tasks. Caleb swept the floor and cleaned the kitchen to provide more useable counter space. Estaban set up his manual bike generator in preparation for testing and hung up the McLennan Community College flag.

After receiving a radio message from the four crew members out on EVA that they were on their way back to the Hab, the rest of the crew began cooking lunch together. Hot bread, beef stew and a strawberry-jam crumble were served still-steaming as soon at the four crew members were helped out of their space suits.

After lunch, the five rock samples were taken to the lab and prepared for testing later this week by breaking them down into 2 gram samples. Estaban then had Pitchayapa test out his generator by having her petal on the bike to produce enough voltage to recharge a battery, which was measured with a multimeter. Elijah and I then took some time to reassemble our robot and solder together wires. I later gave other members of the crew who were interested a tutorial on how to properly use a soldering iron.

Joseph our cook, decided to delegate cooking duties in a rotation in to promote fairness when assigning who cleans the dishes and kitchen afterwards. Today, Pitchayapa and Caleb cooked a potato casserole and chicken fried rice. This was a new experience for Caleb, who has trouble reading in English (his second language) and cooking American food, instead of Chinese. Overall, Caleb mentioned that he genuinely enjoyed cooking American style food and that he was very proud that everyone enjoyed his cooking.

During cooking, a storm started with 20 mile and hour winds. The roof cap blew off and Elijah, our engineer, was kept busy pulling it back down into place, securing it and then going outside to adjust the satellite when we all noticed that the lights on the wi-fi had gone out.

After dinner, the crew sat down to brainstorm solutions for fixing the toilet and how to remove waste in the meantime after some crew members discovered that it was near to overflowing and would not go down. A report on the situation has been sent to CapCom, but due to the internet cutting in and out, we are still waiting for directions.

Note: pictures are by our photographer and microbiologist, Pitchayapa Jingjit.

Discussing how to get to Candor Chasma.

We made it to Candor Chasma.

Trying figured out the best way to Candor Chasma.

Posting at the Candor Chasma.

On the way to Candor Chasma.

Filling up with gas for the next EVA.

Journalist Report – March 29th Crew 177 Journalist Report 29Mar2017

Victoria LaBarre, XO/Chemist This morning the crew woke up a little later than expected because we all stayed up late looking at the stars. The view was spectacular, and the crew was thrilled to see different constellations so clearly, such as the little dipper, Ursa Major, Leo and Lynx. Tonight, our astronomers plan to re-calibrate the telescope so that we can see Jupiter. Today we only sent out four crew members on a single EVA to Little Canyon to study geological features and collect dirt samples to test in the lab later. Measuring the canyon proved difficult with the measuring tape since it was too short, so our geologist plans to return to the canyon on a later EVA with a rope that he can mark out on EVA and measure back at the Hab. After lunch, our crew regrouped and assessed our projects and how to fix the ones that were not working. After this meeting, crew members went downstairs and worked on their projects, reaping positive results. Our microbiologist went around the lab swabbing random objects to grow bacteria on an auger, our greenhouse keeper got his bike generator working again and was able to run two tests, and the two crew members working on the robot soldered together a USB to USB cord made from two cut up charger cords and were able to send gain a connection between the robot’s brain and controller. The robot now can move its axels and arm, although it cannot move the heavy wheels. The two crew members hypothesize that the 9 volt batteries do not feed enough power to the gearboxes to move the gears, chain, sprockets and wheel altogether. On a positive note, the arm of the robot is fully functional and these two crewmates plan to go on an EVA later to test the strength and dexterity of the robot’s arm. Dinner was also very eventful as it was the OX/Journalist’s twenty-first birthday. The crew made a birthday cake with candles on top and all signed a birthday card with well wishes. Later, the crew broke out the glow sticks and looked at the stars again. Unfortunately, the astronomers could not get the telescope to focus, so the distinguishing marks of Jupiter couldn’t be seen. However, glow sticks, a cup of hot cocoa and lots of laughs as we all looks up at the stars more than made up for the telescope.

Journalist Report – March 30th Journalist Report by Victoria LaBarre

March 30th/2017 This morning our crew was ecstatic to discover that Shannon had gone ahead and brought a Port-a-Potty for us to use the pipes underneath the Hab had been completely disconnected by a previous crew, rendering our sewage system completely useless. (We have worked out a system of discarding waste in bags and dumping them outside in the trash cans by the engineering airlock before Shannon brought us the Port-a-Potty. Exaggeration or not, there has never been a group of people so excited to receive a Port-a-Potty in the history of all mankind. Soon after the crew broke in the Port-a-Potty, the first half of the crew went out for our first EVA. This EVA is the second half of the Geology EVA that had been cut short due to the NPR journalist’s presence and will also give our geologist a second chance to measure the height of the Little Canyon. The two crew members working on the robot took the gearboxes off the wheels and adjusted the robot to prepare for our afternoon EVA where our crew will test the strength and dexterity of the robotic arm by picking up different sized rocks out near Cow Patty field. The robot was only able to pick up one rock due to damage from riding in the back or the rover and will need to be fixed before testing it again. The rock picked up by the robotic arm was taken back to the Hab to be weighed in the lab afterward. The half of the crew out on EVA was excited to return to a working clock in the airlock. Our geologist/health and safety officer’s, Caleb Li, project to make a fully functioning clock was successful, and he installed the clock on the side of the front door airlock for the EVA crew members to use. While one-half of the crew was out on EVA, our microbiologist began and finished the gram stain process for the bacterial samples taken previously and attempted to use the microscope. After returning to the Hab, the crew gathered around our greenhouse officer’s bike generator project and watched as one of our crew members rode it so fast that he reached the 50 calories burned mark in 3 minutes. After dinner, the crew spent a few hours helping coming up with a marketing plan to promote MDRS at our community college, McLennan Community College.

Journalist Report – March 31st Journalist Report by Victoria LaBarre

March 31st, 2017 The crew gathered around for breakfast, then half set out on an EVA to Candor Chasm. The crew out on EVA spent a long time in Candor, traveling along the bottom of the Chasm and up the cliff-side. The EVA Crew found a cave in the cliff-side and took note of large/long strata of gypsum along the bottom of Candor. The second half of the crew spent most of the day cleaning and cooking. Our greenhouse officer’s project experienced a setback after he mistakenly connected the negative wire to the positive terminal and vice versa. This ended up melting his battery, and making it unusable. The good news is that our health and safety officer’s clock still works and the half of the crew that went out on EVA used it to time their depressurization in the front door’s airlock. The two crew members who built the robot went ahead and prepared the robot for travel and packed it back into the suitcase since the arm’s gear is broken completely. After lunch, the second half of the crew, set out on a microbiologist EVA in which they collected soil samples from the Gypsum Fields, the area surrounding the Hab, the Cow Patty fields, Ancient Sand Dunes, and the Creek Bed. These samples will later be taken to a lab at McLennan Community College and stained to find bacterial colonies in hopes of finding the area of inhibition, and thereby discovering bacteria that may prove useful for developing antibiotics. After dinner, the entire crew split up and cleaned the Hab. The crew vacuumed, mopped, windexed the windows, cleaned the shower and packed up all our projects and rooms. Dished were washed, the kitchen and stove were wiped down and our cook took inventory of the pantry. All the trash was thrown out and the refrigerator was cleaned out.