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Crew 99 Log Book for February 1, 2011

Photos of the day

Commander's Check-In Report

Donna Viola Reporting

Crew Physical Status: Mostly good; some cold symptoms

Time Departed/Returned from EVA: n/a - did not go on any EVAs due to
snow and cold temperatures

Brief Narrative of Field Mission Results: n/a

EVA Data/Interpretations: n/a

Engineering/Hab Maintenance: sealed gaps near air conditioner to
prevent cold air from getting into the hab

Report Transmission Schedule: Engineering, Science, Commander's; by 8pm

Plans for Tomorrow: start first microbial fuel cell experiment;
mission planner and geology EVAs (weather-dependent)

Inventory: n/a

Support Requested: none

Miscellaneous: n/a

Commander's Report

Donna Viola Reporting

Today, the team awoke to find a light dusting of snow on the ground. Little did we know, that was just the beginning.

By 9:30am, it started snowing again - enough to obscure visibility. As a result, today's planned EVAs were postponed in favor of some scientific preparations and studying (after all, we're all students, and our classes don't wait while we explore Mars!).

We were hoping to begin the first tests of our microbial fuel cell project, designed to test for microbial metabolism in soil slurries.

But first, we had to run some experiments to determine the properties of our soil slurry - and had some troubleshooting to do as well, since clearly things never go exactly according to plan.

The engineers spent much of the afternoon "Macguyvering" a solution to some of our technical problems, which took longer than expected - though we are hoping to have everything operational and ready to go by tomorrow morning.

Dinner was rehydrated by Andie and Heidi, and the crew came to the decision that the "Kung Fu Chicken" was either good or, well, not so good.

We're now settling in for the night and hoping that the generator doesn't give out on us, as we've been warned that subzero temperatures are headed our way.

Engineering Report

Kevin Newman Reporting

· Kitty (Diesel Generator) (Used? Yes/No): Yes
· Honey (Gas Generator) (Used? Yes/No): No
· Battery Charge Level:
o 10.60 V everstart
o 12.37 V armor plate
o 13.26 V green

Notes/Comments (include how many generator runs, approximately when, and any times you needed to turn the generator on/off):
1 generator run, all is well, even in the cold!

Fuel Status:
· Diesel (Full/0.75/0.5/0.25/Empty):1/3
· Propane Tank (Full/0.75/0.5/0.25/Empty):83%
· Gasoline Tank (Full/0.75/0.5/0.25/Empty): Horizontal raised drum EMPTY. Three 5-gallon containers full.


· Kitty Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): Leave it to DG
· Honey Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): Leave it to DG
· ATV Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): 6 quarts on the engineering work bench
· Car Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage):

Water Status:
· Outside Potable Water Tank Level (inches from bottom): 15.5
· Trailer Potable Water Tank Level (inches from bottom): 1/5
· Hab Potable Water Tank Level (inches from bottom): 9
· Potable Water Meter Reading: 415530


· Condition of plants in Tank 1: Nothing
· Condition of plants in Tank 2: Ok
· Condition of plants in Tank 3: Good
· Greenhab notes/ comments:

· Telescope Used? (Yes/no) No

Observatory Notes:


· Used (yes/no):No
· Oil Checked (yes/no): No
· Tire Status: Not checked
· Odometer at end of day: 123596.3
· Notes/Comments on Hab Car:

ATV 1 (Opportunity):
· Used: No
· Oil Checked: No
· Fuel Consumed: None
· Tire Status: Not Checked
· Comments:

ATV 2 (Spirit):
· Used: No
· Oil Checked: No
· Fuel Consumed: None
· Tire Status: Not Checked
· Comments:

ATV 3 (Viking I):
· Used: No
· Oil Checked: No
· Fuel Consumed: None
· Tire Status: Not Checked
· Comments:

ATV 4 (Viking II):
· Used: No
· Oil Checked: No
· Fuel Consumed: None
· Tire Status: Not Checked
· Comments:

Heating and Ventilation:
· Thermostat setting upstairs (Farenheit): 70
· Actual temperature upstairs (Farenheit): 63
· Thermostat setting downstairs (Farenheit): 65
· Actual temperature downstairs (Farenheit): 58

Computers/Networking Infrastructure:
Notes/comments on internet/computers?: All good

General Engineering
1. Notes/Comments: Its really cold!!!

Science Report

Heidi Beemer Reporting

Time: 0800-Current

Crew Members: Science Team: 4 crew members,
Engineering Team: Two crew Members
Site Location: Hab
Sample Collection Site: N 38.39203, W 110.79058

Transit Mode: Walking down the stairs

Science Objectives: Test suspension properties of soil collected assemble

Engineering Objectives: Test heating unit for sterilization. Assemble and test agitation method for the MFC.

Science Results: Soil samples remain in suspension 85% for six hours. This shows that agitation is needed but not as much as previously thought. Test is still in progress.

Engineering Results:  Agitation component was completed. Miner repairs on the sterilization unit were also made.

Lessons Learned: Traveling with MFC on an airplane is ill-advised.  TSA may mistake it as a bomb and cause you head aches later.

Lambda Objective: The primary objective of this mission will be to test a microbial fuel cell apparatus optimized for field studies, with the purpose of being used as a life detection device. This is an extension of a group project – designed, developed, and tested by the 14 Academy students – entitled Life Analysis and Metabolic Biological Detection Apparatus (LAMBDA), conducted over the course of ten weeks in the summer of 2010. Originally designed for the production of electricity, Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) are devices which use the redox reactions of microorganisms to generate current (Chaudhuri & Lovley 2003). MFCs consist of an anode (negative terminal) and cathode (positive terminal) separated by a proton-permeable membrane and connected by a conductive material containing a load. The anode is submerged in a soil medium which is assumed to contain microorganisms. As part of their metabolic processes, the microorganisms oxidize organic material, releasing electrons. These electrons are transferred to the anode and travel through an external conductor containing a load to reach the cathode, thus creating a positive current in the opposite direction (cathode to anode).

Abrevaya et al (2010) have proposed that the same technology could be used to detect life, since the transfer of electrons in metabolic redox reactions should be able to generate a measurable current in a microbial fuel cell. To determine whether life is present in a soil sample, the sample is split in two, and one is sterilized. The current from each sample is measured in the MFC, and this data is compared. A greater current should be generated in a natural soil sample containing living organisms. In principle, even non-carbon-based organisms should metabolize using redox reactions, so this technique has the potential for detecting extraterrestrial organisms with unknown metabolisms. Our crew will use our MFC to test soil samples collected around the MDRS hab in order to test our field deployable apparatus for its ability to test for life.

Cook's Report

Andie Gilkey Reporting

1a) Today was
-A non-cooking day.

1b) Was today a special day celebrated at the main meal with special
food or activity?
- No

2) List the foods served at today's main meal (usually the evening
meal), giving full names of each.
- Gourmet Reserves Kung Fu Chicken

3) List any main meal foods not finished by the crew (leftovers stored
for later use or discarded) (Example: 2 servings potato soup stored;
2 servings rice burned/inedible, discarded)

4) Recipes for anything more complicated than following package
directions exactly, or rehydrating.

5) Comments/questions for Kim and Jean, the food study investigators
- None