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Crew 104 Log Book for April 25, 2011

Photos of the day

Commander's Check-In Report

Jon Clarke Reporting

Crew Physical Status: Good at time of writing, some tiredness due to busy program

Time Departed/Returned from EVA: Morning Sarah, Jhony, Davd left to finish drill set up and testing, Drilling commenced at 1:17 pm after remainder of party joined the drillers. Surface sample collected for baseline data.  drilling abandoned at 3:00 pm because of impending rain.  All crew members except Sarah undertook a geology orientation tour.


Brief Narrative of Field Mission Results:  Drill deployment successful, drill surface sample collected for baseline data, first endolith sample collected from outcrop at Kissing Camel Ridge.

EVA Data/Interpretations: N/A

Engineering/Hab Maintenance: None outstanding, DG did a logistics run (thanks DG)

Report Transmission Schedule: Engineering and commanders report in progress.  There are issues with photo uploading at this end (camera cables non-functional). 

Plans for Tomorrow:  Finish first hole, weather permitting, further surface sampling

Inventory: N/A

Support Requested: N/A

Miscellaneous: N/A

Commander's Report

Jon Clarke Reporting

Today dawned sunny and fine and we had high hopes of getting the drilling started.  The three engineers (Sarah, Jhony and David) spent the morning working on it while the four scientists (Carol, Jon, Julio and Luisa) worked on the sampling procedures and cleaned and sterilized the sampling and coring equipment.

After lunch the MARTE drill was ready to start drilling.  because of the power constraints (as would be the case of an actual robotic drill which it is designed to emulate) it operates very slowly, so we were not able to do more than mark the surface and collect the surface material for baseline analysis before drilling had to be abandoned because of incoming weather.

While the rain was sufficient to stop drilling it was brief enough and light enough for most of the crew to take part in a geological orientation tour.  The stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation was examined, with particular reference to stratigraphic principles, sedimentary interpretation, and the Jurassic fossil soils, channels, floodplain, and splay deposits.  These features include some of the most spectacular Mars analogue features of the area.

Today is Julio's turn to cook, we await with eager anticipation what he comes up with!

We are still looking at ways of getting photos up from the mission, currently all the download cables are unserviceable.

For the next few days the weather forecast is for varying temperatures, including several sub-zero nights, but after tonight no rain is predicted.  So we have high hopes that we will we able to do the drilling in the next few days and then start the surface sampling program.

Engineering Report

David Willson Reporting


Kiity (Diesel Generator) (Used? Yes/No): Not Used

Honey (Gas Generator) (Used? Yes/No): Not Used

Battery Charge Level: Not Checked

Notes/Comments (include how many generator runs, approximately when, and any times you needed to turn the generator on/off):

Generator operating very well

Fuel Status:

Diesel (Full/0.75/0.5/0.25/Empty): 40% in Tank

Propane Tank (Full/0.75/0.5/0.25/Empty): 35%

Gasoline Tank (Full/0.75/0.5/0.25/Empty): N/A



Kitty Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): Not Checked

Honey Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): Not Checked

ATV Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): Not Checked

Car Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): Not Checked

Water Status:

Outside Potable Water Tank Level (inches from bottom): 15 cm

Trailer Potable Water Tank Level (inches from bottom): Empty

Hab Potable Water Tank Level (inches from bottom): 47%

Potable Water Meter Reading: 454990

In to GreenHab Meter Reading: N/A

Notes/Comments: Green Hab not operational but water is being recycled Water delivered late in afternoon. Measurements to be taken tomorrow.


Condition of plants in Tank 1: 15%

Condition of plants in Tank 2: Full

Condition of plants in Tank 3: 15% Full

Greenhab Notes/Comments: Green house not used


Telescope Used? (Yes/No): No

Observatory Notes/Comments:


Hab Car (NOT RENTAL): Operating

Used (yes/no): NO

Oil Checked (yes/no):

Tire Status:

Odometer at end of day:

Notes/Comments on Hab Car:

ATV 1 (Opportunity): Operating

Used: y/n NO

Oil Checked: y/n

Fuel Consumed:

Tire Status:


ATV 2 (Spirit):

Used: y/n NO

Oil Checked: y/n

Fuel Consumed:

Tire Status:


ATV 3 (Viking I):

Used: y/n NO

Oil Checked: y/n

Fuel Consumed:

Tire Status:


ATV 4 (Viking II):

Used: y/n NO

Oil Checked: y/n

Fuel Consumed:

Tire Status:


Heating and Ventilation:

Thermostat setting upstairs (Farenheit): A/C not operating 66 degrees F

Actual temperature upstairs (Farenheit):

Thermostat setting downstairs (Farenheit): 62 degrees F

Actual temperature downstairs (Farenheit): 60 degrees F

Computers/Networking Infrastructure: Operating

Notes/comments on internet/computers?: All OK

General Engineering Notes/Comments:

Journalist Report

Sarah Thompson Reporting

Deploying MARTE

One of the main goals for our crew is deploying and testing the MARTE automated planetary drill. Our intention is to drill a couple of meters into the Jurassic rock, retrieving cores that will be analyzed for the presence of organics and microorganisms.

MARTE is currently mounted to a trailer, so deployment requires towing by a convenient pressurized rover pickup truck. Setting the drill up, along with its control systems, is a somewhat lengthy process.

The drill's central column (usually called a Z-stage) lies flat for transport, then pivots vertical and is clamped in place.

A back strut (not easy to see in the photos) makes sure it is absolutely solid. Cores are captured in a core barrel, which has to be taken out and carefully sterilized in order to make sure that cores are not contaminated with biological material from the crew.

MARTE is actually an experimental robot, with all of its movement computer controlled. This means that rather a lot of equipment needs to be hauled out into the field.

The rock we're drilling into dates from the Jurassic period, roughly 100 million years old. The photo below shows white material embedded in red sandstone -- the white areas are effectively fossilized plant roots.

The area is geologically very interesting -- this one is from a geological field trip in the afternoon after drilling shut down due to an incoming rain front.

In the evening, Jhony demonstrated the Raman spectrometer that he brought from NASA Ames. This device is an optical spectrometer that has a very bright, tightly focused visible red laser light source. The laser light excites molecules in the sample that re-radiate light at different characteristic frequencies, making it possible to identify compounds in the sample nondestructively.