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Crew 104 Log Book for April 27, 2011

Photos of the day

Commander's Check-In Report

Jon Clarke Reporting

Crew Physical Status: tired but good

Time Departed/Returned from EVA: drilling EVA departed 9:30 am returned 7:30 pm, surface sampling EVA departed 3:00 pm, returned 6:30 pm

Brief Narrative of Field Mission Results:  MARTE was successful in  drilling two more lengths of core, deepening hole to 45 cm.  It then suffered a major failure, the cause of which is being ascertained.  The field party successful revisited two sites of interest from last year and carried out a reconnaissance of the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation near the main road.

EVA Data/Interpretations:  Samples are being analyzed by XRD, and having DNA and total organics extracted.

Engineering/Hab Maintenance:  As per engineering report

Report Transmission Schedule: Engineering, journalist, and two chef reports submitted

Plans for Tomorrow:  Field reconnaissance to Factory Butte and Green River.  Analysis of software of MARTE drill to determine nature of problem.

Inventory:  no issues

Support Requested: none

Miscellaneous: none

Engineering Report

David Willson Reporting


Kitty (Used? Yes/No): Used Continuously and not stopped

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

Wendy (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 continuously and not stopped

Fuel Status:

Diesel (Full/0.75/0.5/0.25/Empty): 30% in Tank

Propane Tank (Full/0.75/0.5/0.25/Empty): 32.5%

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



Kitty Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): Full

Honey Oil Quantity (# of Quarts in storage): Very Low, Will be toped up tomorrow after oil is found

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): 90% Full

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

Hab Potable Water Tank Level (inches from bottom): 50%

Potable Water Meter Reading: 456577

In to GreenHab Meter Reading: N/A

Notes/Comments: Green Hab not operational but water is being recycled


Condition of plants in Tank 1: 5%

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 69 degrees F

Actual temperature upstairs (Farenheit): 69 degrees F

Thermostat setting downstairs (Farenheit): 65 degrees F

Actual temperature downstairs (Farenheit):

Computers/Networking Infrastructure: Operating

Notes/comments on internet/computers?: All OK

General Engineering Notes/Comments:

Journalist Report

Sarah Thompson Reporting

The last day has been (mostly) mishap free. There is a little concern that the MARTE drill is going slower than it should – its ROP (Rate of Penetration, yes, I know, too many jokes, but that is what people call it!) was way lower than it should have been on the second core, and it was taking forever to retract. The drill team are out in the field right now, so we should know very soon whether there is a problem. In this case, calling Houston won’t help – Jhony, David and myself will have to figure out what is wrong and, if possible, fix it in the field. The engineering facilities in the hab are pretty basic, though not nonexistent, so it’s probably possible for us to fix most things that could possibly be fixable in the field. If it’s a mechanical problem, David and Jhony will be in the lead – if it turns out to be software, electronics or something electromechanical, it’ll probably be me who gets to have the worst headache later today. Or it might just work. We shall see. Fieldwork with robots is always less predictable than you’d like, which is actually the biggest part of why we do it. Robots rarely behave as they do in the lab when you take them out into the big blue (or red) room outside and subject them to reality. (Update: I just heard on the radio that the drill is working fine – Jhony increased the weight-on-bit to 800 Newtons and it is now penetrating at about 0.2cm/minute, which is well within acceptable for that particular drill).

My other job here is technical imaging, which is a fancy way to say that I’m the person who showed up with way too much camera equipment. Bernard Foing at ESA asked me to attempt to simulate various camera systems on the MSL and ExoMars rovers, so I’ve put a bit of effort into calibrating a macro lens so I know its resolution at particular magnifications – more on that in later reports. Photographing core samples is a little tricky – I’m doing it first when they are removed from the core barrel, which has to be done very carefully because the science team need to maintain their sterility so they can do life detection and organics detection experiments. Once they are done with that, the cores are then washed and can be handled with bare hands, so I then get to photograph them a second time.

Though it’s possible that a core can come out in one piece, more typically it is broken into several pieces. This is what a core looks like when it’s first extracted from the core barrel:


Once it’s been washed, the images are far clearer:


This particular core is really nice – the white material is fossilized traces of plant roots, most likely some kind of fern, dating from the Jurassic period about 150 million years ago.

Pushing the macro lens to the limit (for the photo geeks out there, it’s a Sigma EX 50mm f/2.8 DG Macro lens, fitted to a Nikon D200) gets us a resolution of roughly 5 microns per pixel:


It makes it really easy to see (and measure) the grain structure of the sandstone. I think it’s pretty cool that it’s possible to get within an order of magnitude of the effective resolution limit for visible light with a second-hand DSLR and a not particularly fancy macro lens. It’s also interesting to note that this is six times the resolution of the microscopic imagers on Spirit and Opportunity.

(Another update from the team at the drill site: they are half way through the first core of the day, so MARTE is running fine and true and well on its way to China, albeit rather slowly!)

That’s all for today. See you all tomorrow!

Chef's Report

Jon Clarke Reporting

1a) Today was a cooking day

1b) No (every day I cook a green curry is a special day)

2) Thai green fish curry and white rice, with tinned bears and mandarins with tinned coconut milk topping for dessert.

3) None

4) Thai Green fish curry

For eight


~680 g tuna or similar

One cup dried peas (more or less, according to taste)

One cup dried onions more or less according to taste)


Heat ghee/butter in saucepan and mix in curry paste. Add 1 litre of water and one cup each of dried peas (mixed vegetables also acceptable) and onions. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add fish and bring to boil, then simmer. Mix coconut milk powder with water according to direct ions on packet. Make sure it is smooth, then add and mix in. Add salt and sugar (preferably brown) to taste. Serve.

Service with sufficient white rice (all Thai food should be served with white rice) for eight.

5) Lessons learned

- Quantity a bit low, needs more fish (about 200 g per person minimum), dried green peas need to be soaked for an hour before cooking to hydrate – substitute tinned peas instead, if possible.

- Tofu (the harder the better) can be substituted for fish. I will cook a green chicken curry later in the crew rotation, this will be slightly different.