March 2, 2018
SOL 12 - Crew 189 : The strength of the wind
The sport session came back today, after our temporary laziness of the past day. We are now getting used to this activity, and there is no risk of sickness anymore, especially in comparison with our first sessions, where we were barely able to walk when it ended.
As the crew had to change the MegaARES batteries, an EVA was planned for today: it would be completed with exploration. Gabriel was the one on the lead today, followed by Jérémy, Louis and Victoria. Benoît, Laurent and I were the ones to stay on the base.
After having completed the usual maintenance tasks, the team had however another mission to complete before leaving the surroundings of the base. As our walkie-talkies had several failures in the previous EVA, they decided to test them around the Hab. However, they decided to split in order to do it, and to turn around the Hab in opposite directions while testing the instruments. The result, as it might be expected, was a wonderful cacophony of conversations, which led to some misunderstandings during the tests. After they had finally rounded off their circle, they were finally ready to ride the ATV. First stop: the instruments, in order to change the batteries of the MegaARES, as planned since yesterday. However, the team discovered that it was this time the LOAC that suffered from its low batteries. Jérémy then decided to bring the LOAC back to the Hab, in order to switch off its ventilation system, and thus to save some energy, so that the batteries would last longer. However, this would wait for the end of the mission, as the team did not want to overfill the ATV before the exploration.
The team suffered several issues during exploration time: Louis’ radio started not to work, though it was functional during the test; Victoria’s bandana got unleashed and her hair fell in front of her eyes, which limited her movements. The exploration was thus kept quite peaceful: unlike yesterday, the team did not walk a lot, but stopped at multiple different locations on order to take photos. After this small trip on ATV, they went back to the MegaARES for Gabriel to take the USB key he had left there to harvest its data. However, the wind was blowing so hard that he was afraid the MegaARES could fall. He decided to leave it nonetheless, hoping that the windy weather would not transform into a massive storm. It was also the first time that Louis’ experiment of time management (the one which needed tactile gloves) worked all along! Finally, the crew had some worries when Victoria said that she felt a small pain in her wrist, which she had broken last year. However, after Laurent examined it, it revealed to be nothing more than a fatigue pain. The afternoon was as usual lighter: Gabriel and Jérémy led their human factor experiments, which finally seem both to work after the issues of the beginning. However, they were somehow disturbed by the howling wind, which perturbed communications and was even able to rattle the Hab sometimes. In the meantime, Jérémy decided to bake new bread, and following Benoît’s idea of adding food coloring, he painted it (well, roughly) with the colors of the Martian flag.
Alexandre Martin, Crew 189 Journalist