Status Report

FMARS Crew Status Report #2 – 8 July 2001 – 10:00 PM MDT

By SpaceRef Editor
July 8, 2001
Filed under , ,

Status: Mars Simulation in Progress


Commander: Dr. Pascal Lee
Medical Officer: Rainer Effenhauser M.D.
Geologist: Darlene Lim
Biologist: Dr. Charlie Cockell
Engineer: Frank Schubert
Engineer: Dr. Stephen Braham
Filmmaker: Sam Burbank

Reporting: Dr. Pascal Lee

EVA 1 was successfully carried out. The EVA 1 crew comprised Frank Schubert and Sam Burbank. The IVA officer onboard the FMARS was Darlene Lim. EVA 1 goals were: 1) to connect a draining hose to the waste water tank underneath the hab in order to allow gray water (comprising only biodegradable materials) to be drained to a ground sump ; 2) affix an external escape ladder to the habitat leg closest to Haughton Crater, right underneath the upper deck’s emergency escape window. Total EVA time was 1 hr 47 minutes.

The EVA protocol followed on EVA 1 assumed a hab air mix of 30% O2, 70% N2 at a total cabin pressure of 8.3 psi, and a suit air composition of 100% O2 at 3.8 psi. The corresponding TR (tissue ratio) value, defined as the initial partial pressure of N2 in tissue (while in the cabin) divided by the final total pressure in the suit, is 1.52 before any prebreathing. From there, with just 30 minutes of prebreathe (breathing pure O2 to flush out N2 out of our system), the risk of decompression sickness (DCS) of type I (joint pains) can in this case drop down to ~ 15%, i.e., in about 5 cases out of 6, there should be no felt symptoms of DCS. After suiting up, Frank and Sam spent 30 minutes simulating a prebreathe. They went into the airlock and sat there for half and hour. (Note: prebreathing does not need to be done in an airlock, but it can be easily done in an airlock with O2 being supplied via an umbilical, thus saving the O2 of the portable life support system (backpack) itself.

No major difficulties were encountered during EVA 1 except that the headset radio batteries lost power towards the end and some helmet fogging was reported. Rainer Effenhauser monitored the health of the EVA crew during the EVA based mainly on breathing rates heard over the vox and from EVA crew answers to his inquiries (relayed via the IVA officer). Steve monitored the quality of the comms system in use and provided guidance on radio settings, in particular vox threshold settings (also via the IVA officer). Pascal helped with some decisions during the EVA regarding usage of materials (hoses) available on the outside of the habitat (also conveyed via the IVA officer). Overall EVA 1 was a very successful event. The planned EVA was executed. Video footage was captured by Sam, to be released after editing.

Because EVA 1 prep included the unpacking of suits from their original shipping boxes, EVA 1 started later than originally planned: 21:30 UTC instead of 19:00 UTC. As a result, EVA 2 was postponed and is now scheduled for tomorrow.

EVA 1 mobilized the attention and time of just about the entire remaining FMARS crew. Pascal and Rainer were able to find small amounts of time to tend to other matters. Charlie was also able to make progress on setting up the biology section of the lab. Earlier in the day, Pascal had set up the rock saw and the rock grinder/polisher in the geology section of the lab. While EVA 1 today was our first EVA on FMARS –2001, it seems likely that EVAs on Mars will require the attention of a substantial fraction of the crew remaining inside a hab while the EVA is in progress. For relatively short EVAs with specific tasks to perform such as the one carried out today, the role of Mission Support on Earth is likely to be very limited during the EVA itself. The crew remaining inside the hab during an EVA will need to have good “situational awareness” in order to provide adequate support and to receive adequate information during the EVA. EVA crewmember-mounted videocams and fixed external surveillance-type cams will be used later in the field season in order to help increase situational awareness. Monitoring EVA 1’s progress directly through the FMARS hab windows proved useful. The use of a form of sign language in the event of radio comms failure might provide a viable communication backup at close range.

Daily Reports:

  • Intra-Vehicular Activities (IVA) Report
  • Medical Officer’s Report
  • Research Report
  • Daily Narrative Report
  • SpaceRef staff editor.