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Expedition One Diary

by Australian Crewmember Jonathan Clarke


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd
A relaxed day today as those who are leaving packed up and departed amid a flurry of farewells and group photos. The new crew members received continued training on the remaining systems, while the the biologists, geologists, engineers, and Rockt Persaud developed and ammended EVA schedule for the forthcoming week. Many of these reveolve round the Ares Rover, a big navy blue truck resembling a deliver van that sleeps two people and houses a toilet, washing facility, and laboratory space. This will allow for overnight expeditions by two people away from the hab, accomanied by another two people in a chase vehicle. I will be on the first crew doing so, heading up north and east of here, past North Cainville Mesa and Factory Butte to Coal Mine Wash, scouting for uranium-rich localities in the coal bearing rocks for the biologists that might harbour radiation resistant microorganisms that the biologists are interested in. In the afternoon I took the opptunity to do an unscheduled "EarthSkin" EVA with Jennifer Laing to add to the image archive of regolith-terrain elements for the present and future crews. The weather in the afternoon had warmed up considerably from what it was in the morning, with the wind shifting to south east. We have been having problems with the generator. The main 20 KW LPG diesel generator that normally supplies out power has been offline with the control system behaving irregularly, and we have been operating on the backup 5 KW petrol generator. This produces a noticeable flicker to the lights and a definite dimming when the microwave is turned on. We can still function, but running the microwave, incinolet or autoclave simultaneously is impossible. The main generator will only be back on line with support from the manufacturer. A lesson here for real Mars missions. All hardware should be fixabble with onsite resources. This points to a low tech approach where possible, rather than high tech. A model T Ford spacecraft, rather than a BMW. The new crew members are already blending in, and some differences in socal interaction are becoming apparent. The new crew seems quieter and more prepared to go to bed before midnight than the previous combination. Still the same combination of enthusiasm, committment, and willingness to work together evident before.

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