Sol 5 – Martian Invasion

Last night, after watching Stranded, a movie about the first manned mission to Mars (which also may be one of the worst movies I’ve seen and would’ve been completely unbearable had it not been for our commentary), I had to stay up to finish up a bit of homework. Not the best way to end the day, but I worked through it. I fell asleep almost immediately after I hit the bed, but having a shower earlier in the evening probably helped with that as well. When I woke up, I felt relatively refreshed, which was a little surprising considering that I only had around six hours of sleep.

The plan for the day was similar to yesterday, with no long EVAs planned due to the weather conditions. I helped out with the engineering rounds, again warming up Viking I. I also rebooted the Observatory computer, since we had shut off power yesterday to work on the generator, in order to reboot the two webcams looking out over the Hab (you can see these views, along with four interior shots, here, where the pictures update every three minutes or so). I also took a nice panorama shot, similar to yesterday’s, but I made it go a full 360 degrees this time. Unfortunately, the pan didn’t exactly turn out like I had planned, but I did get a pretty good partial pan just from the Hab windows…

Kiri and Brian went on on the first EVA of the day, around 1100, to asses the satellite uplink once more and to test out the ATVs in the snow cover that had stuck around since yesterday. They also spent time cleaning much of the mud off of the ATVs, as the mud had caked all over the tires and much of the body. That cleaning mission will definitely come in handy once the snow melts and we can go out on longer EVAs. Hopefully I’ll be able to tag along with the geology/geophysics team, since those are usually longer EVAs with ATVs, two of my favorites!

Once they returned, we Jazzercised. It was actually quite the work-out, especially since we did quite a few of the ‘hard’ level mini work-outs, usually without much break in between. It was more aerobic exercise, however, so I should also supplement it with some of the weights we have here. It is kind of hard to find time, especially when helping out with other people’s projects, working on the Hab, going on EVAs, and trying to work on the homework that I brought with me. That I have barely worked on, unfortunately, so I will have quite a bit of work ahead of me for that. But back to Jazzercise. It was pretty fun, and due to my multiple dance lesson history (and some high school courses), I was able to follow along and replicate the actual work out pretty quickly.

After lunch, which followed the work out, I went on EVA with Carla to finish the work on the radio telescope. I had been assembling the coaxial cables necessary to complete the repairs throughout the day (which I had never done before, so it was pretty interesting), wound them up, and gathered my supplies. Carla and I suited up, practically right on schedule, and walked out the main airlock to the radio telescope installation. We connected all of the wires, which included sealing four connections (and removing one) once we actually had those connections secure, which took longer than I had anticipated.

Once all of the coax cables were attached, we then moved to raise the south antenna. Since there were only two of us, I took three trips up the ladder to raise the two towers up to their full height. We raised the southwest tower up to fifteen feet, then moved on to the southwest tower. This upright, unfortunately, only went up to nineteen feet, plus the bolt holes were not lined up properly. This meant that the drill I had brought previously and never needed to use finally became more than just a dead weight in my belt. It again took pretty long to re-drill the holes since they were only slightly off, causing the drill to seize up multiple times while drilling. I finally got it, shoved the bolt in, and descended the ladder before moving on to the southwest tower to raise it to its final height.

Since there was a lot of snow on the ground, and it was good packing snow, and Carla and I didn’t really want to go in so soon, we built a snowman. More specifically, we built a snow martian. I called in to HabCom to request the extension to our surface stay, and complied with Darrel’s request to make the snow martian have two heads. I think it turned out well, especially since it was the first snow man/martian I had built in quite a few years. Unfortunately, due to the warming temperatures (and some damage incurred during the construction process), the snow martian had collapsed before nightfall. I think it was our automated security defenses that took down the threat, or else I’d like to believe that.

I helped out Brian a little bit with dinner, but in a combination of him cooking tofu (which I’ve never cooked) following his wife’s recipe and helping out Darrel with engineering rounds (and taking a few night photos as well), my aide wasn’t that much. We made a loaf of bread, which tasted great, and ate another great dinner in the Hab. I think that once I return to Earth, my food consumption will be pretty different, plus I have been a little spoiled with food over the past few days, so it may take a while to re-adjust to college food. We’ll see.

Since it’s getting late, and I’m tired, I’ll add in photos tomorrow when I get the chance…

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