EVA Experience

NASA's future plans may be in flux, but the MDRS Crew 89 expedition's future is a certainty.  We'll return to Earth tomorrow.

After our morning crew briefing, Mike and I drove the pressurized rover to Hanksville to pick up three temporary crewmembers.  Amnon Govrin and his twin sons spent the morning at MDRS learning about it and our mission.  They got to witness all of EVA 19's pre- and post- EVA procedures and in between, Amnom inverviewed us about life on analog Mars.  It was a busy day showing our visitors around, conducting two EVAs, and preparing for the end of our mission.  We stuck to the day's planned timeline extremely well, which is a testament to our efficiency as a crew.  In fact, it feels like just as we're getting used to life at MDRS we have to leave.  Two weeks just isn't enough.

You can read a summary of our last full martian day on our crew blog.

On my last simulated Mars field activity of the mission, I participated in EVA 20 to go spelunking in a cave in search of extremophile organisms. Luís wanted to return to the area he and Mike had scouted on EVA 15 in search of Candor Cave.  This time, we made it to the correct trail and canyon system, but a washed out section of the trail in Serenity Valley prevented us from reaching the cave when we were only 1 kilometer away.  We could have walked the last leg, but our time was already up to make it back by the agreed upon 3 hour EVA duration.  We came home to MDRS via the exceedingly muddy Mid Ridge Planitia. With the warming weather from the past few days, mud is starting to become a problem here again.  It's actually a lot easier to operate in snow than mud.  The slideshow below gives you a good overview of the adventure:

MDRS Crew 89 EVA-20

Altogether on this mission, I've logged 25 hours, 2 minutes on 11 EVAs covering 80.5 km.  The crew as a whole completed 20 EVAs in 112  hours and covered 356 km of ground.  At FMARS, I logged 28 hours, 53 minutes on 9 EVAs covering 79.1 km.  The FMARS crew completed 16 EVAs in 106 hours and covered 323 kilometers.  Thus, even though the FMARS mission was twice as long as this MDRS mission, the EVA numbers for both missions are comparable.  If I add my total EVA time from both missions, I can boast 53 hours, 55 minutes in 20 EVAs spanning 159.6 km.  Not shabby.

We tracked a number of metrics regarding our MDRS EVAs including preparation time. If you're curious how long it takes to suit up for an EVA, the answer is 6 to 20 minutes per person. Multiply that by the number of people in an EVA party, and that's the approximate total EVA preparation time.

Tonight, the crew and I are burning the midnight oil finishing our projects and writing reports.  I'm grateful for having a crew with such a good work ethic.  Tomorrow we'll clean the Hab, pack our gear, and pass the torch to Crew 90.  I hope our crew return vehicle can fit all of our stuff.

For full details on the last two of days of our mission, check out the links below:

Sol 12 (Feb 4)Sol 13 (Feb 5)
Crew Blog Post 1 (and 2)

Mike's Blog Post 1 (and 2)

All Daily Reports

EVA 18 slideshow
Crew Blog Post

Mike's Blog Post

All Daily Reports

EVA 19 slideshow
EVA 20 slideshow

My next post will probably be our final mission summary report.  I also plan posts about how I made the EVA photo slideshows and a comparison of life at MDRS versus FMARS.  Stay tuned.


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