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2006-04-10, 2100h MST
AustroMars Mission Sol 3: “Looking for Life on Mars and WLAN Masts…
This day can definitely be best described as the EVA day. In the morning, Alexander Soucek, the First Officer, Mission Specialist for planetary Sciences, Christoph Kandler and Markus Spiss, the Mission Specialist for Life Sciences, donned their space suits, started the ATVs and moved to the South to start one of the most interesting experiments of AustroMars: LiMa or Life on Mars.
The objective of LiMa is to optimize the procedures for finding and processing potential life bearing samples. This experiment therefore includes an extensive contamination protocol to enable the highest levels of planetary protection. As a side effect, Alexander, Christoph and Markus conducted the EVA with the longest range, at maximum they were something like 2.5 km away from the Habitat. This distance was only possible because they followed a strict communication and reporting procedure, which was vigilantly enforced by Gernot Gröemer, the AustroMars Health and Safety Officer, who acted this time as HabCom. After a bit more than two hours the EVA was finished. The team had collected six samples, which were carefully stored, transported and processed. Now they are in the incubator to see whether there any bacteria or spores on them and what kind or type these are.
In the meantime, Christian Hutsteiner, our Flight Engineer and myself, Norbert Frischauf, were cleaning the Habitat and continued to work on some experiments like the AustroMars Rover and the Track and Trace experiment, which will involve sterilised gowns to be worn over the space suit to quantify forward and backward contamination, an absolute novelty in Mars exploration (analogue) science. Another highlight of the morning was the videoconference with Alpha Austria, a science channel of the Austrian Broadcasting Cooperation. Both Christian and I, gave a 10 minutes briefing on our daily activities. This format will be continued throughout the whole mission to give spectators on Austria, Germany and Switzerland a chance to see what we are doing and why missions like AustroMars are so important.
After a delicious lunch – some Chinese potpourri, which was so not foreseen in the original diet plan, but excellent nonetheless – the second EVA was prepared. This time is was Christoph and myself, moving over to Phobos Peak, a place to the East-South-East of the Habitat. We erected to WLAN-masts on two hills, one equipped with a Yagi-Antenna, to bridge the 1.2 km to the Habitat, while the other two were 360Â° WLAN antennas for area coverage. By this way we hope to provide telecommand and control signals to Sissi (the rover), which is supposed to drive in this area.
During our EVA, Christian acted as HabCom, friendly asking every few minutes for our pulse rates (as this was part of a medical experiment of AustroMars) and reminding us to drink a lot. Even so one does not recognise, the water loss can be significant, no wonder if one moves more than 3000 steps as was measured at Christian. In the end we had erected the two masts and finished our EVA.
With a duration of nearly 3 hours the afternoon EVA was so far the longest one. Still there are many more to come since AustroMars has only yet begun.
Signing off for today.
Commander, MDRS Crew 48 “AustroMars”
- 23.05.2019 - 01.09.2019: Exhibition: Austria in Space – a country takes off!
- 16.07.2019 - 25.07.2019: Summer School Alpbach 2019
- 26.09.2019 - 27.09.2019: Deutsche Astrobiologie Gesellschaft - 4th annual workshop
- 04.11.2019 - 06.11.2019: European Mars Conference
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