Journalist's Report for July 19, 2001, 7:15pm MDT
So far we've not received any reports from the Field Team. Our hope is that
they have been busy installing and repairing the Coms equipment and opening
packages which were scheduled for landing several days ago.
We did send the Space Weather Report for today and a very brief News From
Earth Selection. Lorraine Bell, Mission Director and Acting Journalist
decided against sending news reports about various battles, deaths, and
maulings so the stories to choose from were pretty skimpy.
Yesterday's reports indicated that the field team still had not found the
ice axe holsters that had been included in the space suit packages. We sent
a more detailed message seeking answers about the number of boxes received
at the Hab and describing how the axe holsters were packed. Lorraine has a
copy of the contents of all the shipping containers but unfortunately it is
not filed here at Mission Support so couldn't be accessed. (DOH!)
At approximately 3:30pm MDT, we received a 'space line' call from Dr.
Zubrin. The field team was concerned that messages from the KSC "public
question and answer session" had not been received. It turned out that KSC
had a terrible storm and the public decided to evacuate. We look forward to
a sucessful session tomorrow.
At 7:30pm MDT we received an audio status report from the Field Team. They
reported that all the crew was well and that the Hab was in generally good
shape. However, the power problems continue. The hab needs 10kW of power
and is currently using two generators but they continually lose power which
causes problems with their electronic equipment - much of which is very
expensive and delicate. We are looking into purchasing a 10kW diesel
generator which could be sent to them.
The team also reported on their 3 person EVA. Zubrin, Frankel, and Bos all
went on an EVA to explore the area to the East along the crater rim.
Cathrine Frandsen was their CapCom inside the hab. The suiting up process
is getting easier for the crew, and thus took less time. They expect to
have it down pat pretty soon.
They reported that they continued to have some radio problems - probably the
previous cold weather affecting the batteries - but they were able to
successfully complete a 2-hour EVA. Cathrine recommended the use of
personal digital recorders by all the EVA team. That would help document
the EVA even if there was a radio failure. She also noted that the CapCom
could use a map so that they could follow the EVA. We certainly concur with
this as we have been frustrated by our own lack of a map!
While on the EVA, the team was treated to magnificent views - yes we're
jealous. They also collected some very interesting samples: in an area of
sedimentary matrials they found what looks to be some breccia (a sample of
which they will cut for further analysis), in Lowell canal they took water
and snow samples, and Brent Bos found a piece of limestone that may have one
been a part of the coral reef.
There current plan is to head North of the Hab tomorrow, crossing Von Braun
Planitia. On the 21st, they hope to head West. The goal is to create an
operational map of the area around the Hab and then to choose interesting
sites worthy of further study.
AS of 8:00pm MDT we had not received any further reports and so we signed
off with the field team.
Lorraine Bell, Mission Support Director and Journalist