FMARS Journalist Report August 6, 2001
Today was the first day we used the time-delay communication system with the
Habitat on Devon. We are glad that the automatic system is now in place, and
the FMARS crew is glad to be rid of the manual time-stamping system they were
using in the headers of their outgoing messages. The delay will be the same as
if the messages were being sent to and from Mars.
There is a concern using this new system, however. The Mars interactive
program at the Kennedy Space Center is very short and it will probably not be
compatible with the time delay. We have asked the crew on Devon if the time
delay could be turned off for this communication only. We realize that this is
a break with the simulation, but it was decided that this situation is
important enough that the break in simulation is warranted.
Another option was brought up at mission control whereby the KSC team would get
questions from people visiting the KSC Mars Hab before the presentation. These
questions could be submitted to Devon and answers received in a timely manner.
This option has many advantages, including the potential to pre-screen
repetitive questions (and possibly replaying old answers to those questions as
part of the show). A late message from Dr. Pascal Lee indicated that the
rotation 5 crew supports this idea as well. We will attempt to make this
happen with the KSC folks.
Mission Support continues to archive all messages sent and received through the
CapCom computer. Lorraine noted that these communications are largely
unsearchable and it is difficult to find any useful information in them, even
if you know where to look. This prompted a discussion between all of us about
a potential database of information that could be set up for future rotations
to Devon or the upcoming Desert Mars missions. We talked about various
programming aspects of this database and came to the conclusion that any
decisions would have to be made by a "Mars Society CIO", if such a person
existed. The serious nature of this problem was noted and should be resolved
before the next field season begins.
Today's crew at Mission Support
Brian Enke, Mission Support Director
Lorraine Bell, CapCom
Scott Hibbard, Engineering Officer
Jim Oliver, Journalist/Liaison
Tony Muscatello stopped by a couple of times.