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Mission Support Summary, July 20

Today was a relatively calm day for mission support. Here follows a list of staff members:

Mission Support Director - Tony Muscatello
Cap Com - Katya Muscat
Liason - Michelle Stempel
Journalist - Sybil Sharvelle
Operations Support - Jim Rankin

Two friendly and helpful visitors, Josh Wilcox and Jake Thiel, also accompanied us. Josh and Jake are both University of Colorado students and Mars enthusiasts. I am sure they enjoyed themselves thoroughly today and will back to help staff Mission Support in the near future!

The day started with a phone call from Robert Zubrin who informed us that Devon Island communications were down. Unfortunately, we were not able to maintain normal communications with the FMARS crew via e-mail. However, we tried to go ahead with a live link update for tourists at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). It was decided that we would let FMARS field team members hear the tourist's questions through the telephone once Mission Support received the sound files from KSC. The FMARS crew then answered questions while we held a digital recorder to the telephone. After the answers were successfully recorded onto the digital recorder, Tony scrambled around making every possible effort to get the answers sent back to Kennedy by 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, when our presenters are kicked off the stage. Unfortunately, the answers were not sent until 6:01 eastern time so the audience was left hanging once again, despite Tony's relentless efforts. Maybe next time!

Communications were finally established with Devon Island at 6:30 pm Mountain Standard Time. Some problems were reported to us regarding backpack failures and some problems with the helmets. These problems were forwarded to Dewey Anderson, the designer of the backpacks and helmets, and will be dealt with promptly. We were also informed that the food shipment has finally arrived to Devon Island, so the field team will not starve to death after all.

The rest of our time was spent repositioning the web cam to a place where more action could be seen. We found a slightly better location, but hope to find an even better one. This better location will require the assembly of a small shelf. Hopefully an eager staff member will take on this task tomorrow so that people all over the world can have a better view of what we are doing instead of just looking at one of our computer screens.

Some issues were discussed regarding the overly consuming job of being Mission Support Director. Tony, who takes on this job all too frequently, has a hard time even reading all of the messages that come in and thus can not keep up with providing solutions to the never ending problems and needs of the Devon Island field team. It was determined that it would help to have a smaller Mission Support staff on site at Pioneer Astronautics so that computer space can be freed up. This can be achieved by having some of the jobs done remotely. Also, a system of delegating tasks needs to be developed that ensures tasks are done. This will allow the Mission Support Director to be an overseer rather than a person who is stuck doing everything.

Over and out for today!

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Mars Society Flashline Arctic Research Station Mission Support