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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.

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Mars Society Flashline Arctic Research Station Mission Support