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FMARS Journalist Report for August 13, 2001

Yesterday's visitors to the hab were from the Nunavut lands of northern Canada. Most of the area of the floor of Haughton crater is inside Nunavut territory. The Inuit people who live there require us to get permission before we do any exploration on their land, and we respect their wishes. We hope that this visit will increase our friendship with the Inuit people who live year-round on Devon island and the other islands of the Canadian Arctic. We look forward to future seasons on Devon, where we can explore this vast wilderness together.

It seems that our equipment in the FMARS station is starting to show some wear. This was expected due to the arduous nature of life in the Arctic, especially on EVAs. Our engineering staff here at Mission Support are taking a good look at these issues to see if they pose immediate risks to the crew, and to evaluate them so that they can be prevented in the future. Some examples: A broken helmet strap, a cracked helmet and numerous bite valves are breaking down (these valves allow the space suit wearer to get a drink of water from a hose leading to a bottle in the backpack.)

Throughout the simulation, the crew has occasionally reported that they could not find something in the hab. We are attributing this to the hectic nature of the simulations, compounded by the late start that occurred in rotation 1. We again discussed logistics in the hab, and the possible need for a "setup" crew that does no EVAs, but readies the hab for the coming season. This issue may raise contention, however, because of the short summer season and the many people who want to as much science as they can during this time.

The crew indicated that they would like a permanent library of reading and audio/visual media in the hab. This would allow the crew some brief R&R whenever they get the chance. We concur, and we will do this before the next season.

A communication problem prevented the Devon team from responding to the Kennedy Space Center questions, so Mission Support's were used instead. Lorraine Bell continues her work down at KSC with the Mars Society presentations given next door to our dessert habitat. She continues to work on the logistics of the presentation and the coordination with the NASA's space shuttle presentation people. We are concerned that they NASA people are not able to get the interactive questions ahead of time, and it makes it hard for us to get the answers back to them before the presentation is over. Although we cannot get the questions in advance, we will still do our best to get the answers. Lorraine says that even without the questions, the exhibit and presentation are a huge success. She emailed us, "When we fail to get answers in time from the field team, I think we are more disappointed than the crowds."

We have accumulated many hours of audio files from Devon Island, and we had a brief discussion about transcribing them to text. We thought that an automatic system could be used, but we would have to do a lot of editing of the resulting text files. Manual transcription may be the only way to do this, and it would be good to do in real-time so that Mission Support could use it.

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Mars Society Flashline Arctic Research Station Mission Support