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Commander's Report

Tom Caillouet

It has almost become routine to be out here. No longer do I expect a loud city around me when I wake up, just complete isolation. Along with this routine, we become more efficient in carrying out our work. Prepping for EVAs has become a much more streamlined process as we grow more comfortable with the suits and radio equipment. We rose a bit late today due to a late St. Patrick's Day night celebrating with Irish-themed movies and card games. I had intended to send EVA 7 out at 11 am, but Chrissy and I didn't make it into the airlock until a bit after 11. This caused no output losses on the day, the schedule was merely shifted back an hour.

EVA 7 suffered some setback due to continued power reliability issues with our GPS units. However, even without the antenna at full length, our repeater set up allowed communication, albeit not always very clear, for the entirity of Cow Dung Trail north of the hab. To gain a reasonable signal to the hab, the EVA crew had to climb nearby hills about a mile and a half from the hab, but this is still a great performance and safety gain for the remaining EVA crews. A future EVA will attempt to quantify the radio transmission quality better, so another EVA can test quality with the repeater antenna extended. EVA 8 was accomplished with out any major setbacks. Its goal was to gather soil samples for biological analysis. While the targeted area was not reached, several samples were collected from other stream beds, so the target area will be reached in a later EVA.

Other than EVAs, there have not many other scientific efforts today since all previous samples have been analyzed. In hab analysis of todays samples will begin tomorrow while we send out EVAs to once again map the northern portion of the trail. If that is successful, and afternoon EVA will boost the repeater antenna length. A separtate afternoon EVA collecting geology samples is also possible, but dependent on the rate we get through working with today's samples.

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