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Day 2 Pre-sim

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The second day started with no set time, Andrew had us get the sleep we needed. We made some pancakes with Canadian maple syrup and instant coffee. It was more of the same for the next 14 hours. Lots of hard work getting the equipment and gear situated outside while making our way further into the hab. We knew there might be mold after 6 years so we brought 2 test kits, tyvek suits, gloves, respirators, everything we would need for the worst case scenario. We took a humidity reading which was quite low, and the first floor does not have visible mold or smell bad, just an old musty smell.

There is lots of work to do outside so we wont get to the inside today but we work some of the time in the first floor and don our gear to go to the second floor as needed, but as little possible. I perform an inspection and find mold on nearly every surface on the second floor. The walls and ceiling look good except for the “leak here” labels in places from past crews. The floors slants slightly to the west. There also appears to be a lot of stuff in there. Things that I would have expected to be removed like defunct equipment and an excess of expired food that is no longer usable. It will be a challenge when we begin. Andrew wants the power tasks performed and rightly so, Terry says he can clean it all as long as he has electricity. We brought a wind turbine generator with us but after having read the instructions and seen the construction and then actually built it, I’m not going to advertise for their stuff. It works, but it wasn’t fun, and it took most of the day. Caleb found what looks like a 10 foot tall radio tower under the hab, it is incredibly heavy and takes all our strength to get it out, but it is worth it. We use some spare galvanized pipe to mount the turbine to the tower to elevate it. I harvest some large guy wires from the hab, as they are all currently slack. I don’t think we need them anymore, the hab has settled and it stable. The crew secures the pipe and mast to the tower on the ground and we all raise it into the wind. Foresight would have had us do this on a calm day but we wanted to capture some of the wind. It proves a small challenge for them to keep it stable while I use a Hilti SDS hammer drill to open deep holes and drive meter-long threaded rods into the rubble of the crater rim with a sledge hammer. These tools and items were here and we operate them off our battery pack (it’s a big battery pack). Once I hammer the rods, I have to use an angle grinder to cut a chamfer from the metal I just displaced. I work quickly since the wind is strong, the turbine is unloaded and spinning. The plastic aerodynamic hub detaches and misses everyone on its way down. A close one. We get all 3 guy wires and turnbuckles in place and tensioned so the turbine stands on its own. Caleb completes the wiring and it gets its first load, the spinning comes under control and we are making energy at the station for the first time without using a diesel generator. It is a very proud moment. I snap a photo and send it off to the Mars Society. The wind turbine next to the hab is a wonderful sight. Mars astronauts will use nuclear power, same as always.

We’ve got the bathroom situation figured out. There was an incinerating toilet as part of the first design but that attempt failed in the arctic. Now we just line the toilet with disposable bags. The urine receptacles are separate and are plumbed under the hab into a barrel to be removed via our flight out. The poop bags are burned. Have you ever separated those tasks? It’s a first for me.

We’re exhausted, but happy with our progress. I’ve bashed my knee and I have a bruise, not sure where or when that happened. Did I already say we got one of the original ATVs working? The hours are blending together, there are no days or nights. Dinner is more camp meals, the freeze dried ones you make with hot water. They taste amazing and don’t need the kitchen which is not usable right now. I wear my sunglasses in the tent before bed to try to realize it’s actually very late at night.

2 thoughts on “Day 2 Pre-sim”

  1. I am so thrilled with your posts and progress πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»
    I can actually picture things as I’m reading your words😊

  2. Hey Andy – I have been following your progress from the start (ok, so yes, I am living vicariously through you). It is amazing to me the physical and mental acumen each of you needs to bring to this team. Your descriptions of the tools and the work process would make grandpa proud! So excited for you –
    Aunt Bernadine

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