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Departure Delayed

20230628 update

The availability of the flights north puts our new departure date at July 11th with a put-in to the crater of July 15th. Based on the conversations with the Canadian government, their deadline for getting us the permit is the 15th and we’ll assume they wont get it to us earlier to risk going through this process again. We plan to arrive in Resolute on the 14th and fly to the crater at the first opportunity with good weather starting the next day. This might be very early in the morning, locally, but we’ll be sleeping in the hangar at the airport so we will be ready to go immediately. There are no ways to navigate an airplane to a landing near the crater by radio or GPS, so the weather needs to allow for visual navigation for the entire route and more.

We aren’t letting this time go to waste, it allows us to ship some more equipment to Yellowknife and continue our daily meetings. During this time we are reviewing our equipment and making some minor adjustments. We will be talking through all our plans again to make sure they are watertight. I am a little disappointed, but we prepared for this. I’ll reset the clocks.


The permit process for this expedition began a year ago, but there will always be the risk of unexpected issues regardless of how far in advance you plan. A clerical error with the government of Canada has delayed a final permit from being signed. This shouldn’t pose too much of a delay, because everyone involved is aware of the urgency and this permit does not require a decision to be made, just an acknowledgement from several different departments. Of all the permits needed, this one is the easiest to get and we have high hopes it will be completed soon.

The crew have decided to change our arrival into Yellowknife instead of waiting in Yellowknife for the paperwork. Personally, I’m ready to go. I have no issue hanging out in Yellowknife or Resolute, these are places I’ve never been to and there can be nothing to lose from spending more time learning about and experiencing the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

This brings a challenge of how to alter the mission, although we have talked about this scenario in our mission planning. We do not have dates set for each of the experiments or engineering projects because we don’t know the state of the hab right now. It could be a day or a week before we get the hab operational. Since we can’t know for sure, we have an entirely flexible mission schedule. This is how an astronaut crew will handle things on Mars. They wont have the luxury of planning when some piece of equipment breaks down or how delays will set back their progress, so they will have to be flexible and capable of handling many different situations, sometimes occurring at the same time. Our put-in date, or the date we land at the crater, will not change (at first). This gives us less time in Yellowknife to gather our supplies and make the flight to Resolute. That’s too risky to allow more than a day or two to compress our time in Yellowknife. There is a crew meeting tomorrow afternoon to discuss when we might push the put-in date further into the future. This is a tough decision because it will shorten our time on site if we do not delay the return of the mission. My guess is we will try to add days onto the end of our mission if we can. There are a lot of moving parts to this expedition and they all need to work in harmony. I’ll have more information for you tomorrow.

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