The great lunar ‘bake off’ of knots and moon rocks — Commander’s report: lunar day 13

Selene IV crewmembers discover a lava cave close to the HI-SEAS habitat for habitability and astrobiology analysis. (Image credit score: Courtesy of Cameron Crowell)Dr. Michaela Musilova is the director of Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program, which conducts analog missions to the moon and Mars for scientific analysis at a habitat on the volcano Mauna Loa. Currently, she is in command of the two-week Selene IV lunar mission and contributed this report back to’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.Commander’s report for the Selene IV moon mission at HI-SEASLunar day 13 (March 25, 2021)We baked every little thing. Today’s climate introduced a lot reduction and pleasure to the entire crew that we needed to have fun. We have been lastly capable of go on moonwalks with out being suffering from mud storms on the moon (aka rainstorms on the volcano Mauna Loa in Hawaii). The absence of mud storms additionally meant that the HI-SEAS habitat’s batteries may very well be recharged totally utilizing our photo voltaic panels. For these causes, the crew went a bit overboard utilizing solar energy and baked ridiculous quantities of garlic knots (a HI-SEAS favourite), “panfins” (pancake batter muffins) and a chocolate cake. They actually baked every little thing that they may assume of.Funnily sufficient, that included baking rocks. The candy smells of freshly baked goodies have been shortly changed by earthy and burnt odors. I shortly ran to the oven to discover a bunch of smashed-up volcanic soil drying in there. The crew teased Mission Specialist Cameron Crowell that he baked volcanic rocks as a result of he was so determined to eat something aside from our freeze-dried meals. It is true that consuming the identical previous meals made with freeze-dried meals on analog missions does get mundane in a short time. Related: HI-SEAS crew wrestle to maintain up hope as relentless storms foil their ‘moonwalks’Selene IV crewmembers baking garlic knots, “panfins” (pancake batter muffins) and a chocolate cake. (Image credit score: Courtesy of Michaela Musilova)However, Cameron was baking these rocks for his analysis on the magnetic properties of lava rocks for in situ useful resource utilization (ISRU) functions. They embody making constructing supplies on the moon and Mars utilizing native regolith (soil), in addition to breaking down water within the regolith to create oxygen and hydrogen. Thanks to the nice climate circumstances, Cameron was capable of gather all of the lava samples that he wanted. He then pulverized them, dried them within the oven and used magnets to separate magnetic particles from the remaining of the analog regolith. Post mission, Cameron can be engaged on a scientific paper utilizing his analysis outcomes. Nevertheless, the entire crew nonetheless insists that Cameron tried to reap native rock supplies for sustenance, not for his analysis.All jokes apart, the Selene IV crew did appear to undergo after they weren’t capable of bake bread and diversify their meals. As one crewmember mentioned: “Yesterday we had to survive without bread and that was horrible. Sadness. It was enough for the crew to almost go crazy. Today, filled with sunshine and baked goods, it seems like we’re living another life. It’s amazing what one day of sunshine will do.” Crew Operation Officer Lori Waters’ crimson clovers develop hydroponically as a floor trial of the ExoLab experiment on the International Space Station.  (Image credit score: Courtesy of Lori Waters)To save our crewmembers from an excessive amount of despair, Crew Operations Officer Lori Waters determined to reap the daikon radish microgreens that she had been rising for the crew. They added a pleasant spicy, inexperienced crunch to the somewhat unexciting lunar dinner.The crew was so grateful for the refreshment the daikon radish dropped at our day that Lori even wrote a lighthearted obituary for these microgreens: “Goodbye Daikon. We savored your color and spice. The crew of Selene IV will forever regard your contribution to lunar survival, especially as we resorted to eating the science experiments. Thank you for your sacrifice, texture and flavor. #NeverForgetDaikon”As is evident from the obituary, space-farming experiments introduced many optimistic physiological and psychological advantages to the Selene IV crew. Lori discovered that consuming microgreens, taking care of totally different plant-based experiments and her day by day observations of the ExoLab-Eight mission undertaking enabled the crew to connect with “Earth.” Selene IV crewmembers have been additionally capable of eat nutrient-dense meals and find out about how different organisms reply to excessive environments when being grown throughout analog area missions.Crew Engineer Jack Bryan operates a drone flying outdoors HI-SEAS from the within of the habitat. (Image credit score: Courtesy of Michaela Musilova)Crew Systems Engineer Bill O’Hara and Crew Engineer Jack Bryan have been additionally capable of full their initiatives. Bill, who’s a principal system engineer from the Sierra Nevada Corp., has accomplished information assortment in help of a case research of the design of the HI-SEAS habitat. Additionally, he has accomplished two moonwalks into close by lava caves the place he examined strategies of evaluating these formations for habitability in comparable formations on the moon and Mars. Jack was capable of create and analyze a quantity of take a look at supplies utilizing low-density polyethylene instantly harvested from the habitat’s waste supplies and analog regolith powder from the encircling lava. Each pattern was an enchancment on the final, which Jack plans on finding out for future ISRU analysis and functions.Officers Monica Parks and Lori Waters take a look at the properties of the simulated lunar volcanic regolith by HI-SEAS. (Image credit score: Courtesy of Lori Waters)During our mission, now we have discovered so much about one another, as people and as a staff. Science Communication Officer Monica Parks discovered by way of her research that all of us have a standard bond. Every one of us has encountered numerous hurdles and rejections, as now we have navigated by way of our careers and lives. We every embody the spirit of perseverance in distinctive and complicated methods. That is why we get one another in ways in which even these closest to us could not perceive. Saying goodbye to this excellent and tremendous enjoyable crew can be heartbreaking for me.While our mission is coming to a detailed, I strongly consider that we’ll proceed to be an area household and preserve these bonds between us, even after we’ll return to our houses on “Earth.” I’m very grateful that I’ve been capable of keep up a correspondence and help my area household all around the globe, regardless that in some circumstances it has been a few years since we have been on mission collectively. With some crews, we’re already making ready reunions and new adventurous journeys, akin to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and exploring totally different Asian international locations. Commander Musilova signing off to organize a scavenger hunt (and partially a wild goose chase) for the Selene V mission that can be beginning in a number of days. My crew is making ready clues that may result in the well-known HI-SEAS “Easter egg” treasure and some impolite shamrocks alongside the best way to check the newbies on the moon. There’s at all times one thing to look ahead to on these analog area missions!Follow Michaela Musilova on Twitter @astro_Michaela. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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