Friday, July 27, 2007


These are areas that receive less than 10 inches (250mm) of precipitation per year. The Haughton Crater on Devon Island is one. So where did all that snow that I talked about come from? The answer is the wind. have no doubt we are in a desert here, just like West Texas, Southern Utah, Gobi, Sahara and even Mars. Also just like those places water is at a premium. We collect it and study how we use it, but we are in a desert. Today the creek we've been using for drinking water stopped flowing, so tomorrow we get to go farther to a nearby lake to get our water to drink, wash, and cook. For those that have been following the science reports on the FMARS2007 website the two we have chosen are Laval and Cornell. Both are close and tested clean for coliform bacteria so tomorrow we will take a little longer to get the water, but get it we will. For now some more pictures , and again apologies for it taking me so long to post, these are for Georgi and Paul (both of them this time):

Clouds Over Gemini Hills


Me Looking at Bird Tracks

Engineering samples

James at Laval

Like, Whoa Dude

Mars Girls in New Shirts

Friday, July 13, 2007


One facet of the science work around here is "extra-vehicular activity". This is an Apollo era term for anytime astronauts are working outside the spacecraft. Some argue that "surface excursion" is a better term to use for exploring Mars since the hab is no longer a spacecraft per se, but more of a permanent structure and not a vehicle any more. I don't really fall to either side of the argument, but just call it EVA 'cause I always have.

EVA is not strictly in my job description on this trip, but it is our goal to do science in a Mars analogue way. That means that I do get to go outside in a spacesuit from time to time when someone else is not feeling well, the server is just too stable, or other needs arise. Here are some of those photos, as promised; some more of me in my usual role on EVA as safety dude, and other miscellaneous stuff:

Drilling out the core samples

Working the little drill in the field

Sterilizing the core bit

Oh, look a Martian

The remains of a musk ox in the distance

My usual pose on EVA

Since I'm usually taking the photos, this is a lot of what you see of me in most of the photos

Trinity Lake
(named by someone else for that school I went to a few years back...)

(It is hot in the Arctic this summer,
Al G. might just be right with his Global Climate Change thing?)

Sunday, July 1, 2007


More precisely Mars Time. For those of you who may not know all about astrophysics, planets rotate at different rates. What this means is that each planet has a day of a different length. For instance Earth's day is 24 hours long. It takes 24 hours for the spinning earth to make one rotation. Everybody knows that, and as it turns out human physiology is uniquely suited to a 24hr day. Doctors call this circadian rhythm. Now what does this have to do with Mars? Well as it turns out Mars has a day that is slightly longer than the day on Earth. Longer by about 40 minutes. So the big question for human exploration of Mars is will this mess up the human circadian rhythm and what will it do to the astronauts on a long term mission to Mars.

To begin to find out the answer is actually kind of complex. You have to have an environment where there are few, if any, visual cues for the body to follow. Low earth orbit is good for that. There they have 20 minute days and nights. This is too fast for the body to adjust so basically it stops trying. The problem is getting stuff into LEO is expensive. Conveniently it also turns out that the Arctic in summer and winter is good too. Either the sun doesn't set like now in the summer, or it is night all the time like in the winter. The next thing you have to do is throw your calendar out the window, because with an extra 40 minutes per day, days and nights get out of whack with the rest of the world real quick. This is also possible in the Arctic since we are so remote and communications are delayed anyway.

In short my crewmates and I make the perfect lab rats, so we've agreed to try a study for the next 30 days into what it will be like to be on Mars Time. We actually started last night at midnight and today was our first sol. "Sol" is Martian for a "day". Today is sol 1 and you can keep up with our time at our engineering website. Here you can see how out of phase we are with you at any given time. The website is: I hope with the extra 40 minutes I can get some more blogging done and maybe get some pictures up next time. I've got some good one stashed from my last in-sim EVA. I'll try and get them up in the next couple of days.