You might be wondering about the format of these entries – one of our duties each day is to write crew reports. My job is to write the journalist report which is why this entry looks like, well, a report. Other reports that have to be written here in the Hab include the Science Report, the Engineering Report, EVA Reports, and the Daily Mission Report. As I have stated many times, our days are spent doing a wide range of activities to simulate life in a space station on Mars.
As I noted yesterday, life was starting to look like a science fiction movie and the theme at 6am was Ice Station Zebra. Our heater remain out overnight so when we woke up it was quite cold in the Hab, a balmy 4 degrees Celsius when we crawled out of bed. To make matters worse, the Hab was in a cloud bank with rain for most of the day so our solar array was not generating a lot of power. To add to our problems, the backup power generator failed to start which meant we started the day with only 15% in the batteries and with no way to charge them. Luckily, a call to CAPCOM prompted the release of a “repair drone” so we had to close the windows and wait for repairs to be done. I am happy to report as of 19:00 the heater is running again and the generator is providing power. We are hoping for a warmer sunny day tomorrow to return to solar power.
So what did we do all day?
Well, we woke up to presents from Crew Comander Michaela – she is from Slovakia and today is St. Nicholas Day for her so we woke up to festive clothing and freeze dried ice cream bars!
As the principle mission for the crew of CBHMM1 was our brain health and performance assessment we continued to do our tests and analyze our data. I have talked a lot about Cognitive Fatigue but tonight I will talk about a few of the other things we are measuring. Take a look at the figure below.
The trend within a day I have discussed before – an decrease in brain performance or as shown here an increase in cognitive fatigue. In other words, we experience low cognitive fatigue in the morning, and then an increase at midday, and a further increase at our evening assessment.
We are also examining other factors as noted – here you see that as the day progresses we need to exert increased mental effort. As noted in previous entries our assessment centres around playing cognitive games on an iPad that are relatively easy to play. However, as the day progresses we need to exert more cognitive effort to play these same games. In a related fashion, the games are harder as the day progresses because our ability to pay attention decreases. So, even though we are exerting mental effort, we are not able to pay attention as well as we can in the morning.
It is becoming more apparent to me that our brain health and performance assessment could have an impact a very wide range of areas.
Goodnight from Mars.
End of Report
Dr. Olav Krigolson is the Associate Director for the Centre for Biomedical Research, an Associate Professor in Neuroscience, and the Principle Investigator of the Theoretical and Applied Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Victoria.