The mission goes on: experiments and exploratory EVAs on this third day on the Moon.
Mission Day 3 also comes to an end with the crew in excellent health and lots of news to share with you. Throughout the day, astronauts were involved in several EVAs on the lunar surface: three in total for some crew members! The day began with an exploratory EVA, during which the crew approached the skylights overlooking a lava tube about a 20-minute walk from the base. Crew dynamics are positive and astronauts cooperate spontaneously, helping each other during EVAs but also in daily activities. A good team attitude characterizes the crew, with positive mood tones and enthusiasm for the activities carried out, despite the hard life as astronauts, without showers and surrounded by nothing but the lunar rocks.
During the afternoon, the crew was busy with an experiment proposed and developed by Commander Henk Rogers. Henk has been planning and working on this experiment since he arrived at the lunar base, and during the course of today the crew supported him in performing a first test, during a dedicated EVA. The experiment aimed to photograph the inside of a very deep pit located near the HI-SEAS base, which cannot be explored by astronauts themselves, given the depth of the cavity. The goal of the experiment was to film with a video camera the inside of the cavity down to the bottom, in great depth, obviously without venturing in person. Henk therefore devised and built a system of ropes, with which he was able to lower a video camera inside the pit. The camera was attached to balancing mechanism, to avoid it from spinning too fast while descending the pit. With this solution, he was able to get a 360-degree video recording of the inside of the pit.
To install the experiment, an initial EVA was organized with Henk and two other crew members, the Executive Officer Kato Claeys, as support for the installation of the equipment, and the Outreach Officer Serena Crotti, to document the various phases of the test. Afterwards, an additional EVA with the rest of the crew was organized to lower the mechanism into the cavity. The experiment was successful! The equipment worked as expected, and once they returned in the evening, the astronauts were able to watch again the recording obtained on the camera, thus visualizing the inside the pit. Commander said he was satisfied with the success of the experiment. The visualization obtained is in fact of good quality, and thanks to the lighting solutions that were specially adopted, the footage is clear and displays the inside of the rock cavity clearly.
The rest of the afternoon saw the astronauts busy with psychological tests by Mission Psychologists Celia Avila-Rauch and Brent Reymen, and with some nice social time, which culminated with a delicious dinner of tortillas de patata!