Splashdown +5 days
Today is Saturday, but we still have a pretty full schedule. Makes sense that when you have a limited amount of time in a mission like this, on such a specialized facility, and you want to complete as much science as possible, that you take advantage of all the days you can. We feel really fortunate to have such a long mission (18 days total) to work with, and because of that we'll actually get a little time off on the 2 Sundays we'll be down here.
Our ROV activity today was to fly the rover (Scuttle) around the exterior of Aquarius and perform an inspection. This was a lot of fun. With the exception of having to maintain a constant left yaw input on the hand controller (we think this was due to the way the tether is attached), Scuttle actually handled pretty well. Dave flew it off the wet porch and started the inspection of the aft of Aquarius and moved around to the starboard side and flew the length of the habitat and around the forward view port in the bunkroom. Then he gave me control and I flew it around the bunkroom view port and then made the way back up the starboard side. I hovered along the way to look into one of the main lock view ports and also used the manipulator to grab on to one of the structural rods extending from side of the habitat. Much appreciation for Jim's very helpful tips. This was way cool. Really neat to see the Scuttle peering in at us through the view ports from inside of the habitat. Tim took over control and flew it down to the seafloor and maneuvered it around the tank farm for an inspection. Then Ron took over and flew it back to the wet porch.
Ron and Dave went out on the SL17 rigs and did the first of our cg evaluations for Mike Gernhardt's study in support of advanced space suit design. They were weighed out to simulate lunar gravity and with a metal structure on their back to simulate a space suit back pack, their center of gravity was adjusted to different configurations, and they performed different tasks (walking, jogging, running, climbing a ladder and shoveling) to evaluate each configuration. All of the findings will be used in support of new space suit design for the moon and mars.
It was fun today to participate in phone interviews with 2 newspapers (Clearwater Observer and St. Pete Times) from my hometown. It's really cool to talk to people about how exciting these missions are, what's going on here and the positive impacts it can have on life both here on Earth and in space.
Tomorrow morning we wake up to a special treat --- our first dawn dive. I'm really looking forward to seeing the sunrise from 60 ft below the surface!
(Happy Birthday Carmel!!!!)