Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal 9 July 2003: Re-connected; Planting Seeds


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NASA HMP-2003/SpaceRef


HMP image
Twin Otter unloads - and then reloads - as viewed from atop "The Fortress"
HMP image
"The Fortress" looms above the airstrip like an airport control tower
HMP image
Keith plants lettuce seeds in a growth tray inside the greenhouse
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Container of coated seeds and close-up of growth medium
Further Information
  • NASA Haughton-Mars Project
  • Mars Institute
  • SpaceRef Mars on Earth coverage
  • Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse
  • MarsToday.com
  • Astrobiology.com
  • Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal: Summer 2002
  • SpaceRef

  • After some fine-tuning of our satellite system we all have full Internet access. As I mentioned in an earlier journal entry, the task of getting this communications gear in place is not easy. If it were, then everyone would be doing it.

    I began to do a photo survey of Base Camp and its immediate environs so as to be able to create an online 'virtual' version of HMP Base Camp and portions of Devon Island when I get home. I have several dozen locations selected. I go to each site, take a GPS reading, take a photo of the ground (with a ruler for scale) and the make a 360-degree panorama that I will later convert into Quicktime VR.

    One of the locations I went to today was our airstrip and the "Fortress", a prominent outcropping of rock some 30 meters high which has a commanding view of planes as they arrive. Think of a control tower at a large airport - one made out of rock.

    As I did my photo survey, a Twin Otter arrived. Onboard were several new arrivals Steve Hoffman and Reiner Effenhauser from NASA JSC. However, their stay in Base Camp was rather brief. Pascal Lee and Joe Amaraulik plus two ATVs and some provisions were loaded aboard the plane as soon as new cargo was unloaded.

    Within a few minutes the plane took off and headed for Point McBain point where the Mars-1 Humvee is positioned. Over the next several days this team will drive Mars-1 across Devon Island back to HMP Base Camp. The ATVs will be used to scout ahead as the Humvee makes its way across a variety of terrain - or to make side sorties to points of interest on terrain that the Humvee cannot traverse.

    One of the arriving passengers, John Parnell, from the University of Aberdeen, arrived on the same flight - but stayed here in Base Camp and will be conducting research over the coming week.

    Progress continues on the greenhouse as well. The propane heating system is coming along nicely as are the sensors and control systems that will operate the greenhouse. We also began to plant our first crop. A large growth tray containing a new experimental substitute for rock wool was planted with lettuce seeds. At the end of the field season we'll plant another crop, which we hope will sprout - in front of a webcam - next Spring.


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