Posted in Dome sweet dome, Recovered

Ringing, clanking and flapping in the New Year

January 3, 2015

As you can see from the time stamp and the wind speeds I am not getting a ton of sleep tonight, and as I write this post I am awake in bed listening to the Hab groan, creak, and flap like a bed sheet tent on Everest. Minus the groaning and creaking it is also clicking; you see right outside the bedroom doors in the very top of the dome is the exhaust fan that kicks on to vent the built up CO2 and the storm has been wiggling it so much on its mounting that the bold has come loose about a half centimeter. Just enough to make a loud click of metal on metal which leads my groggy/partially asleep brain to assume either that someone is at the door (damn Martian solicitors, they always call when you’re trying to nap) or the Hab is falling down.
I know what you’re mentally yelling to me, “Sophie, it’s just a nut, go grab a wrench and end your suffering!”
Well intrepid reader/handyman, even at my less than ideal level of brain function I can recognize that fiddling around on a ladder with a wrench in the loft inches from a fan being passively whipped around by 40+ mph winds at the the darkest hour before my dawn may not be the best idea. I think I can tough it out (Daytime update: there are no bolts holding the fan to the frame it is just placed on it, no wonder it wobbles back and forth).  Besides, now I get to watch as the fuel cells automatically kick on.
Reconnecting the batteries to the network was my first major task as Chief Engineer for the crew and I want to make sure that everything goes smoothly for their first real run. The deal with our fuel cells is that they use hydrogen to make electricity, they are programmed to run when our sensor command center, UILA (pronounced You-EEE-la), reads the batteries as being below 10%. Well for the last few weeks we have either been out of hydrogen or not had the batteries connected to UILA so the fuel cells couldn’t read the battery levels. Thanks to our amazing support people walking me through some IT stuff I never thought I would ever have to understand, in addition to doing all the coding remotely, UILA now sees the batteries (huzzah!). Now, fingers crossed, we can sleep soundly (ha) knowing that should it get all cloudy and we run low on battery at some ridiculously dark hour of the wee morning the fuel cells will automatically turn on and save us from having to physically get up, walk to the shipping container, turn on the generator, wait however long to get the batteries to an acceptable level, and then turn them off.
Now, maybe I can get a 30 minute cat nap before having to check those fuel cells to make sure they’re turning on. And seeing as I can’t for the life of me remember my password to get on to my blog, this post will have to wait until real morning to get put online. Yes, I don’t believe that 5:15am counts as real morning, this is morning’s evil step sister who chops her own toes off to fit into real morning’s glass slipper that she accidentally left with the handsome prince Brunch to rush off and make it to dawn… They don’t call ‘em Grimms fairy tales for nothing. Maybe I should stop writing at this time, apparently it makes me bitter… and hungry.
A reasonable hour now, I managed to conk out between six and eleven this morning so that’ll have to do for today. Storm mitigations on the menu today: EVA to take down the camoflage cover from the side of the Hab, it got whipped around a fair bit so we are gonna go ahead and lose it for a day or so until our bots can hook it back up correctly. We’ve got football streaming in on a delay and I’ve got some embroidery to occupy my time.  The rest of the crew seems to have gotten some much better sleep than me so I’ll leave the decision making to them.
This whole storm reminds me of the time I came back to Hilo after a summer break from college and the day I got back we had a tropical storm, and earthquake, and a tsunami warning…fun times in sMars.  The winds remind me of Mark Watney in The Martian before his crew tried to evacuate, seeing as I am going on the EVA today I hope I don’t catch a comms antenna to the abdomen.


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