KC in the TM, photo by Trent Tresch

Over a decade ago, the Test Module was engaged by a set of researchers at the University or Arizona for a series of experiments, using soil beds. Boxes were built, plastic laid, and tons of dirt moved in. When that experiment was terminated, well, the soil remained. No small undertaking, Trent Tresch and a team of fearless laborers removed all of the dirt in a matter of days.

After 4 days, 4800 spade scoops, and 160 wheelbarrow loads, we are happy to report that the two earth filled grow beds in the Test Module are now successfully excavated!

This week we were delighted to be joined by two University of Arizona student volunteers. Both Michael Blum and KC Shasteen of the UA Biosystems Engineering program supported the seemingly endless effort to rid the TM of unwanted soil. We hope to welcome them back later this week to assist in removal of the massive heat exchanger.

While the weather shared its many moods we were happily greeted every morning with the sunrise over the snow capped Catalina’s. Frigid temperatures provided a white winter jacket for the TM and lung only briefly with the sun and rain melting the snow away almost as quickly as it arrived.

The vast amounts of water allowed us to visualize not only ingress of H2O into the lung, but also pooling in the Mars Yard (bottom-right photo). All in all, we have solutions in mind which will mitigate any future unwanted water collection. The best visual takeaway however is that the TM has stood the test of time and didn’t show any signs of problematic leaking. Incredible, after more than thirty years!

Not only have we been moving ‘n shaking physical SAM progress, we have been blessed with the helping hand of Mary Grier. She has thus far secured art supplies, a sewing machine, assorted tools, and some games for the crew quarters and workshop. Thank you Mary! –Trent Tresch, Director of Research & Development (and getting $#!t done!) at SAM.

Tim removing dirt from the Test Module, photo by Kai Staats Michael Blum removing soil from the Test Module, photo by Trent Tresch

Grow beds in the Test Module, photo by Trent Tresch KC Shasteen removing soil from the Test Module, photo by Trent Tresch Monitoring water flow in the Mars yard, photo by Trent Tresch