Log Entry: Sol 84
Ever go out for a run and turn around halfway to come home? Literally the worst feeling in the world. It’s like the world is saying “Congratulations look how far you got! Now go do it again.”
That’s basically where I’m at; trying to retrace my steps back to Home Sweet HAB. Wish I had dropped some bread crumbs on my way here so I can make the same exact journey both ways but close enough will have to do. Funny how autopilot is a thing for the Hermes but not on my rover; I smell a conspiracy.
So far each day is just the same routine as the ride here. Drive, be a tourist, stop, switch batteries, drive some more, listen to disco, stop again, recharge with solar panels, eat, sit around, sleep, and repeat. I’m almost expecting Mars to take a shot at me but, hey, it’s the same exact thing I did last week, I’ll be fine.
In other news, I feel like a pirate… Yeah I know it seems silly but I’m navigating Mars on my own so let me dream.
Log Entry: Sol 86
I need to start thinking of what I’m going to do when I get back to the HAB. Like Hooray! I’ve got Pathfinder… but I don’t even know how it works. Luckily, the rover has a small database that I’ve been scavenging for any kind of information that can help me.
There are a few files on past Mars rovers. NASA would never delete anything that was or could be useful. On the bright side I feel loads of incentive to research this time since Pathfinder holds my fate in its programs and it gives me something to keep me busy.
Log Entry: Sol 87
So I found some useful stuff. Turns out they assumed the problem with Pathfinder was power related so maybe I could luck out and only have to recharge its battery (knock on wood). (Or plastic).
In other news, everything around me looks so flat; I’ve left Ares Vallis so if nothing else I’m making progress. But if I don’t make any progress on this Pathfinder research then I’m going to have to figure somethi
—–WARNIING: DRIVING MALFUNCTION—–
Log Entry: Sol 87 (continued)
Okay that was weird. I’m sure you saw the warning since I’m typing these on the rover’s computer. I panicked pretty hard when I saw that and stopped the rover immediately. Trying to slow my breath, I put on my EVA suit and went outside to see what Mars tried to kill me with.
Stepping outside the rover felt like pure freedom, and interestingly enough, after looking around the wheels, I didn’t see anything wrong with my ride. Maybe I overreacted but it definitely said “warning” in all caps and that usually means “BAD.” So crawling under my baby’s belly I inspected the underside of the rover and found a plate near the drive shaft that had come out of place. Not my first guess at a driving malfunction but I quickly fixed it and got back into the rover. Feeling pretty confident in my work I came back in and started to drive again
Mark drove calmly, not paying much attention to the road. The slight inconsistencies in the desert ground shook his car, moving anything that was loose, cargo and loose screws included. With each bump, the drive shaft came slightly looser, until the plate finally came completely loose, dropping the front end of the drive shaft to the ground and jolting the rover forward. Shaken, Mark emerged to find a stranded rover and Pathfinder on the ground.
Log Entry: Sol 87 (2)
If there’s a God of Mars he sure is ironic. I sure am going to have to figure something out, but now it involves getting Pathfinder back on my rover. The drive shaft won’t be too much of a problem, but I’m pissed that I allowed myself to keep going without thoroughly checking the drive shaft more.
Let me backtrack real quick. I was driving peacefully, browsing through my collection of oldies TV hoping I could find some stray Knight Rider or A-Team episodes, and I felt the rover jolt down! I hadn’t seen any rocks of significant size for quite a while and couldn’t come up with a better explanation than aliens at the time.
Shit. The plate from earlier. I bet it wasn’t the only problem with the drive shaft and I probably missed something. Walking outside I turned and inspected my newly grounded vehicle. Fuming, I gazed off to the horizon looking for hope… and instead saw a hunk of metal lying on the ground.
Pathfinder. Of course it was Pathfinder. Why couldn’t it have been the solar panels or something INSIDE the rover or LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE?
After checking my navigation I discovered that I ended up just a bit further West than on the drive down. Maybe the terrain was worse down here. Not enough for me to notice but enough to mess with my driving capabilities.
Good job Mark, really outdid yourself this time. If Pathfinder is ruined this entire trip will be deemed a complete waste of my time.
I’m tilted. And so is Pathfinder.
Honestly, I kind of don’t even want to bother with the pile of trash. I have no idea how I would get it back on the rover; I don’t have any rocks to make another ramp with and I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be out here, it’s not like I brought my entire food supply with me.
Enough for today, this is too much to process at once. I can’t be making any more rushed decisions in the future. I’m just going to take the L today and get some rest.
Log Entry: Sol 88
So apparently hopes and dreams aren’t enough to get Pathfinder back onto my rover. Not too disappointed, but it was worth a try. After my initial inspections I came up with this detailed report of what the hell happened.
The thing was bumped and bruised quite a bit after landing on its sides and rolling upside down (great). I found a tear in its ropes and assumed they had worn down before the jolt provided enough force to knock Pathfinder loose.
Before trying to do anything with my one ticket to communication with Earth, (God I miss talking to people), I decided to start easy and fix the mess I made of my rover. Why were so many things loose down there? And why did it look like I drove through a Martian Grand Canyon when I’ve seen nothing but plateaus for miles.
Oh wait… Aries Vallis was really rocky. Admittedly I wasn’t the most cautious driver there but, you know, finding Pathfinder is sort of the most (only) exciting thing I’ve done out here.
Besides being the dumbest person on the planet, I got lucky in that I also happen to the best mechanical engineering on the planet. Fixing the drive shaft didn’t take much work; I caught a few other faults that I missed before and triple checked everything to make sure I didn’t have to go through this twice again.
Now the real question, how the hell am I going to get Pathfinder back on the rover? I have no ramp, although I could just pull with a rope and pray I don’t break anything else in the process. But do I even want to push my luck considering my situation?
Actually. Is it even worth it? There’s a reason I didn’t just pull Pathfinder up onto the rover when I first found it; it’s dangerous and risky. I don’t even know if Pathfinder is still working. But it’s my only option so unless I figure something else out soon I’m going to have to suck it up and try.
Log Entry: Sol 88 (2)
Feels good, doubting everything you’ve done for the past two weeks and pondering if your ideas are actually just as useless as you are. Like seriously, all I had to do was check the drive shaft and the area around it like a good little engineer and I’d be completely fine.
After debating all of my options and weighing the pros and cons of each, I decided I’m going to try to pull Pathfinder back onto the rover. Yes I realize I said this was a bad idea earlier and yes that was the only option I had going for me.
Looking for a way to try and pull Pathfinder back onto the rover is quite hard. Luckily, it’s on its side so I may be able to drag the underside across the rover. But I have no idea what kind of damage that will cause to either rover. Jeez, I wish I had a pulley.
Instead, we’re going to pray to the friction gods. If I can minimize the friction that the rope feels as I pull it across the side and top of the rover more force will be used towards pulling Pathfinder up on the roof. With a little (okay a lot) of luck I just might be able to pull this thing right up the side. I figure I should stand on the ground while pulling so I don’t lose my balance and fall off the rover.
Literally got halfway and lost my grip.
Never there when you need it and always there when you don’t want it. Sounds like my college Wi-Fi back in the day. I cringed when Pathfinder hit the ground, looking around to see if any Martians heard my string of curses, and hoped that the damage wasn’t anything worse than what already happened.
It looked fine laying on its side so I decided to give it another try. Hooking the rope around my arm and increasing the oxygen levels within my suit (hey I was tired) I went at it again. I pulled slower so I could keep a better grip but that required a lot more effort and I didn’t know how long I could keep this going. Many bumps, bruises, and cringes later, I finally got Pathfinder back on top of the rover.
However, while I was attaching lashing it down, I saw the parts that weren’t visible while Pathfinder was on the ground. There’s no way it’s going to work, the dent is like the size of the wheels on my rover and those are huge.
I really didn’t need that.
If nothing else, I can dismantle and use it for parts if I can’t get it to work but I have no way of knowing if I can communicate with NASA or not.
I’m done for today, everything is a mess. I’m going to eat a whole meal as comfort and get some good sleep.
Log Entry: Sol 89
Today I decided to do some research; maybe there’s another rover lying around here that might be able to help me out. Honestly I’m just looking up random stuff because I’m too sore from yesterday.
Breaking my trend of bad luck I found that Viking 1 lander is around here somewhere but in the opposite direction of the HAB. It would be an arduously long journey and I’d have to ration the hell out of my food but it might be a possibility…
Viking 1 was shut down because of a human error. Albeit, it concerned the communications system which is what I actually need but you never know maybe my 21st century mechanical engineering experience can outdo 1970s NASA. There’s no chance that I can get Pathfinder to communicate with Earth but maybe I could combine the systems and make up for the faults in both.
Viking 1 is in the opposite direction from whence I came which would add a lot of unexpected time to my journey. The biggest problem is food, I’ve got enough oxygen and water to last. If I go back though I’ll have to do this month long journey again…..oh what fun… kill me now.
Not literally… that was a joke.
I’ve been out here for 17 sols. My mission was supposed to take 20 or so sols so I brought 30 sols worth of food. Adding time in for the Viking 1 journey would bring my total to 34 sols, higher if it takes me a couple days to figure out what to do with the lander. Not enough food means stricter rations and praying that I don’t run into any more complications for the rest of the journey.
On the other hand. I could just keep going back to the HAB, create a new plan, and restock on supplies. Problem is that, even at the HAB, the Viking 1 is still the closest lander I could bring back. Adding to my difficulties is the size of the Viking 1… it weighs about twice as much as Pathfinder did and I doubt my rover could even bring it back if I came back in a month.
Actually, writing that last part out is making me lean towards going after it now. I’d be really hungry but since I can bring Pathfinder with me, I might be able to pick out the parts of the communication system and rig together a module of sorts there.
Definitely not what I had in mind when I went searching for Pathfinder. But driving back to the HAB means driving further away from Viking 1 when I could possibly be making progress there. That’s the big thing. I don’t want to return empty handed. Yeah. I’m going to turn the rover around now and get going. Viking 1 here I come. I hope.
So Mars decided to screw me again. What else is new? This relationship is starting to get abusive but I don’t think a planet would work well in therapy. Anyways, I might as well research more on Viking 1 and see if my Frankenstein plan is going to work.
Oh and praying. Lots of praying