Ida and Dactyl 2003
highly volcanic moon of Jupiter was the scene of our next mission
in 2000. Under such volatile circumstances, our astronauts fared
very well, dealing with the intense heat and activity quite admirably.
minor timing problems, the Io 2000 mission blasted off successfully
March 7 2000 at 1300 hrs EST. All of the astronauts were very excited
as they waited in the shuttle for the countdown to complete.
1400 hrs EST on the second day, a series of volcanic eruptions pelted
the sides of the habitat with large pieces of debris, cutting power
to the interlock for a brief period of time. Not much could be done
about it, for eruptions recommenced soon after. This bout was stronger
than the last, and the perturbations forced a breach in the habitat
wall. The emergency bulkhead between the longhouse and the interlock
was shut down. Because of the severity of the breach, there was
no time to get any repair items.
repair EVA was conducted by Gabrielle and Margot Cragg. They stayed
in the longhouse while the rest of the astronauts filed into the
airlock and sealed themselves in. Once this was done, they proceeded
to depressurize the interlock (via the control panel). The two suited
astronauts entered the longhouse to assess the damage. The rent
in the hull of the longhouse stretched from the floor to the celing.
They attempted to repair it, but their efforts proved futile. Gabrielle
and Margot, however, did retrieve some repair supplies. In the next
EVA mission, Charles Gaulke and Adam Feiner attempted to repair
the hole with several pieces of adhesive tape, before their air
supply began to run out.
short; the astronauts' access to the bathroom was cut off, and they
needed to repair the hole. The final pair of astronauts, David Owen
and Roman Dzioba, suited up and made ready to repair the rent. For
fifteen minutes, they carefully attached a piece of polyethylene
plastic to the gaping hole, finally fixing it. To compensate for
lost time, the astronauts cancelled several proposed experiments.
Later in the day, a volcanic eruption knocked out electricity in
the longhouse. A brief consultation with Mission Control determined
that there was no danger.
day, a leak in the water tank forced the astronauts to work 2 hours
to repair the damage. Several pipes outside of the habitat were
patched to prevent leaking. Roman then proceeded to collect rock
and soil samples, and sent them back to the Habitat for analysis.
Meanwhile. magnetic disturbances in Io's atmosphere adversely affected
the electronics in the Interlock, knocking out power for an hour
and degrading the network connections. Even after communication
with MC resumed, there was a great deal of magnetic interference
which caused the network to lag. A brief trip to the outside to
locate electromagnetic rocks among the surface succeeded and normal
network communications resumed.
trip back home had the astronauts fly through an asteroid field.
Although no damage was suffered, the experience left the astronauts
nervous and wary for the rest of the journey. The shuttle eventually
splashed down on Earth at 1319 hrs EST Mar 10, 2001.