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Ellen's Communication Diary Day 1 2 3

Day Three

Mike is brilliant. Because finding these plants has taken longer than expected, I haven’t helped with the pen design at all. But Mike really hasn’t needed my help.

Both the desert mallow and the tansy mustard seed thickened the inkweed sufficiently well, but the mini-version of the ball point pen just wasn’t as reliable as the capillary action zero-gravity pen, so we ditched the thickeners and worked on improving the ink color for the capillary pen.

Kate was less than impressed with the inkweed color. She said something about it being a dirty, but functional, grey. I brought out the cochineal, and she smiled. As it turned out, Mike’s capillary pens needed quite a bit of ink and I didn’t have enough cochineal to be strong enough on its own. For the final test, we mixed unthickened inkweed with cochineal. It worked beautifully—a deep purple to write “Rough Science mission accomplished!” which came through clearly on Kathy and Jonathan’s light/sound communication machine. Too bad Iain’s not a artist as well as a geologist. The plaque of Kate’s face is… well, Kate’s a good sport.

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Ellen McCallie
Scientist Diaries

Will the Rough Scientists be able to get their message across? Read what they communicated through their diaries: