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Ellen's Rover Diary Day 1 2 3

Day 2

Yesterday evening, I was almost out of control I because I was so happy. This is a fantastic team. We laugh hard, play hard, and even dance — merengue and some salsa. Plus, we're all into science and being outdoors. This team has a fun-loving, fabulous spirit.

Finding water, on the other hand, isn't proving so easy. Iain and I wandered high and low, finding old traces of running water in the landscape, particularly in rock. None of these will help us right now, however.

Plus, the whole deal about cutting open cacti isn't really accurate. They hold water if it has rained recently, but if it hasn't, they are moist, but it isn't appealing to smell or even enough to drink.

Driven by necessity, Iain and I set up two methods to collect water: a solar still and transpiration bags on trees.

We found an oasis of sorts — a place where the geology makes it so that water in the soil or near the surface is channeled into a narrow area. There are plants here that require more water than typical desert plants. We dig for water — it should only be a meter or so down based on the types of plants in the area, at least that's what the research says. We keep hitting drier and drier soil, so we stop. The top 18 inches of soil seem damp, so we set up a solar still. I also bag several branches of trees to collect transpired water. This is a long shot but even a tablespoon of water would be helpful at this point.

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Ellen collects water from the desert plants
Scientist's Diaries

Water or wheels? How did the other members of the Rough Science team cope with the first challenge? Read their diaries to find out: