Journalist report to be posted
Authored by Anselm Wiercioch
Long time no see. Or, read.. or whatever.
Hope everyone planetside had happy holidays!
This was one of the quietest and strangest Christmases I’ve had (first
tin can holiday, woo), but was still very warm and wholesome. The crew
feels almost like family at this point. We had some fresh croissants
and played charades and trimmed the tiny Charlie Brown tree someone
brought. It was cute. We exchanged white elephant gifts – some books,
some legos, lots of fun stuff (I got a sweet Brown jersey). It was
Festivities aside, we also had our first martian dust storm! Right in
the middle of the night after things had settled down, the hab started
shaking violently. I know this is a thoroughly engineered structure,
but it’s also heavily mass optimized and no matter what the math says,
a thin sheet metal wall does not feel very strong when it’s standing
between your warm comfy Christmas night and a brutal frozen iron oxide
space storm. That’s a unique Mars experience for sure. After about 3
hours of struggling to fall asleep in a vibrating bunk, things got
really exciting. The hab includes a small hemispherical skylight dome
right in the center of the roof, and our tiny haboob blew it straight
off. We were all awake at that point luckily, but we’re sitting around
drinking tea and reading books, not planning what to do when your
house suddenly and loudly depressurizes and you get flash frozen.
Despite popular opinion, it kind of sucks.
Our training kicked in anyways and we were able to pull on our
emergency pressure suits before anyone was severely injured. We all
complained our fair share over the decade or so of building muscle
memory for things like this, but you’re sure happy when it comes to
task. A quick trip to the engineering bay yielded a solid replacement
(in my humble opinion, much more solid than what we started with) and
we were able to seal the hole without much trouble. It took about 10
minutes for the emergency system to repressurize, but the kitchen and
loft area were coated in a fluffy layer of red sand.
Somehow we all slept pretty well after that. Go figure. About 9 hours
later we woke and assessed the damage. (Yeah yeah, we missed morning
briefing. Priorities. Meh.) The hab as a whole seemed to survive
alright, as did the slightly buried but generally unbroken rovers. The
landing site is situated in between two small dunes against a hillside
to avoid things like this, and I think we avoided the brunt of the
storm. The interior was fluffy and red, but it gave us some nice
meditative cleaning work this morning.
After everything was basically back on track, if slightly behind
schedule, the day’s EVA crew suited up and headed out for Candor
Chasma. Some kind of massive geological rift NE of the hab. I stayed
home and started inventorying the engineering bay, but apparently it
was pretty spectacular. I’ll find out tomorrow on the follow-up crew.
Over all it was a pretty slow day. Lot of mindless work and gradual
mental debriefing. We’ve got a lot of work to do this week as our
primary mission winds down. Gonna get to sleep pretty early tonight.
And hey, my shower rotation is back up tomorrow. Little victories.