Sol Summary – January 1st

Crew 172

Today we arrived on Mars…Ok maybe not THE Mars, but southern Utah sure looks like the Red Planet. Our transport vehicles were not named Orion or Dragon, but instead Caravan and Suburban. Our seven Marsnauts are a diverse group from all over the world: three Americans, two Frenchman, one Italian, and an Indian. We are separated by eight years, the youngest being 22 while our commander is the oldest at 30 years young. Seeing desert in every direction and for as far as the eye could see, The Habitat was a welcoming sight. This is the moment, at least for me, when everything became “real.” Of course planning for six months, taking multiple flights, and spending quite a pretty penny on this experience is “real,” but when you actually see a two story hab, science dome, and greenhouse – the tingle of excitement washes over you.

Our “home” now consists of only 6 things: the Habitat, the science dome, the observatory, the greenhouse, a solar panel and ATV(s). We were given a tour of our home for the next 2 weeks, and all of the necessary systems training. Highlights are the water tank, both airlocks, EVA suits, and the daily routine we have now established. Next, on the docket was a pre-mission briefing with the local support staff. We all went over the procedures for EVAs, detailed our research projects and limitations, and the funnest part of our time on Mars – training on the ATVs. These vehicles will be our primary mode of transportation in the coming 14 days, other than our trusty two feet, so training was useful for all of our crew members. We are going to finish cleaning the hab tonight, and mentally prepare for the next fortnight. Our last planned activity of Sol 0 will be watching “The Martian.” Sure it may be corny, but hey we are on Mars and need all the help we can get!

Tomorrow morning we will wake up IN SIM on the Red Planet.