Sol Summary – January 6th

It started snowing yesterday at 4pm, and didn’t stop until after we were asleep. We woke up this morning to an all white Martian landscape with no “Red Planet” in sight.

Back on Earth this would be primetime for a snow day, but sadly that was not the case here on Mars. We have numerous life support systems that need checking, every day, regardless of weather. However, Commander Ilaria did let us sleep in for an extra hour, so the crew was happy and rested to begin our day of operations.

We waited until 2pm, the hottest time of the day, to go out on our daily engineering EVA. Troy led Gwendal and I to check the propane, diesel generator, water tank levels, clean the solar panels of snow, and fill the oil & gas in the ATVs. This took about 15 minutes, and we were eager to get back to the warmth of the Hab. At that same time, our friends from the Solar System News Network – RYOT – reappeared. They wanted to ask us more questions about our mission, and to better understand the motives of subjecting ourselves to this analog simulation. Our scheduled quarter hour EVA turned into a frigid 2 hours. The highlight was hiking up to the nearest hill that overlooks the MDRS campus for panorama shots. The scenery was literally breathtaking, and the crew drank in the view before deciding that we might freeze if we stay out much longer. Back to the safe confines of the Hab came the order.

The Hab’s heating furnace never felt so good when we finally got back to it’s warmth. My toes felt like ice cubes and took some time to defrost. Our lazy day had unexpectedly turned into a full day of running around, but that is par for the “Mars” course. Be ready for anything!

Dinner and CAPCOM are coming up, and it seems like the crew cant wait to get in their bunks for the night. A good night’s rest is needed after the last couple of days. Crew 172 signing off.