Commander Report – Sol 5:
Prepared by: Mamatha Maheshwarappa
Earth Date: 02.03.2017
As rightly said by India’s former President and one of the world’s greatest minds A.P.J Abdul Kalam “You have to dream before your dreams can come true”, my biggest dream/goal of my life is to become an Astronaut. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is one such step not just for me but to five other closest friends/colleagues of mine who are part of Crew 174. This opportunity came with many challenges, hurdles that demanded a lot of hard work, delays (Visa) in joining the rest of the crew, personal problems at crew’s family and equipment not arriving in time. But what kept us going was Chris Hadfield’s words “Some Astronauts get trained, do all the work but never leave Earth. I took this job knowing that I might be one of them, there is always a possibility of delay”. This made me think maybe we are getting trained for one such situation in future.
I/We never stopped getting ready … Just in case…
These situations have made us understand and appreciate the effort and hard work of thousands of people behind a manned mission. Just in the past few days I have learnt many things that I have not done and experienced before such as reacting to a stressful situation instantaneously, planning and be prepared for the worst case.
Though my arrival was delayed by a couple of days, it was worth it! I received the warmest welcome from the rest of the crew who have been doing a brilliant job at MDRS. Saroj Kumar, executive officer has done a commendable job by stepping in and taking up my role in my absence. Equal credits go to our Crew Biologist (Sneha Velayudhan), Crew Engineer (Arpan Vasanth) and Crew Geologist (Sai Arun Dharmik) who have supported at each and every step by carrying the spirit and enthusiasm even with these hurdles.
We have started experiments related to GreenHab, Geology, characterizing the transference of human commensal bacteria and developing zoning methodology for planetary protection which are all going according to the plan, the respective reports are being updated regularly.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors – QinetiQ (U.K), Rochester Institute of Technology (U.S.A) and University of Alabama in Huntsville (U.S.A), Faurecia (Germany) and others who have helped in our dreams coming true. Also, a big thanks to media back in India (Deccan Chronicle, Times of India) who have been constantly supporting us.