Journalist Report – February 16th

Journalist report, 02/16/17 – Sol 4: Martian birthday.

I woke up today with a strident but nice “happy birthday” from Victoria, late for the awakening as usual. It is a bit special to celebrate your birthday so far from home. I wouldn’t be able to gather a lot of friends, or to phone anybody for a long time, just a couple of mails from well informed relatives, who knew how to contact me. But anyway, everybody here was happy to wish me a happy birthday, and it was a pleasure to spend it on Mars, going around for my second EVA. I didn’t regret at any time being here instead of being at home.

Our preparation was more efficient than yesterday, everybody knowing what to do, so that we left on time. We were going to explore a canyon called Candor chasma, and left the base by pairs in our electrical rovers. After twenty minutes, we reached the entry of it. The place was absolutely stunning. Along with my crewmates, Louis, Xavier and Victoria, we walked in the bottom of it, for about an hour and back, in a beautiful landscape. Sadly, I had a lot of trouble with fog during this time. Because of the heat, and the sweat, it accumulated on the helmet, forcing me to shoot most of my photos blind at the time.

Hopefully, back on the rover, it went better. We climbed a hill, giving us a nice view on the surroundings and the MDRS, got lost, travelled a bit on the rovers, and finally had a little time left to shoot photos and videos. Then, we went back to the hab, to have lunch, and eat the beautiful birthday cake Simon had cooked for me.

The afternoon was more quiet. Everybody working on his own. Mouâdh prepared for the deployment of the seismometer, planned for tomorrow. Simon repaired the balloon, Arthur launched the first water analysis with aquapad… And to make this day happier, Mouâdh just learned he was accepted in CalTech for next year!

Next day, I will not be part of the third EVA, which goal is to bury the seismometer in the hole we dig yesterday.