Commander Report – February 19th

Dear Earth,

We began Sol 7 with the same bad weather as yesterday.

Today’s EVA was shortened like the last one. The rain from last night
had left a very muddy environment, where it was not safe to take the
rovers. Simon was in charge of the EVA, with Victoria, Louis Mangin
and I. We went East of the Hab to determine the range of the walkie
talkies and test the radio repeater built yesterday. Unfortunately,
the results were absolutely not concluding, probably due to the
weather: even with a line of sight, sometimes we could not communicate
with each other while the Hab was hearing us. The second experiment
was the marine sextant, with which we measured the angles between
distant objects (the Hab, a remarkable hill…), to determine our
position on the map afterward. The significant humidity in the air
covered our helmets with fog before long, preventing us from seeing
where we stepped. Thus, after an hour out of the Hab, Simon took the
decision to abort the EVA and come back to the main airlock.

Unlike the EVA, the debriefing was efficient. There are much more
lessons to learn from an aborted mission than from a successful one.
We took this opportunity to define protocols for foggy situations
(guidance through radio), or non working radio (non-verbal
communication inspired by diving codes).

The afternoon brought a sunnier touch on our activities, allowing us
to watch our first (and unlikely) Martian rainbow. The experiments
went on normally, with interesting results. The sprouts in Victoria’s
Vegidair grow quicker than the ones in the GreenHab; the coordinates
on the map seem to correspond to our position when using the marine
sextant; the Aquapad petri dishes show without a doubt the destruction
of all bacterial life in boiled water compared with tap water (our
teachers did not lie to us!).

Apart from the crew, there is another busy inhabitant in the Hab: no
rest for the bread machine, the “perpetual bread” is on its way. The
psychological effect of eating fresh loaf everyday is undoubtedly
positive, and I am convinced that a shortage of flour would cause the
mutiny of my crew. I keep an eye on the stock, and an escape plan just
in case.

Ad astra!

Arthur Lillo,
Commander of the EVA-aborting Crew 175