Commander Report – February 21st

Dear Earth,

We are currently living our ninth Sol on Mars, and fortunately the
weather was kind enough with us to allow a three-hour EVA.

Louis Mangin, Louis Maller, Victoria and Simon went out at 9 AM and
began by looking for a good place to anchor the balloon (this maneuver
being planned for a later and less windy EVA). The plan is to let the
balloon fly during an entire Sol, at about 80 meters of height (260
ft) and attached to a heavy rock. During the night, it will slowly go
down, and we will pick it up on the next morning to recover 24 hours
of atmospheric data. To conduct that experiment, we need a long period
with less than 10mph of wind, so we keep our fingers crossed for the
next Sols.

The EVA team finally found the right place, in a plain North-East of
the Hab, visible from its windows. After that, they took two ATVs and
a rover to explore and take pictures at White Rock Canyon, which was
discovered during yesterday’s EVA. Meanwhile, Xavier learned by heart
the datasheet of our electric supply, Mouâdh prepared a delicious rice
with tomato sauce (rice is the only food we have in large quantity,
beside the tremendous amount of snacks of all kinds), and I made a new
funnel from cans, for the refilling of the ATVs’ oil.

The wind rose around 11 AM and went on during the whole Sol. It was as
if the Hab could be blown away at any time. Sometimes the noise
covered our usual musical ambiance, but the work continued,
undisturbed by the elements. We had an important debate in the
afternoon, about our rationing of the breakfast, until we found a
brand new jar of active yeast well hidden on the shelves (our previous
jar vanished with yesterday’s bread). We are saved!

My report was almost over when we realized that the sky was finally
Mars-like: the orange-red clouds in the evening sky were spectacular
and gave us an impression of fireworks’ grand finale, after the wind

Ad Astra!

Arthur Lillo
Commander of the stunned Crew 175