Journalist Report – February 23rd

Journalist report, 02/23/17 – Sol 11:  Mid-rotation.

Today’s EVA was supposed to be quick: they had to bury the seismometer a bit deeper, explore the north of the map, to test the sextant, before going back to do a few tasks around the hab. We started a bit later today, because we planned our EVA for 9:30 instead of 9:00, the objectives being light. It was led by Victoria, followed by Arthur, Mouâdh and Xavier, who shot today’s outdoor photos. They started by going south, to fix the seismometer, which sensor had moved because it was touching its shield. It took less than half an hour to dig a deeper hole in the ground, and then to attach its cable back. At the same time, Arthur was using his sextant in this known location to check the coordinates it gave to him. By the way, we use a sextant, the former marine instrument, because a compass would not work on Mars, where the magnetic field is not stable.

The team then went north, to explore this region we had not visited yet, and to have new results for the sextant, that Arthur checked after, in the hab, with the map. According to the photos they showed us, the weather was nice, and the landscapes were beautiful. They remained there for less than an hour, before coming back. At the same time, Victoria mandated me to take care of the plants in the greenhab. It is the first time I did it, and it was very pleasant to be alone for a while in the little module, surrounded by plants. The desert is very dry, so that even during EVAs, we never see any tree, or any big plant, only a few burnt grass, but nothing green. This is why having the Vegidair in the living room is also pleasant: we regularly check the lettuces growing there, and it is a good feeling to know that we are not the only things alive in the neighbourhood.

The EVA ended up with the crew removing the plastic from the wall we built almost two weeks ago. The strong wind from the past few days damaged it a lot, so that its cover was at the time hanging only due to three surviving clips and a little rope. The metallic structure was very resistant, but the plastic covering it was too weak to support the wind. We may try to repair it during an EVA, but it seems hard, because of the precision it requires. We now will have to close our eyes when we leave the hab to reach other modules not to see the landscape…

Tomorrow, wind is supposed to calm down at least in the morning, so that we may use the balloon during the EVA, even if we might not leave it for 24 hours, Louis will also bring the connected glasses for a second test. I will be part of it, and hope that the weather does not restraint us another time.


Louis MANGIN, crew journalist MDRS 175