Journalist report, 02/24/17 – Sol 12: Freezing cold.
I took part in today’s EVA, which goal was to test the balloon, the connected glasses, and explore in the Northern part of the desert. I was going out with Xavier, Simon and Louis. After the classical checks, a water refill, we began by trying to deploy the solar balloon at the spot we marked few days ago, just a few meters away from the hab. After having fixed it to the ground, we started to inflate it. But a strong wind was blowing on the ground, making it very hard to control it. We struggled for a few minutes, before we decided to abort the experiment. It was a bit damaged by the wind, and we put it back in the engineering airlock, before leaving on the rovers and ATVs. During this whole time, Louis was trying a local network, generated by his phone, that was broadcasting his glasses’ view in order to let habcom see what he we seeing. We found out that its range was limited to a dozen of meters, so that it is only usable during the engineering check, but worth it.
The second part of the EVA was more about adventure: as we spent less time than expected on the solar balloon, we had a lot of time remaining for exploration. That is why we went far away from the station. We reached a place called “The moon”. The ground went from white, to yellow, to grey, in only few hundreds of meters. I was very disturbing, as we never experienced such a landscape before. It clearly didn’t seem that we were on Earth already… We stopped in front of Sanjerooni Butte, a flat mountain, detaching strictly from the ground, with its vertical sides, with Skyline Rim as a background. This whole view was absolutely stunning, but one thing was disturbing our contemplation: the cold. The temperature was very low this morning, even if the sun was bright and the air dry. It seems that the photos are shot in the middle of summer, but I took half of it without feeling my fingers…
The afternoon was full of science as usual, I spent a lot of time working on my morning shots, as my teammates were working on their own. We recently unboxed the 3D printer of the station. I must have been broken because we had to struggle just to turn it on, and are already calibrating it. Tomorrow we might take another shot with the balloon. Let’s hope that we will be luckier than this morning.
Louis MANGIN, crew journalist MDRS 175