Crew 184 Journalist Report
11 December 2017
Title Back on Track
Narrative It was our first real weekend on Mars, but there wasn’t much time to lay back and take a rest, because the problems of the past week still had their grip on us. On Friday the generator let us down once again, we shut it down and we prepared for the worst. As we expected another freezing night we started to seal the complete habitat to contain the warmth we have inside. If that still wouldn’t have been enough we considered moving to the science dome, as it is the structure of our Mars mission that is the best insulated. We covered and secured sensitive electrical equipment and send a few thoughts to our loved ones.
We succeeded and had a descent night. I think, the insights we gathered from this emergency event could be useful for the men and women, who will follow us to Mars. But for the time being, we stayed alert, because the problems weren’t resolved. Even if we slept like native Martians, we still had to take care of the generator and the flow of energy at night.
Together with mission control we made the decision to evacuate for the night of Saturday to an emergency pod a few miles south of the Habitat. Equipped with the most relevant life sustaining technologies, perfectly insulated but stripped of the extended possibilities of the habitat this pod served us perfectly for the night, before we could tackle the problem of the generator once another morning provided us with the energy of the sun.
When we returned Sunday morning things had calmed down and we realized, that one source of the problems could have been contaminated coolant in the generator. We decided to flood the coolant tank, to clean the device and refill it with a new mix. Mission control works tirelessly to find additional solutions to the hick-ups in the communication between the battery and the generator and I am sure the earths best scientists are writing already a perfect plan to make our energy infrastructure work not only for us, but for the future crews to inhabit this strange new planet.
Quick flashback to Friday, which was a grand Martian day. We continued our geological Matryoshka project on an EVA consisting of Science Officer Trivedi, Doctor Sczepaniak and me. We went North-East from the habitat and once again the landscape and nature proved to be surprising and new. The location was hidden, but in a mix of satellite imagery, GPS and common sense we finally found Candor Chasma. What a mystical name and a very fruitful location for our scientists.
The surroundings looked very similar to the Sahara Desert on Earth. Deep sandy dunes and mysterious desert plants, complimented by giant stones, that look like they have been dropped from the sky by a higher force. Cunningly some of these rocks have a very large body, but they are only connected to the ground by a small fraction of their bottom parts. Martian rocks seem to defy the logic of physics and there is much to be explored about the origin of these formations.
The crew climbed up to a higher plateau, even when the sun was high and the temperatures in the suits were rising constantly. Trivedi and Sczepaniak really worked as a team and secured a lot of uncontaminated probes. We saved a lot of time compared to former EVA’s and had even time for a film interview at the location in space suits.
After our return to the hab we had much time to care about maintenance., especially because we didn’t have an EVA today. We repaired a few space suits that were a bit out of shape and First Officer Randazzo really dug deep into the soil of the green hab. She had been afraid that after the generator failure, would have effected the temperatures immensely, threatening the livelihood of the young seedlings, she had planted before. But the structure proved its value and all the plants are alive and kicking.
She continued to thin out tomato plants and seed new herbs today to comple-ment the diet plan of the crew. As we were all stuck in the habitat today it becomes apparent, that it is good for the crew members to find refuge in one or another building on the premises to have a little time for themselves. First Officer Randazzo really enjoys the time in the green hab, it is almost like a form of meditation to plant new life into little pots.
Personal Logbook After a tumultuous few days it was good to come back to the daily routine. There were a few doubts, how everything will continue on Mars for us, but now we can value our time here even more.
After the biggest problems seem to be contained I am looking very forward to go out on the next EVA tomorrow. While the Crew repaired the generator I used the time to shoot some pictures around the habitat. The design of the observatory is a real piece of art and I fell in love with it.
Looking forward to get outside the habitat tomorrow and I will try to capture some scenes, that I haven’t been shot before. I am very anxious what the next days will bring.
We had a great ten days of meals and we are running out of fresh supplies. We have to get creative now for cooking, but I am very confident, that we will create something delicious for the crew, because good food keeps the spirits high.
Thank you very much for your help and attention.
Willie Schumann, Journalist, Crew 184