Journalist Report – March 1st

Journalist Report – Sol 11 03/01/18

Further, Faster, Stronger

For the second time of the simulation, there has not been a sport session this morning. But this time, that was not because we reached a break day. No, the team just was not able to wake up early enough. Yet we did not stay in bed until noon either! We indeed had an EVA planned at 9am, so we had to hurry! For the first time, neither Louis nor Victoria would be a member of the EVA. Laurent, Benoît and Jérémy made up the team, while I was their leader. We made our usual at our instruments to change the LOAC batteries. However, we realized that the batteries of the MegaARES were also at a dangerously low level. We had to go back to the Hab to ask Gabriel whether we had to change it too, yet he declined, as he believed that could be done tomorrow. We could then go on with the core of our EVA: exploration.

As we were going further north than we ever went before, we decided to ride the ATV: one of each one of us! These ones are indeed way faster and more pleasant to drive than rovers. As we did not bring any heavy material on EVA, there was thus no issue not having rovers. After a 20 minutes’ drive, quite longer than we were used to, we finally arrived to the canyon we aimed to visit today. This canyon was a bit special: he was divided in several stratums under the one we parked the ATV on. The entry of the canyon was decorated by a display panel about dinosaurs, whose fossils are likely to be found here. Not the most Martian of the things we have seen here, but it is yet quite cool to know that! We then tried to enter the first level of the canyon: it has been a bit hard to find a way down at first, but after some researches we finally discovered an easy one. This small trip is the canyon was really nice, even though it revealed to be tiring! We found some small caves where Benoît and I could take a break in, while Jérémy seemed to have borrowed Benoîts lure for small beautiful stones. Once we completed our trip to the depths of the canyon, it was almost time to ride our ATV back to the Hab!

The return trip was outstanding. To be able to drive a lonely vehicle in such a beautiful landscape, the sensation of the ATV rolling over rocks, everything was delightful. But this moment could not last forever, and the Hab quickly appeared in our eyesight, ready to welcome us. Or at least, that is what we thought. We indeed got no response from the Hab: Gabriel, today’s HabCom, remained silent. 10 minutes later, we decided to go back to the instruments to get the empty batteries we left there, not to be cluttered on our ATV. But as we came back, Gabriel finally responded! Yet, it was to ask us to go back where we came from, and turn off the MegaARES… This was however useless, as the MegaARES was already shut down because of the low battery. Gabriel was by the way worth some derogatory remarks because of this meaningless return trip. Remarks we finally regretted when we discovered that our communication issues were due to the walkie-talkies, which stopped functioning.

Our today session of KTNE was quite less successful than the previous one, especially for Benoît and Louis, which were not able to find a specific word in a list of 25 in 3 minutes, and they had several difficulties counting up to 4, which led to some loud funny shouting matches. And today was also the day I could (finally!) take my first shower! I also was able to beat the best score of the crew, going down to 1.2 gallons for my shower. It is hard to say that we had almost lost the habit to smell nice here. This shower was yet really pleasant, and my hair is at last not standing anymore on its own!

Alexandre Martin, Crew 189 Journalist