Journalist Report – December 19th

Atila,

This is our Journal from today. Hope you enjoy it!
Thanks

Crew 201 Journalist Report – 19DEC2018

The Martian Chronicles

[SOL 4] – Ninety-Four

One of the most important thinks to take into consideration when preparing to become an astronaut, is definitely the ability to embrace the physical and mental challenges that space exploration demands. This requires years of training and preparation in order to be capable of performing hard and long tasks during every mission. Something that we’ve learned during our adventure is that this is harder than it looks like. For real.

MDRS Crew 201 – MEx-1

These first couple of days on Mars have been very successful. Since our first day at the station, we definitely knew that this was no child game. The importance of keeping in good shape, properly hydrated, well fed and rested, are nothing but the key elements that will determine the success or (God forbid) failure of this mission. And today, we putted that knowledge into practice during our first exploration Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA). And make no mistake, dear reader; we knew since the beginning that this would definitely be one of the top challenges since the beginning of our journey. But, just as some senior engineering and science students have learned the hard way: theory and execution can be significantly different once you put into practice what you (think) already know.

We started our day with the now typical routine. Waking up early, health care routine checkup, exercise, and a healthy re-constituted breakfast (which is becoming surprisingly tasty after these days). After putting our warm clothes and flight suits, we went downstairs to the EVA room to put on our boots, gloves, radio headsets and… the spacesuit. Think of this as the “prepping ritual”, in which four brave crew members prepare themselves to face the extreme conditions and unexpected dangers that the hostile -but still beautiful- Mars landscape has to offer. The mission was simple: driving on the rovers to the descent point, take out our instruments (and the camera, of course!) and begin our hiking from Cactus Road to our final destination. The outcome for this activity was the acquisition of different Mars landscape images that will be used to train an artificial vision algorithm for an autonomous rover design our team members are working on. How cool is that, JPL? The secondary objective for this activity was the recollection of different Martian soil samples for a greenhab research to see if seeds and plants can grow using these kind of material. Unfortunately, we don’t have any potatoes to test this one the right way.

The crew was divided in two groups: our Commander and Executive Officer (XO) on one hand, taking the images of the samples. On the other hand, our Health and Safety Officer and Greenhab Officer, searching for the perfect location to gather some good soil samples. While going deeper into the trail, we found out that our walk was going in a descent direction. And here’s where we realized that the fun part was yet to come. Going down is always easy. Going back up, well… let’s say it’s a whole different story. Taking strengths from within and big breaths evert step, we managed to go back right on time all the way up to the rovers, under the burning mid-day sunbeams.

The travel was very successful! We took some excellent pictures, collected three different soil samples and got some breathtaking pictures form our first long walk into the Martian fields. Back in the HAB, our crew Engineer and Scientist received us, re-pressurized properly inside the airlock, and took all our gear off for our first, successful and right on time exploration activity. And yes… we were exhausted!

During our recovery lunch time, we decided to go back through our pictures and videos of the EVA. And we found out something curious and funny… for most of the times that the camera looked to our Commander and XO walking in front of us, it looked like they were almost always aligned on the same way: Commander on the left, XO on the right. Each spacesuit has a number, something that you should know by now, due to our previously shared pictures. So, when our crew members were aligning on the positions previously mentioned, one number was created and shown during most of the pictures we took today. A number that will remind us of the first time we traveled into the depths of Mars: 94.

MEx-1 continuará informando.