Journalist Report – December 27th

Crew 201 Journalist Report – 27DEC2018

The Martian Chronicles

[SOL 12] – Mars, the white planet

Mars is still a mystery for us in many ways. First probes, orbiters and landers were sent from earth to the red planet as early as the mid-60s. There are lots of things that we don’t know about our nearest planet. And there are lots of things that we’ve discovered over the past decades that we could’ve never imagined! Mars and the Earth are different in so many ways. But there are some similarities on both planets as well. For example… did you know that there is snow on Mars?

MDRS Crew 201 – MEx-1

We are almost reaching the end of our adventure, and the red planet has one or two more surprises for us. Something that we haven’t talked about is the location of our mission. We know that the Earth and Mars are very different planets. However, there are a couple of things in which they can be very similar. For example, we can find big mountains on both of them. And, believe it or not, we can see snow on the north and south poles of both planets as well. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Well, that was a big surprise for us too! And that’s why we decided to land on the Martian South Pole, in a place known as “Schmidt Crater”. And today, during our morning activities on the HAB, we experienced something amazing and unexpected. Something that Mission Control informed us that only had a 10% chances of actually happening: snow!

It’s hard to imagine a white Martian landscape. We are used to think about Mars as the Red Planet. But let me ensure you, dear reader, that this place has more exciting surprises to offer. It all started just after having breakfast. We didn’t schedule any EVAs for today, and we planned to do some video recordings all around the HAB. On the middle of those activities, we realized that the temperature started to drop pretty quickly. This was not the first time it happened, so we really didn’t care about that. Then, the first weird thing happened; our crew engineer tried to pump some water from the external (static) to the internal (loft) one. And… it was not working. After some troubleshooting, we found out that the water pipes were frozen! To be honest, we got worried about that situation, because our internal water supply was running low at that time. And trust me on this one! Water is something you don’t want to have trouble with (especially when you have six human beings living under the same roof). Fortunately, the crew managed to work with the pipes defroster in order to get things running again. Thank you, engineering!

In the meantime, we started to work on the video shootings mentioned earlier. We suited up, prepared some interesting topics we wanted to cover, and walked through the connecting tunnels from the main HAB to the Musk Observatory. It was freezing in there! Colder than ever before. It got nearly impossible to keep recording. We were just about to pick our stuff and get back to the HAB… when we saw how those tiny and white snowflakes started to fall, little by little, all over the Martian landscape. That was unbelievable! And amazingly beautiful to see. Our beloved red panorama started to change just in front of our eyes. Mars decided to share with us an experience we never thought to have. It was a lovely reminder of home, indeed. A beautiful image that none of us will never forget.

MEx-1 continuará informando.

Walter A. Calles Glass, MDRS Crew 201 Co-Journalist