Journalist Report – January 2nd

MDRS Crew 202

Journalist Report

Sol 4 – 01/02/2018

Name the space movie (or show) given the following quote. Answer at the end of the Report:

If we ain’t out of here in ten minutes, we won’t need no rockets to fly through space!

Rejoice! For today, we broke into the Nutella jar, knowing the Great Nutella Crisis of Crew 202 has been resolved by reserves from our wonderful Executive officer. This morning, we carefully spread the Nutella on delicate crepes and topped the dish with a berry syrup made from dehydrated strawberries and blueberries and a dash of sugar. It was a wonderfully sweet start to the morning.

After fueling up, the crew prepared for their first long-duration Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA). The Commander, Executive Officer, Engineer, and I were to trek to an area near the Pleiades Road to investigate geological sites and collect rock samples. We’re in the depths of winter and our EVA suits must protect us from -4 degrees Celsius (i.e. ~25 degrees Fahrenheit); therefore, preparing to shove our heads through the goldfish bowl helmet is a lengthy process.

Each of us bundles up in two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, the flight suit… the flight suit’s zipper is nearly bursting at the seams… our hiking boots, gloves, the radio, the microphone to the radio, the bandana over our mouth to prevent fogging up the helmet and hold the microphone in place, and finally the EVA suit carrying our life support systems.

The EVA suit alone weighs approximately 20 – 25 pounds, similar to the weight of a small dog or 104 blueberry muffins. There are two straps around your shoulders and two straps across your chest to support the military grade frame against your back. This may not seem like an enormous weight, but after 3 hours of hiking, it’s amazing the muscles you discover in your back that you never knew were there!

As a Martian, you must stand in the airlock for 5 minutes to allow for depressurization before exiting the habitat. Here are a few suggestions to fill your time during the wait: Charades, Hangman, 20 Questions, and/or Tic, Tac, Toe. Our Executive Officer is the reigning champion of 20 Questions, but it is still early in the mission.

Our geological sites of interest required a 15-minute rover expedition and a 1-mile hike. The drive nearly froze our fingers, but the hike quickly warmed them up again nearly to the point of sweating. Note to future astronauts: triple tie your shoes before going on an EVA. You cannot reach your boots when there is a giant glass dome limiting your reach, not to mention I cannot touch my toes to begin with. You will be forced to waddle in shame to another crew member, attempt to throw your foot on a rover tire, and have them tie your shoes. Like a kindergartener.

The day was beautiful. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and a vibrant blue, and the snow sparkled rainbows as we drove across the Martian landscape. Our geological site used to be an ocean millions of years ago. The evidence of its waters could be seen in the orange hues of brittle rock, beige slabs of clay, and patches of sand. Smooth rocks spotted the hills, as we arrived at our plateau and found some ideal boulders and pebbles to spectra and thermal image before moving onto the next site. With our bag of rocks so large Charlie Brown would be jealous, we “Mars walked” all the way back to our rovers. Mars has 1/3rd of Earth’s gravity and the Moon only has 1/6th.

This means you’re not quite skipping and leaping on Mars, but you’re not walking normally either. You simply have some extra bounce in your step, doubled by the excitement of the crew. Our lovely crew members working CapCom from home base prepared heated bread and warm tea for our return, ending the main excitement of the day… Or so we thought.

The setting: a casual card game between two crew members. Another laid out on the couch reading a book, silently enjoying a sci-fi world outside of our own. When all of a sudden, a flicker. The lights dimmed and brightened… dimmed and brightened… The radio static could be heard at the press of the director’s thumb. There’s an anomaly with the power generator. There were attempts to diagnose the issue, but the sun was dropping quickly and the cold is a greater threat than the malfunctioning generator. It would have to wait til the morning.

We prepared our home to enter low power mode. With 63% of power remaining, the habitat should stay powered through the night. And so, the Great Generator Crisis of Crew 202 began. It’s headlamps and flashlights until we settle in for the night. On the Red Planet, power is essential for survival. It provides heat. It pumps the water. It preserves our food. We wait to see what new personality tomorrow will bring.

Movie (or Show) Answer: Alien