Journalist Report – January 11th

MDRS Crew 202, Journalist Report

Sol 12 – 01/10/2018

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

At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.

Holy smokes. It’s Sol 13. SOL THIRTEEN. Can you even believe it? It is our last day of simulation. Our last day of donning the suits for an extra-vehicular activity (EVA). Our last day of asking ourselves: “Is this what would happen on Mars?”

Today’s agenda: EVA #12 crewed by the Executive Officer, Engineer, Geologist, and Journalist, wrap up the final touches on research projects, and prepare the habitat for the next crew. Our last EVA as a crew was one for the books. Behind the habitat, there are these humongous rolling hills. Our Geologist needed a few final samples from the top of the hills, a mere 500 foot climb. With no feasible way to use the rovers, we set off on foot, finding grips through dried waterways where the snow had melted earlier that week. The 20 pounds of life support were definitely felt during the climb, but once you got to the top of the hill… It was breathtaking. Large plateaus appeared as castles overlooking their expansive plains which melted into rolling hills striped beige, reds, and browns. The hills are a maze leading into the scenic point mountain, the entirety of its peaks in view and the partially cloudy sky forced rays of light to illuminate its white peaks. Our habitat, our home, visible, nestled within the hills. A speck of life on the colorful terrain. No photo can do it justice. It was an incredible end to our Martian adventure.

It is our last day as just Crew 202 in the habitat. Upon our return from the EVA, work kicked into high gear. We conserved enough showers for each crew member to cleanse one last time before departing. This was a merciful act for the poor people on the plane home who have the unfortunate pleasure of sitting next to our mud-caked boots and dry shampoo spiked hair. We even had enough soap to do “laundry”. It was detergent filled water that reached two inches of a bucket, but (hopefully) the black color of the water after washing means our clothes are now clean. We swept the habitat, science dome, and green house, kicking up Martian dust storms that will inevitably settle back onto the floor when the new crew steps through the door. Final food inventory, taking note of how quickly all the semi-edible dust disappeared in the first week of the habitat. Strawberries finished on Sol 7. Oreos finished Sol 10. Salt… RIP Sol 12….

Tomorrow will be a strange day. The end of simulation means the end to our current way of life. We can step out of the habitat without a mic taped to our face, breathe in the Martian air, and feel the rays of the sun on our actual skin. We will show the new crew the ropes of living in the habitat and walk them through their new roles as Martians. It will be exciting to introduce strangers to this new world and reflect on how we felt first stepping in the habitat, a time that feels so long ago. There is tradition at MDRS of eating a final Earth meal for the incoming crew… and a first Earth meal for the current crew. Cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes await us tomorrow. REAL CHEESE. Cheese that doesn’t come from a tin can. Cheese that doesn’t become a horrifying glob in hot water. Creamy, luxurious cheese.

Tomorrow are our last reports, our last day on Mars, our last day as Crew 202. I’m sure the finality of it all will set in. Tonight, we discuss what we most look forward to returning to.

Movie (or Show) Answer: The Martian