Journalist Report – January 13th

Title: Country Roads, take me home…

Author: Oscar Ivan Ojeda Ramirez

Extract from Commander’s log, Sol 1

We’re finally here. After months of preparation, planning, after rising expectations, we’ve made it. Those alien-like red hills, and geometric shapes of cylinders, hemispheres, and cubes, worthy of a Dali painting, are finally a real place, a place to call home. A whole mission is now ahead of us, a mission full of challenges and rewards, of personal and professional growth, and at the end of it, we expect to come back home to share what we learned, so that others may follow the path.

We venture into the unknown not just to discover it, "it", but most importantly to discover ourselves. Ourselves as individuals, as a crew, as a community, and in our particular case, as a nation, is it the first time a 100% Colombian crew takes the station.

Any doubts I might have had to be on this mission were cleared as soon as we made the turn and the habitat appeared on sight. At that moment it was clear to me that the efforts and sacrifices we are taking are going to be worth it.

And they won’t be few. Amongst others, we have for the better or the worst, the eyes of many people upon us, and we’ll have to perform to the best of our abilities, just to match what they expect from us. And living in a desert, far away from everyone, comes with a toll. But each one of us must not forget why we volunteered to be here, and that being here is the most important thing for our lives right now. We’ve had a history behind with most of the crewmembers and I trust each one of them as a perfect fit for their role within the crew.

Despite its beauty, Mars is definitely not the most welcoming place, it’s cold, it’s dry, and when it’s not dry, it’s muddy. Mars wants for many secrets to stay unveiled, and sometimes will put up a fight on that.

With 14 sols worth of challenges, lessons, laughter, probably tears, but for sure growth, on both a personal and professional point of view, we have to be up for it.

We are now on it together, and as a famous Aristotle quote goes, "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts". It was once a dream, now it is our reality, and soon it will be a memory. It better be a wonderful memory.

Per Aspera Ad Astra.