Journalist Report – February 17th

Author: Natalia Larrea

Title: “Oh I will survive!”…. with the taste of cinnamon rolls and the sound of “Starman”

We woke up with the smell of fresh coffee and home-made cinnamon rolls made by our COMMS Officer (Hannah). Thanks to her and her excellent culinary skills, we are surviving in the Red Planet eating food as if we were back home on Earth (and even better I would say!). All the Crew sat down to enjoy breakfast all together as usual, but this time listening to the sound of Gloria Gaynor and her “I will survive” and David Bowie’s “Starman” from Dave’s (HSO) iPad. Full of energy, all the crew and our new Martian mascot “Gus” (found a couple of days ago on the Martian surface) started singing and dancing to the rhythm of these songs with big smiles on our faces. It was a great way to start our working day.

In the morning, the EVA team composed by Daniel (Commander), Veronica (ENG), Nathan (GHO), and Dave (HSO) left at 10.00 am driving Curiosity and Opportunity heading to the “Moon Area”. The team continued collecting geological samples over there, following the initial research performed a few days ago. They made further discoveries including some fossil shells and interesting igneous rocks with crystals hidden inside. Meanwhile, in the Hab, Maria (XO) supervised overall workflow and conducted sample inventory in the GreenHab and in the Science Dome. In the afternoon, we could see some clouds rising in the horizon. By 1.30 pm some snowflakes started hitting the ground. Since “Crew safety and security first” is our main motto in this mission, the team decided to cancel the EVA scheduled for the afternoon. We took the opportunity to continue working on our different projects and tidy the Hab. Nathan (GHO) spent the afternoon in the GreenHab and the Science Dome doing some regolith sample characterization, watering the plants, and taking care of the A. Thaliana -ISRUexperiment (it is truly exciting to see how some of the seeds are growing in Mars like soil!). Hannah (COMMS) worked on food inventory and other tasks while Satana’s music was playing on the background. Dave (HSO) and Natalia (MEDIA) had the chance learn more about astronomy and variable stars thanks to the explanations from Ghanim (ASTRO). Martian mascot “Gus” is also helping us around the base. He is assisting us in putting together some outreach videos – dedicated to all of you Earthlings out there following us – about our life in here and about Mars (to be released soon… stay tuned!). This afternoon was also a time for doing some fixing around the base. Vero (ENG), Dave (HSO) tighten some loose screws here and there and together with Maria (XO) they fixed some loose sheets in the tunnels tighten all the cable ties and discovered that one bigger sheet is lose over the science dome tunnel. Our leadership team for the day – Daniel (Commander) and Maria (XO) – finished the evening working on the daily reports and planning for tomorrow.

Today we completed Sol number 7. This has been an important milestone as it marks the middle of our mission. It has been one week since we started exploring these lands, adapting to this new life, overcoming daily challenges, and advancing admirably in our research projects. EVA suits now feel like a further extension of us. We have become much more efficient in our daily operations thanks to the new routine and processes that we have implemented together as a team. All the daily tasks around the base seem now to be part of our normal life. But above all, it has been one week since we became a “Martian family”. We can feel now how we have become a single unified team, driven by our shared-passion of conducting science and exploration, and supporting each other in all the steps along the way to achieve our mission goals. We have found a great balance between hard work and relax time, pushing our personal boundaries and advancing in our mission objectives. We have passed already one week here and we cannot wait to see what excitements the next days will bring!

Ad Astra!