There is no denying it, I cannot resist the call of Mars. And until we will reach the red planet, I cannot resist the call of a good analog mission.
So for the third time I have the pleasure of being hosted by The Mars Society at the Mars Desert Research Station. Crew 218, "The Next Giant Leap", composed entirely of students and alumni of Purdue University, is getting ready to begin their two-week analog mission. As commander and only veteran, I feel a mix of emotions: proud of my crew and happy of being able to support them throughout the mission while they test themselves like I did two years ago; conscious of many aspects of the mission and of all the responsibility I carry; curious to experience a rotation which will cover not only New Year's Day (as in the last two years I participated) but also Christmas away from our family and friends; interested in the development and outcome of our many research projects.
The eyes and the heart never get tired of the landscape surrounding us, those rocks and clays that we will walk upon and work amidst during our EVAs. It is incredible to be here again! Here is to another successful mission!
Commander, crew 218