Journalist Report – December 31st

Journalist Report
Ben Durkee, Crew 218 Journalist

Sol 09

Today began like any other day on Mars: awoken dim and early by the blasting of a select song from the Futurama soundtrack. We stirred ourselves some hot chocolate – the only dehydrated food we seem to have an abundance of – and gathered around the window to watch the sunrise. Once the sun peeked out from its azimuthal hiding spot, it seemed we were already in a rush to eat breakfast and prepare for our first EVA of the day.

With this being our 6th EVA, we were already pros at the process. Myself, Shefali, and Cesare were suited up, depressurized, and revving up the rovers in 15 minutes flat. Our goal for this EVA was to head south of the Hab. Not for warmer pastures, but for a signal analysis experiment. My research involves measuring ambient radio signals around the Hab, so we were testing whether or not the ridge between the Hab and our destination would have a dampening effect on such signals.

The ridge in question is called Kissing Camel Ridge, supposedly named because the rock formations look like two titular camels face to face. However, I adamantly believe that anyone who claims to see two camels there is either a fraud or suffering from terminal "Emperor’s New Clothes" Syndrome.

We accomplished our own personal research goals in the area and spent our remaining time capturing pictures of the grandiose landscape. Admittedly also a few (hundred) pictures of each other in fabulous poses. We loaded back up the rovers with our cumbersome equipment and slogged back to base. The roads today are swampy concoctions of mud and slushy ice under the facade of neatly laid snow. We returned home cold, muddy, and accomplished.

As soon as we escaped our life-saving mobile prisons (that we are very grateful for), we tagged in the next EVA crew. Pat, seismologist extraordinaire, and LuzMa, dehydrated mango connoisseur performed an engineering maintenance EVA while they waited for the rovers to recharge. Once T and Custy had drunk their fill of our precious electricity, they valiantly carried the two Marstronauts to their goal. That goal being: south. Just slightly farther south than we had ventured. Always one-upping us, those two.

After performing a long series of geophonic tests that we Hab-dwellers could intermittently hear over the radios, they too braved the earthy sludge on their homeward bound. They got back to breathable air just in time to join the sequel to yesterday’s fire brigade! We had waited a majority of the day to ferry water in the hopes that the pipes would thaw, but no dice. On the bright side, since we had used some of yesterday’s water to wash the dishes, we had a multitude of clean pots and other water receptacles for our thirst-fueled operation.

1000 rotations of dumping pots and slamming my head into the low ceiling later, our water was at a more than acceptable level. We filled it up a bit extra so that people had the opportunity to shower before our New Year’s festivities if desired. A few people seized the hygienic opportunity, and then we spontaneously dove into a viewing of Shrek. As a neutral journalistic observer, I must report that tensions are beginning to rise. There may be a formation of factions between those who want to watch Mulan next and those who would prefer Hot Fuzz. The first Martian Civil War breweth.

The other thing beginning to rise is our rosemary bread for the great New Year’s feast! Very soon we will put aside our differences and eat the vast majority of our remaining food supply. It’s strange to celebrate the anniversary of the Earth’s revolution around the sun from its planetary next-door neighbor. There’s no way I’d rather spend it than breaking Hab-made bread with my fellow crewmates.

What a fantastic way to usher in the new decade. Happy New Year, everyone!

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