Journalist Report – January 02nd


 Journalist Report
Ben Durkee, Crew 218 Journalist

Sol 11

We're gonna be famous!

We had an extra sugary breakfast of cereal and cookies this morning while we waited for the film crew's spacecraft to arrive. The overload of carbohydrates in our bodies may have made us a little antsy as we marked time in the Hab. Our food supplies are beginning to run on empty, but we still have a surplus of flour and sugar, so Pat and I woke up at 6 AM Mars time to make our confectioneries. Hey, calories are calories. I'll get diabetes on Mars before I starve on Mars.

Our Earthling guests were a tad late - the entry, descent, and landing phase was a little rockier than they expected, I reckon. We in the Hab were worried about our potential acting careers falling through, but it was actually a blessing in disguise as it afforded us more time to prepare for our first EVA of the day. We got everything in order for Pat, Shefali, and Jonathan's excursion, and then our otherworldly visitors knocked at the airlock.

We discussed their desires and our own related to the filming, the most important thing being that the mission is priority one, cinematics are in the passenger seat. We hammered out both party's expectations for the day, and then the crew accompanied our three EVA musketeers to their nearby destination. Their EVA site was just within visual range of the Hab, and it was very entertaining to watch our astronauts walk up and down the same hill for the cameras. They got some footage of Jonathan's meteorological surveys and Pat's seismic tests, and then promptly returned to the Hab.

Since they consumed very little rover charge on their excursion, there was a quick turnaround between EVAs. Those three tagged in the other half of the crew - namely Cesare, LuzMa, and yours truly - and we set off to our new, considerably farther, goal. We had a good spot in mind that was both useful for data collection and photogenic for the cameras. It was the perfect spot, the only issue was the terrain being too harsh for the camera crew's Chevy Spaceship. They had to disembark their craft nearby and walk to the site.

Once we all convened at the picturesque bluff northeast of the Hab, we began analyzing and they began filming. I got some solid radiological data and some fun pictures of the filming crew in action. They were very appreciative of the photos, as they hardly get any shots of themselves behind the scenes. Photographers/videographers are this world's unsung heroes, that's for sure. By far the best thing to come of this EVA, though, is the drone footage of me wiping out in mud while carefully descending the hill. Don't tell the crew (because I am a broke college student), but I would pay good money for that video.

We returned to our rovers and they to their spacecraft. I was very impressed with how they were able to hold their breaths for the entire EVA. We complimented their lung capacity and proceeded back to the Hab for an end-of-day recap and very late lunch. Stories were shared between crews and before we knew it, the time had come for their orbital window back to Earth. We saw them off and lamented how we will be departing the same way soon.

I've started to get sentimental about this place. We've only been here sub-two weeks, but Mars has a way of sucking you in and making you wanna stay. And I'm not just talking about gravity. This mission seems like it has gone by quicker than it took for our dried mango supply to perish. That is to say: very fast.

I have a powerful cognitive weapon at my disposal, though. Any time I start reminiscing about the elements that make this place so grand, I just have to think about the beans. Oh, the notorious beans. We had beans and jambalaya for dinner last night and it was a delicious meal - we also cooked a large surplus of beans for future meals between now and our departure. All in all, a great time. The problems arose when I realized I was on dish duty that night. I looked at the culinary carnage around the table and my stomach dropped - both from the beans eaten and the beans uneaten.

See, beans have an uncanny ability to adhere to dishes. Not only that, but they spread to any dish they even remotely come in contact with. If you take some bean water (yum) and transfer it to other dishes, no matter how heavily you dilute it, the water will somehow always potently remember its bean history. It's like it has Post Traumatic Bean Disorder. It's a nightmare for dishwashing, especially when you are trying to conserve water to the best of your ability. Soon enough our whole kitchen reeked of bean. It propogates like the Bubeanic Plague. I spent multiple hours cleaning those dishes, and still had to call in backup to cleanse them of their blight. It was unbeanlievable. Not to mention our fridge full of leftover beans. Opening that thing is opening Beandora's Box. Don't do it.

I realize I have spent upwards of two paragraphs discussing beans and bean related anguish, but this is the only outlet myself and the rest of the crew have for our deep-seeded pain.

Tomorrow, we have one more EVA before beginning to wrap up.

Tonight, I count beans instead of sheep.

But, you know, other than that our time here has bean phenomenal.
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