Journalist Report Jan 11

Crew 219 Journalist Report 11 JAN 2020

Author: Alejandro Perez, Crew 219 Engineer

Sol 6

Taking a Moment

Sol 6 has been one of the most rewarding days this mission. The day started with a beeping radio that woke me from my slumber. However, this was fine as we had a lot of work to do throughout the day. First was checking readings around the Hab and testing the new heating

system for the loft water tank pump, which worked perfectly. I conducted rounds shortly after the first EVA team was out in the field. The sun made a front stage appearance in today’s activities; providing warmth to the Greenhab and the surrounding desert. Later in the day on my EVA, this source of energy loosened the dirt beneath my feet making it difficult to walk around where there was no snow. Despite the continuous shine of the sun, the temperature remained below freezing for most of the day.

The middle of the day was highlighted by Hannah’s (LSO) cooking of homemade cornbread and chili. The cornbread was as soft as freshly fallen snow and the chili as tasty as mom’s home cooking. This was a welcome preparation for the second EVA team before going out in the field. The second EVA was set to explore Tank Wash and the valley area near Murphy’s Canyon. Throughout the expedition, Abdul (GEO) and I found crystalline rocks that glistened in the sunlight catching our eyes like a minnow to a barracuda. Next to these clear rocks were tracks of what looked like an intense chase between a mountain lion and deer. At this time in the EVA, we were close to our sampling location where we found possible sources of lichen on the rock bed above the valley. Finally, we have found possible extraterrestrial life on this Red Planet. The team then climbed a short way to collect

additional samples higher up and the views were breathtaking. As far as the eye can see were rivers of snow and sediment washing through the canyon like a lost land locked in time. Each mountain seemed to be a smooth carving of what looked like giant pieces of chocolate and mousse cake. We took a couple minutes to enjoy the moment and ended the hike with awkward EVA suit hugs and laughs at the top of this climb.

The euphoria of this journey had the EVA team in a nice gallop on the way back to the rovers. At this point in the day, the sun had done its job of waking up the land surrounding us. Unfortunately, the camera the team had brought on the EVA had died just before the sampling site. I guess this will be a moment shared only with people standing next to me. For someone from the concrete jungle of the Northeast, this has to be the most rewarding and life-changing experiences I have ever been a part of.