Commander Report – February 15th

Crew 221 Commander Report 15FEB2020

Author: Maria Grulich, Commander

Title:Returning to Mars

I can almost not believe it that my second rotation at MDRS is over. The first time I was part of the international emerging space leaders crew and I returned as the crew commander of an international crew from five different countries (Costa Rica, Australia, Canada, Germany, Kuwait) where not everyone knew each other. Arriving back at the station it was as I never left, I immediately felt familiar and back at home as if my friends from crew 205 are still around, especially since crew 205 left us some surprise cookies in the freezer! The first week of MDRS we were very productive going on a lot of EVAs and I was surprised that the weather stayed stable for the two weeks we were here!

The second week passed by very quickly as we realised that two weeks is not so much time when you still have to finish so many projects while keeping a Mars Station up and running. The projects included growing black corn and sprouting mung beans, investigating microbes in Martian soil, testing salinity of the soil and building a robot to assist during EVAs, while filling in surveys for human factor studies and following the international voice protocol used on the International Space Station in the hab as well as on EVAs.

Being the commander of an international crew is very enriching, in particular, as we organised cultural night every other day where we learned how to speak Australian, danced to “Nutbush City Limits”, dressws as Kuwaities, got a history lesson about India and Canada, ate nice food from Costa Rica, and danced to German Octoberfest songs and learned how to make the longest words in the World in German. We managed to entertain ourselves with games, sport and meditation sessions and a lot of good conversations, which always raised the question is it “cultural” or “religion”.

It was an honor to be the crew commander of Crew 221 Earth2Mars!

I want to thank all the crew members, Hemani Kalucha Crew Journalist alias “Juno”, Louis D. Monge Crew Engineer alias “Frankie”, Jessica Todd Crew Greenhab Officer alias “Goblin”, Rawan Alshammari Health and Safety Officer alias “Luna”, and Ghanim Alotaibi Crew Astronomer alias “Astro” for all their effort and being so great in achieving almost all our objectives! We came as strangers and we leave as friends! The team is already planning their reunion in Costa Rica in a year we really hope that this will happen in the meantime almost all our crew members are part of SGAC (Space Generation Advisory Council) and will meet on their events and space conferences for sure sharing now this amazing experiences of being two weeks on Mars together!

Until the next time… Ad Astra!

Crew Commander Grulich alias “Ewok” from Crew 221 Earth2Mars signing off….

MDRS Station