Journalist Report – February 4th

Crew 240 Journalist Report 04Feb2022

Author: Pierre Fabre

Sol 4: Home tour – The Martian house

It’s been three days since we arrived in the station and I’ve been mentioning some cool names like Science Dome and RAM in my reports. I bet everyone is dying to know what those buildings look like, no? If not, we are going to pretend anyway. Today you are very lucky because we are going to take you with us for a Home Tour of the M.D.R.S. Please fasten your seatbelts and follow us in the corridors of our Martian house.

Ok first thing first. What does M.D.R.S. means? M.D.R.S. stands for Mars Desert Research Station. It is basically the facility in which we will live during those 3 weeks.

Now that the basics have been set, let’s start our tour by the heart of this station, the Hab. There are two decks in the Hab.

I’ve been talking to you about the lower deck because it’s there that we workout every morning with Julie, our HSO (Health and Safety Officer). It’s also there that we have our two airlocks. As a reminder, a airlock is a room that connects the inside (the Hab) with the outside (Mars). So you have to stay in there while the pressure in the room is passing from the inside pressure (same pressure as on Earth), to the outside pressure (the pressure on Mars is approximately a thousand times lower than on Earth). On this deck, we also suit up and do all the procedures before going on an EVA.

The upper deck is basically where we live and spend most of our time (sleep, cook, eat, relax, …). In this part of the Hab we have 6 individual rooms (they are pretty small but we sleep quite well in them). There is also a kitchen, which is perfect to cook some dried food based dishes (I still have in mind that I have to talk to you about the Martian food, don’t worry). On the table we eat, work, and play games together like a real family!

I think that’s enough for the Hab, you get the idea.

Ok now, I told you that there were two airlocks at the lower deck. The front airlock is for going on EVA. The rear airlock is the connection between the Hab and the corridors. The corridors allow you to go from the Hab to the other buildings without suiting up which is very convenient.

But let’s stop talking about corridors, and let’s talk about the second building of the station. I told you before that the Hab was the heart of the station, but in fact the real heart of the MDRS is the GreenHab. It is the unique source of non-dried food on Mars. In there, we grow vegetables, fruits, plants, … On Mars, growing plants have nothing to do with a hobby, it is vital. For example the next crew will have the pleasure to eat the soja that Julie planted today.

This would have been the second home of our Botanist Raphael if he could have come. As he is sadly not there, Marion takes good care of the plants.

If you liked the GreenHab, you’re going to love the Science Dome. First, because of its shape (it is a dome), and then because of the view you have from the window (at the end of the day it becomes truly beautiful). And last but not least, the room is equipped with a lot of scientific instruments to do chemistry and physics which is very useful for the experiments of Julie and Marion. Talking about which, Marion found today with her experiment Aquapad that the water we’ve been drinking is safe to drink!

Now it is time for me to explain what is hiding behind the mysterious name of RAM. The Repair and Assembly Module is the favourite building of Francois, our Engineer. It is there that we repair, construct, and assemble everything. Fun fact: the building is built out of an ancient fuel tank from a helicopter (how cool is that?).

The tour of our home is getting close to its end. But we have a last building to visit. The Musk Observatory hides the jewel of our Astronomer. In there is a telescope that allows Maxime to monitor the Sun. It is really important because in case of a high solar activity we must not go out of the station due to the radiations that could be dangerous even with a spacesuit. Talking about that, Maxime made his first observation of the Sun today and there was apparently nothing to worry about. That was great news!

This ends the incredible tour of our Martian house, I truly hope you enjoyed it! I also hope you enjoyed the aerial pictures of the station we took with the drone during today’s EVA!