Journalist Report – February 25th

Sol 4 – Experiments filled day

Author : Nicolas WATTELLE

To be honest, today I felt a bit tired. The accumulation of the previous days and the double EVAs of the morning might be responsible for that.

First, two EVAs were planned during the day. One during the morning, one for the afternoon. But because of the snow melting, we had to condense the two outings in half a day: the first team was made by Matheo, Elena, Valentine and I. For the second, we just went out with Matheo. We tried for the first time, Matheo’s Search and Rescue protocol with drones. For him it was a bit stressful, because he was worrying for the possible unforeseen of piloting a drone in simulation conditions. While for Elena and I it was way more relaxing: we just had to walk in a predefined zone, and… “get lost”. The trial went well, Valentine and Matheo geotagged us very quickly, and we left the zone with some ideas to improve the protocol; it is promising.

In the afternoon, we were mostly all out the hab. Some of us were working on repairing the MegaAres antenna. It is interesting to tinker in a constrained area, with limited resources: “do what you can with what you have” is a sentence that seems like a chorus for Mathéo and I. Until now, we always managed to go further in this tricky repair, let’s hope it lasts! Valentine, Marine and Lea performed sessions of some of our human factor experiments: Teleop and other tests grouped in a software called “TAP”. TAP is definitively our daily nightmare. Briefly, imagine that you have to stay in front of your computer during an hour and a half, answering questions and doing cognitive exercises during which you test your focus in various ways. Sometimes you need to find correlations between shapes, colours, sounds… and “tap” on the right button as soon as you can. The first time it felt like challenging, almost like a game, but once you have done it several times it becomes really boring… But we are dedicated to our mission and we believe these data can help researchers. At the end of the day, it remains a subject that makes us laugh during meals so fair enough!

Today, in my tired person thoughts, I asked my teammates: How do you imagine the first crew walking on Mars?

That started a debate, even if everyone agreed on most subjects. Léa talked about the importance to send experts in widely various domains: engineering, medicine, geology… Marine and others hope that women and men would be equally represented, and more generally that it would be a fair selection. One question that was raised, is the one of the nationalities of the crew members. Does a country will succeed doing it alone, or would it be an international collaboration? Here at the MDRS, some are really convinced, and some are not. Only the future will tell us!