Sol 8 – Time for geology!
Author: Nicolas Wattelle
I think we are now well settled in the MDRS routine. Our mission plan is driving our daily life, and it feels comfortable to rely on it as we are now accustomed to the latter. See, even the (firstly “annoying”) morning sport sessions are becoming a formality to us! Or almost, I may exaggerate…
We woke up like every morning at 6:45am, to be ready for the 7 am session. This week, we begin a study of our circadian cycle. We have here two “ArmBands” given by CNES. These devices allow us to determine, by wearing them during 48 hours, our “body” cycle. When we talk about circadian, we talk about all that is cyclical in our physiology. The energy expenditure, the intensity of activity, the body temperature… How is this cycle impacted by our life on Mars? We will see! Today, Valentine and Mathéo started to wear them just before working out, and so for the two coming days. We will all wear one at some point during this mission.
Then, we continued our morning routine, as everyday: breakfast (maybe there I can add that we have more and more deep conversations), preparation for the EVAs, then separation of the crew for their respective experiments. But today’s EVA was special and has been excitingly awaited: the first for the geological study thanks to the handheld LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) analyzer from SciAps, while using the Hololens to add an Artificial Intelligence support to help the working astronauts! For this one, Cerise, Marine, Elena and Léa went out, and headed to the “Stream Bed Connector” zone. To be honest, this one asked more logistic than the previous ones, it thus began a quarter late to be sure everything was fine before going out. And for a first try it went quite well and it is very promising for the later EVAs. During the EVA, the “laser gun” stopped functioning, but it was not a problem since the martionauts brought back 3 precisely chosen samples, and we were able to turn the device on again in the station. While I am writing these words, the two freshly new geologists of the crew are processing the data taken out of these samples with lots of interest! It is very nice to see this study begin!
I asked a new question to my teammates:
According to you, and at this point of our mission, how do you feel about living isolated?
This question divided the crew on the first thought. The first « team », made of Elena, Marine and I, first mentioned the comfort of leaving behind our daily mental load. I think this aspect is notable as to live a faithful simulation (and we do!) we have to leave some of our terrestrial workload behind. The others more quickly pointed out the fact that they sometimes miss their close ones, especially when we left them in a particular context in which we could be needing news from them. This is kind of weird as said Valentine, we live cut out from the world, but we live really close to each other: we live alone, but together.
PS: I cannot end this report without thanking our crew engineer Mathéo, who always takes advantage of his not too busy days (like today) to cook some bread and wonderfully delights for the whole crew. This thing is beginning to look like a tradition. We are all fans of the delicious smell in the Hab when we all gather to write our reports!