Title: M is for Mars, M is for Magic
Author: Izabela Shopova, Crew Journalist
We start the Sol an hour later than usual – everyone is tired after the busy day yesterday and we need to catch up on our sleep. Jennie whips up chocolate pancakes and an amazing quinoa, blueberries and coconut meal (from the space nutrition app we are testing) for breakfast.
Our daily operations meeting is short – we have two major tasks planned for sol 10 – a 4-hour-long EVA to the Special region in the morning and preparations for Thanksgiving dinner in the afternoon.
We are confident and calm as our crewmates are getting ready for the EVA, test the life support systems, enter the airlock and 8 minutes later leave the station with two of the rovers. Halfway through their EVA the weather suddenly changes, and the wind picks up – it appears that the weather forecast has changed dramatically since last night. The tunnels’ tarpaulin and the external doors start flapping and trembling, reminding us every minute of the potential danger that is brewing out there in the stark landscape. We wait anxiously for the radio to come alive again. And exhale with relief. when we finally hear the loud and clear voice of our crew biologists: “HabCom, com check”. The EVA goes well, without a hitch. The EVA crew is tired but happy and satisfied with their last EVA for the season, rich with experience and incredible photos.
Their return triggers the beginning of the long-anticipated food preparations for our Thanksgiving dinner.
And they are epic!
3 hours later the Hub is filled with mouthwatering flavors, cozy warmth, and Thanksgiving homemade magic, while our American crewmates are playing hosts and setting up an amazingly beautiful table with Thanksgiving napkins, paper plates, tablecloth, orange cutlery (all of which were delivered and stored secretly in the Commander’s room before the beginning of the sim) and a multitude of irresistible traditional dishes. Each one more tempting and better looking than the last.
Mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole with … wait for it! … marshmallows!, cranberry sauce (disguised like slices of beetroot), sweet corn, turkey, actual cranberries, green beans casserole with cream of mushroom soup and crunchy onion rings on top, Did I mention marshmallows?
If anyone thought that this was all of the food on our table, they know nothing about Thanksgiving. There is always desert! Even on Mars.
And, no, it’s not the marshmallows (they were just a side dish for the turkey, kind of veggies). Just before the opening of the comms window, a sumptuous, crunchy, juicy, full of flavor, decadence and temptation apple pie emerged from the oven.
On Thanksgiving Mars is magic.