Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Sol 1 dawned bright and sunny on Mars. Crew 269 awoke one by one and enjoyed breakfasts of hot oatmeal with cinnamon apples and homemade bread with honey. The crew commander, Dr. Kristine Ferrone, owns a mobile coffee shop back on Earth and prepared freshly percolated espresso lattes for the crew with oat milk and agave syrup. After breakfast, the health and safety officer, Barbara Braun, measured each crew member’s temperature, pulse, and blood pressure and privately discussed each crew member’s mental and physical health as they adapt to their new environment. The crew is generally in good health and good spirits, adjusting well to life on Mars, partially due to a special communications protocol via the Discord app (programmed by Barbara’s teenage son, Elias) that allows them to chat with their friends, family, colleagues, and education/outreach contacts throughout the mission with a built-in Mars to Earth time delay. After morning activities, the crew then split into teams to prepare their experiments for operations throughout the mission. Kristine and the executive officer, Alli Taylor, explored the area around the Habitat with tools they brought from Earth for collecting samples of Martian regolith and taking measurements of the ambient radiation environment. The crew engineer, Ashley Kowalski, deployed a set of mirror coating samples to a particularly windy, dusty, and sunny location near the Habitat. These samples will be exposed to the harsh environment then collected and analyzed under a microscope on a later Sol with results sent back to the Primary Investigator on Earth, Dr. Chelsea Appleget. The technology officer, Trevor Jahn, performed initial setup and calibration of his Project Phantom virtual/augmented reality hardware for experiments on future Sols. Ashley, Barbara, and green hab officer, Matt Eby, trained on the use of the DSLR camera provided by The Aerospace Corporation and practiced taking photos around the Habitat. Barbara and Matt also set up and tested a compact fitness kit for the crew to use for exercise throughout the mission. Barbara is an experienced breadmaker back on Earth and, in the afternoon, she began the preparation of sourdough bread for the crew to enjoy with future meals. In the later afternoon, the crew learned all about living in the Habitat and operating its systems from the station director, Dr. Shannon Rupert. Topics such as how to operate the Martian toilet, shower, and kitchen were covered so that the crew can live comfortably in the station. Upon completion of their Habitat training, the crew met the assistant director, Sergii Iakymov, for training on the rovers. The crew had a great time learning how to operate and drive the rovers around the Martian surface and drove to the Marble Ritual area near the Habitat. Each crew member had an opportunity to drive the rover and learn how to navigate the Martian terrain. Upon completion of their training, the crew returned to the Habitat to write their reports and prepare the evening meal. Alli and Barbara prepared a meal of chili with crumbled beef and homemade tortillas.