Journalist Report – January 7th

Sol: 6
Author: Kenny Pritchard, Crew Journalist
Title: Candor Chasma 3: The Return of Candor Chasma
A clear sky last evening allowed us the opportunity to stargaze from the Musk Observatory in MDRS, affording bright glimpses of twittering constellations through the thin, dry Martian atmosphere. The views were incredible, save for the full spectrum of stars being obscured by light pollution from the full-phase Martian moons. We’re hoping for another go towards the end of our rotation! This morning, Adriana made the crew oatmeal, and Kshitij continued (trying) to teach me Bollywood dance moves.
For the EVA of the sol, Megan, Adriana, Arly, and Mason made a return journey to Candor Chasma. It started off with some communication issues that had to be fixed before departure – even slightly sub nominal equipment is plenty enough reason to take precautions in this harsh environment. We’re starting to run out of good dad-jokes to pass the 5-minute required suit prebreath and depressurization time spent idly in the airlock, so if you’re reading this, please send ideas via the appropriate channels. We’re begging you, spare us from more of our sorry attempts. After those communication problems were fixed, the crew set out for their destination. They took the same route as our previous EVA but traversed deeper and more deliberately into Candor Chasma. Mason had another chance to show off his piloting skills, flying his drone through the canyon like Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing down the Death Star’s meridian trench, only with more video navigation and fewer proton torpedoes. This EVA was geology-heavy, to say the least – each crew member collected a small hoard of interesting rocks and minerals, and Adriana hauled in a behemoth of a petrified wood sample, citing an emotional attachment she’d developed to it on the way back.
A mostly uneventful sol at the Hab, Madelyn continued to treat her plants against the high temperatures the GreenHab is experiencing. Kshitij and I were excited to flip the script on Arly and remind her to start her cognitive performance tests immediately upon her return from EVA. Ha! The joke’s on us, I’m pretty sure she achieved her best scores yet. One notable detail is that this sol marks the crew’s first showers since arriving at MDRS. We’ve been subsisting on wet wipes and dry shampoo thus far, but our recent efforts to conserve water supply have earned us this luxury. Finally, I can take off this clothespin I’ve been pinching my nose shut with! Madelyn will take the lead on bread and quinoa power bowls for dinner to restore the crew’s spent energy. Tomorrow, we rest!

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