Journalist Report – February 28th

Sol 16 – An extraordinary routine

“They began to plan people’s lives and libraries; they began to instruct and push about the very people who had come to Mars to get away from being instructed and ruled and pushed about.”

– Chapter 16 of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

When we awoke and found that the Martian desert was once again covered in snow, and having heard the winds howl in the middle of the night, our first reflex was to reach for the binoculars, strategically placed on the main windowsill, from which we could see the atmospheric instruments. We breathed: rocks, tensors, and metal rods hammered into the ground had kept everything upright! There was no need for an emergency EVA.

This morning, we decided to change it up a bit: instead of our usual workout session prepared by Corentin, we relaxed and stretched to the sound of a yoga session brought by Jérémy. Feeling a little bit too relaxed and sleepy afterwards, we put on some music, did some push-ups and just goofed around the Hab. It’s these sparse moments of unbridled fun and laughs that convince me our crew works: no amount of hard work or accumulated stress can prevent us from having a good time all together. In the past few days, the song “Cheerleader” by OMI started coming back more and more often during our morning activities; I think it might end up being Crew 275’s mission song!

In the Upper Deck of the Hab, I watched this morning as crewmembers came and went, to and from different parts of the station, for their cognitive tests, experiments, routine activities, in the Science Dome or Observatory, in pairs or alone. We have definitely settled in a routine, one that we will only realize was extraordinary once we return to Earth!

After eating a delicious focaccia prepared with dill and tomatoes from the GreenHab, Adrien, Quentin, and I went to the Science Dome to prepare our second EVA to Candor Chasma. We had one hour to study the 3D map of the canyon and try to visualize the location of all 10 checkpoints, before we go out on EVA tomorrow. I was surprised to see how differently I worked the problem compared to when I only had the 2D map: because we could “navigate” inside the canyon and see different views of rock formations, Adrien and I started sketching the location of the checkpoints in the order we would find them when exploring the canyon.

By late afternoon, the winds were not too high and the sky was clear enough to open the dome of the solar observatory, and Alexandre was able to observe our Sun for the first time! The telescope is equipped with a Hydrogen-alpha filter, making it possible to look at the Sun’s chromosphere without damaging the eyes. It also allows to see certain phenomena, such as prominences, sunspots, and flares on the solar surface.

Back at the Hab, I saw Quentin working on solving some issues with the location tracking system. Half the crew is now “tagged”, the other half still pending… I am also proud to announce that Crew 275 has the best possible Health and Safety Officer: to help me feel less restless in the evenings, he prepared an entire workout session just for me!

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