Crew 261 Journalist Report 07-05-2023
Author: Kris Davidson, Crew Journalist
Since the beginning of recorded human history, we have long sought a way to make sense of the chaos of existence, to find the threads that bind us to the world and each other. Magic, religion, and science are three knowledge systems that we have turned towards across time to comprehend and control the great unknowns that have haunted us since the dawn of time.
Magic, religion, and science serve as mankind’s distinct approaches to understanding the universe and its mysteries. Magic, a primordial attempt to harness the elements, is rooted in folklore and myth, allowing us to channel our imperfect agency to shape the world to our desires. Religion, a collective endeavor, weaves stories and rituals to offer solace and structure while addressing questions that have plagued humanity since we first looked skyward. Science, born from our curiosity, is an ever-evolving quest for knowledge, methodically studying the universe and illuminating the dark crevices of ignorance through reason and empirical observation. Each of these knowledge systems represents our shared odyssey to decipher the cosmos and navigate the complexities of existence.
Science is commonly described as a march. We continue to gain more and more knowledge through science, and today it dominates in making sense of human existence and the cosmos. But even still, the wonder often associated with magic remains intact. On Sol 8, Transatlantic Mars Crew 261 has hit a good stride with the various experiments and projects, and as they progress so do feelings of wonder among the crew.
On EVA 12, led by Executive Officer Aline Decadi, with Erin Kennedy (Crew Robotics Engineer), Audrey Derobertmasure (HSO), and Kris Davidson (Journalist), the crew embarked on a quest to locate gypsum at the Glistening Seas region. This endeavor was related to the Atmosphinder experiment as the location has geological features similar to the Mars South Polar region. The crew was delighted not only by the spectacular landscape but the plentiful gypsum crystals sparkling in the area. During the EVA, Kennedy was also able to test the Atmosphinder on the kind of terrain it is being designed for.
Wonder frequently gives way to celebration. The entire crew celebrated with Greenhab Officer Cecile Renaud as the first tomato plant emerged after having been planted in Mars regolith stimulant (MMS-1 — Mojave Mars Stimulant, made by Martian Garden, developed by JPL for the 2007 Phoenix Lander mission). The small bud was first noticed late on Sol 7. On Sol 8, Renaud harvested a healthy batch of the spirulina growing in the photobioreactor, a promising result for the crew and future Mars colonists. Last but not least, EVA 11 on Sol 8, led by Commander Burk, was to test the Adapa 360 prototype, which could render high-resolution images of the MDRS for the Mars VR project — an endeavor that aspires to bring the magic and wonder of MDRS to others anywhere in the world.
As we continue to delve into the mysteries of the cosmos, the lines between magic, religion, and science may seem to blur, yet they remain distinct pathways to understanding. The triumphant march of science, the comforting embrace of religion, and the primal allure of magic, all serve as testament to our unending quest to make sense of existence. From the gleaming gypsum crystals of the Martian landscape to the first tomato plant sprouting in Mars regolith stimulant, the Transatlantic Mars Crew 261’s journey is a contribution to this larger quest. As we extend our reach to the stars, we carry with us the magic of wonder, the solace of belief, and the torch of scientific inquiry, ever illuminating the path ahead.