Crew 281 Journalist Report 25 May 2023
By: Rachel Jones
11th Sol, Went for a Stroll
It’s almost the end of our time here on Mars, but our crew still has a thousand things to do. KC, Ana, and Ritu went on a long EVA to an alluvial plane along Watney Road (I wonder if Watney Road is named after the main character from The Martian…I hope so). They then walked a kilometer from Cow Dung Rd to Barrainca Butte. They collected samples and took additional drone footage at both locations.
For lunch, I successfully got some of Ritu’s leftover casserole. Ritu, Megan, KC, and Anna worked on end-of-mission reports. KC also did routine maintenance checks and inventorying.
I spent my morning, afternoon, and evening on the radio. My goal was to make over 50 contacts while I was at the Mars Desert Research Station, and I have! A contact in amateur radio is when two radio operators successfully exchange information. If you are a cyber/aviation geek (like me), think of it like a three-way handshake. A typical conversation might be similar to the following:
Rachel: “CQ. CQ. CQ. This is KO4HLC” (CQ is a code used to say an operator is open to talk with anyone)
Tony: “KO4HLC this is NR1Z, I read you at a 5.5” (The responding operator might give my call sign (KO4HLC), or they might just say their own (NR1Z). They then might give a signal report that indicates how well received one station is to the other.)
Rachel: “NR1Z, I read you 5.3 from a portable in Utah. QSL?” (QSL is a code used to indicate a successful contact)
Tony: “QSL, 73. NR1Z Out.” (73 means “best regards”)
I am grateful for those that took the time to talk with me from around the United States and Canada. I’m also so thankful for my crew mates that supplied me with food and drink as I worked hard to accomplish my contact goal.
This evening, our MDRS Crew 281 talked to the HI-SEAS Crew “Ike Loa.” We each got a virtual tour of each other’s analog Habitats. I particularly enjoyed meeting the Hi-Sea’s robotic seal, Pono.
I’ll still be on the air for one more day. I hope to make some additional contacts before we wrap up our mission on Mars. 73s.