Journalist Report – December 31st

Sara Paule, Crew 289 Journalist & Executive Officer
Sol 7
Martian rest day is the best day! Ok, hardly. High achievers like to get things done and our crew is certainly a group of highly motivated individuals. Yet, we have managed to have a comparably low-key day, especially since it is New Year’s Eve.
The day started with sleeping in and a stack of tropical crepes, supplied by Pots. She flavored the crepes with coconut milk, cinnamon, and the water from rehydrated strawberries, blueberries, and mangos. In addition to the reconstituted fruit, we had an assortment of toppings to choose from: syrup, Nutella, crunchy peanut butter, smooth peanut butter, and honey. Delish.
Brunch was followed with a few rounds of Jenga before the crew broke up for the afternoon to handle 2-4 hours of needed tasks for the day and assorted research responsibilities. Everyone returned to the hab in the late afternoon to watch Bollywood dance videos. Michelin is educating us about Indian dance moves in hopes of some evening time dancing. Ultimately, the videos are the next tactic in his recruitment drive after introducing us to some Indian music last night because he has warned us all he will not dance without at least one other participant.
The crew then teamed up on the 500-pieces “Mars Explorers Wanted” puzzle from the hab games cabinet. With irregularly shaped pieces, it has proven a particular challenge but we trust that it will be completed before dinner or, at least, we are hoping so. Otherwise, we’ll be eating dinner on top of the puzzle because our dinner table, which is also our report drafting table, is the puzzle table. Overall, people are mostly enjoying themselves. I think. Then again, Rocky declared at one point, “This is fun. Remember, we’re having fun!” while pounding on the table. Shrub also suggested that a knife would allow us to edit the puzzle to make any piece fit as needed. So, maybe I’m misreading the fun quotient.
There has been bopping throughout the day. Music has been a constant throughout the hab today, including in the GreenHab. We’ve learned that plants like EDM so in addition to the composting, watering, and careful tending via trellising and pruning, the plants are being tempted to grow with good tunes. Music is also good for confined astronauts. Plants and people-alike are in a good mood thanks to tunes downloaded pre-mission. Many tunes are space themed. Rocket Man is a regular occurrence, obviously.
Tonight, our New Year’s Eve celebration will include a biryani made by Butter and Michelin. It is smelling absolutely amazing. Since we skipped lunch today with a late brunch, we did do some minor snacking in the afternoon by raiding the kitchen cabinets for creative tasty treats. Tortillas with butter, salt, garlic powder, and parmesan were the most commonly consumed item. Peanuts and trail mix supplemented. Mostly, these were items to tide us over until we could enjoy dinner since our celebratory biryani dinner was planned last night with much anticipation. It was well worth the wait. The spice was so good.
The post-dinner plan is to settle down in the “couch” space at the very top of the hab with popcorn and a movie. I’m not sure anyone on Crew 289 has really utilized that area of our living space. It is only accessible via a ladder since it is situated above the 6 bunk rooms on the upper deck of the hab and is next to the 1 bunk room that is similarly in the loft space. I take the lack of usage of that area as a sign that our home feels reasonably spacious despite the fact that the central building is only 8 meters wide. Around midnight, we’ll ring in the new year with some sparkling juice – this time a fancy rosé.
From Mars, we are wishing our loved ones and all on Earth, a positive end to 2023 and a beautiful new year.

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