When I took this position I knew it was going to be an experience that would forge my character and allow me to improve my leadership.
I thought it would be difficult but it has been the opposite. My crew has been more than better. They are focused people and know what they are coming for to Mars. After all, they chose to come to Mars instead of having a nice Christmas dinner and New Year´s Eve at Earth. As I already described, the fear I had about my age and experience when it was about taking the place of Commander was only at the beginning. To be the leader, be the Commander, it´s about getting to know your colleagues, their vision, objectives and learning how to take advantage of their skills and knowledge to find a common good.
Before arriving to Mars, during our training in Earth, our psychologist asked me that in some dangerous situation, if I had to choose between saving the mission or the crew, what would I save? My instant response was the crew, but as I answered the next question, I kept thinking about whether the answer was correct or not.
On one hand, my response was completely biased because within Crew 201 are my best friends on Earth. But also Crew 201 means an end and mission with a greater objective than the people it integrates, and above all it means to represent humanity (and Mexico). Today I still have a conflict about what the correct answer is and I’m not sure if there is only one answer.
We are a few days away and the weather here on Mars has become complicated. We don´t have much chances to solve our problems within the projects since our supply rocket had exploded before leaving Earth. Sadly, another of our supply spaceships it´s lost somewhere in the space between Mars and Earth. We hope to find it back home.
With our time counted on Mars I just have to say that we will miss you little red planet.
It seems that lately, the energy in the Hab fluctuates a lot. If it wasn´t for Christmas and the special dinner we prepared, we would probably be in a more fatigued mental state.
The crew continues performing their tasks but the time is no longer feeling like the first days on Mars. We haven´t managed to wake up as early as before or maintain so much energy during the day. However, we maintain the spirit and daily routines to meet the objectives.
The day of departure to Earth is approaching and for now, the only thing we are focusing on is to finish our projects and to welcome the new earthlings on Mars.
Crew 201 Commander Report 23-DEC-2018
As the days go by, the crew gets adapted more and more to the daily routine on Mars. However, we have realized that today in Sol 8 we are already mentally tired. Now we laugh with any joke no matter how dumb it may be.
Although we have evolved in our relation, we remain as close as before or even more. All of the crew members work on their daily activities and fulfill each of their mission objectives.
There have been no conflicts although our personalities are the same on many occasions, especially when it comes to making decisions and establishing leadership. Within the Crew 201 there are the following types: ENTJ, ENTP, ENFP and INTP.
Tomorrow is Christmas, and although we had established that there would be no stoppage of activities by the date, the crew has shown special interest in celebrating, having different activities and rest. Maybe everyone starts to miss the Earth, or at least family.
Good job Crew, keep working like this.
The crew is beginning to present some situations regarding fatigue. The routine is already perceived among us. The temperature of the second floor of the Habitat affects the rest at night of the team because it is higher than what we normally had on Earth and in our country. This complicates our sleep and rest. Today four out of six crew members had nightmares.
During the day, we carried out our daily activities and continued working on our projects, however the technical complications continue to complicate the progress, especially the explosion that the supply rocket had and that suppose to would bring us several scientific instruments. Food became the best part of the days in Mars. Keep working like that crew.
Today the crew performed their activities satisfactorily. Humor and fun is becoming more present, as well as fatigue and lack of time in the routines that we must cover daily.
According to our previous schedule, we are a little behind with the work of our projects because of some technical programs with programming and electronics, but I trust that the most intelligent men of Mars will be able to solve it.
Today I received bad news from Earth, but a hug and the words of friendship from my dear crew members made me feel much better.
Our chef has managed to surprise us daily and keep us nourished, although hunger is always present. Mars is difficult, but being with this crew everything is better. Good work Crew 201
Dear Atila, Here is the Commander report of today. Thank you
The crew has worked quite well. Everyone is focused on their projects, daily tasks and no personal problems have shown between the team. Today at night we will talk about how we have felt about our daily activities and about our personal habits, it´s important to know if there is something that bothers us to avoid future problems.
We know that day 7 is the point where the energy of the crew begins to slow down, it´s a critical point and the XO and I want to monitor this.
During the EVA, four crew members carried out their activities correctly and followed the rules on communication and safety following the objectives.
Tomorrow there will be less personal interaction in the team because everyone will be working on their projects, but during the meals we plan integration activities to keep the crew together.
This is the Commander Report for today.
Today the crew had a lot of personal interaction with good and fun moments. We found a board game that some previous Crew maybe left in the Martian habitat. It was about asking questions about personal aspects to understand each other more. Even though we known each other from a long time ago, we learned many new things from ourselves and now we understood many other things.
Tomorrow we will go out to make our first EVA for the experiments. I’m sure the team will do a great job.
Crew 201 Commander Report 17-Dec-2018
When I found out that I would return to Mars the same year, the first thing I did was get excited by the new propulsion system that would quickly bring me back to the red planet after having visited it for the first time at the beginning of the year with a crew that represented all of Latin America.
This new occasion is different, Misión de Exploración-1(MEx-1) is confirmed by Mexican engineers who have dedicated years of their life to work in different areas of science and technology in our country. We met more than two years ago in a congress of the International Astronautical Federation. There we knew that we all shared the same dream, being astronauts … going to Mars.
Here we are, Here I am, in the front of a crew formed by leaders in their field but committed with the objective of the mission. Each of them has different personalities that make them unique and different for their tasks, experiments, and daily activities.
I am the only woman, the youngest and the Commander. For all those girls who read this: come on, you can do it, don´t be afraid.
Before coming to Mars, we trained for hours about how to work as a team and to learn how to solve problems and emergencies. All this worked because despite that they are still learning how everything works, each one has done a good job and fulfilled the tasks that are assigned to them. Thanks to our Ground Crew for the previous support.
The mission has many objectives and experiments but I trust in my crew and they trust in me. Everything goes according to plan and without any incident. In the next few days we will receive a rocket with some more instruments for the experiments, meanwhile, we will perform other previous tasks.
Tania Robles, Crew 201 Commander
Another mission is over. Three crew members will carry on an extended mission for a few days.
Short missions have different challenges compared to longer missions. Here, adaption to this environment is predominant to the effects induced by isolation, as more time is needed to manifest such effects in the crew dynamics. However, you can still get science out of it! An example. The leadership approach is completely different.
My crew has interestingly connected their projects where energy is the main topic. During this week, we have investigated energy in engineering, science, agriculture and arts!
Then, active conversations about the future of space exploration started when answering to kid’s questions about space. From one of this questions, it appears that a few kids think that only men can be trained as astronauts. I do not blame them, I guess it depends on the family.
I recognize the importance of out-reach and STEAM in education. However, parents or relatives should also be educated to recognize the current progress of science, otherwise all the investments in STEAM might not have a long-term impact in our society.
An example. Female astronauts exist. Female Commanders too! A good change can be produced investing in programs that teach to men how to work with women and vice-versa. Reminding the importance of women in our society is a bit limited, as it does not directly imply that a good interaction between employees or collaborators can be established.
Wishing the best to all, especially new mothers.