Commander's Report – November 25th

Crew 216 Commander Report 25-NOV-2019
Sol: 1
Summary Title: First Sol on Mars

Author’s name: Marc Levesque

Crew 216 woke up on Mars this morning to begin our stay on the Red Planet. We are a six- member international crew representing Russia, Great Britain, Singapore, and the United States, and all of us have long awaited this day with much anticipation and excitement. The landscape around our Hab is how we imagined it when we were training for this mission, so we were not disappointed. We did, however, have to contend with capricious Martian weather, as it clouded over by early afternoon before some strange precipitation arrived a few hours later. Our incredibly talented crew continues to settle in and is getting along very well, and I could not be more pleased by their willingness to jump in on any needed task. We all anticipate a rewarding experience in the sols ahead.

Commander Report – November 24th

Crew 216 Commander Report 24-NOV-2019
Sol: 0
Summary Title: Turnover and training day
Author’s name: Marc Levesque

Today Crew 216 said good-bye to Crew 215 and completed its training on rover and EVA operations and a final briefing from the Mission Director.

The crew is settling in very well, with all hands pitching in on various tasks during the day and anticipating starting sim tomorrow at 0700.

Two photos to follow with the Sunrise on Sol 0 as our Photo of the day.

Longer Commander Reports will be forthcoming, as will more photos.

Commander Report – May Ath

Crew 212 Commander Report 17-MAY-2019

Autor: Marlen Castillo Vilcahuaman

Title: Good Bye, Mars!

Commander here. Hi.

Today, at 20:00, our time in Mars will end. As a crew, we’re thankful for our time here. We learned a lot in these days, and I’m sure this experience will always be in our minds.

If I had to pick a lesson from all of this, it would probably be about the human factors. I’m not uncomfortable for being alone in the vast nature (I’m a biologist, I’m used to it). I do not miss my friends, I know they can do well on their own without my wise advice. Managing the people in the crew was a hard task, though. I finally could apply all my knowledge from years of observing people and their characteristics. Getting to know each of the crew members, their aspirations, their objectives and their tastes proved to be a challenging task which I assumed with interest.

Tiny details suddenly had so much importance. And I couldn’t help to remember my first rotation here, in which, after 2 weeks, I felt I knew my crewmates for quite a long time.

I’m not only finishing my simulation with experimental microbiology results for analyzing back home. I’m returning with a lesson on how to put together a crew, which factors should count and which considerations we should have.

Thanks to mission support, to the Director, the CapComs and to everyone that made this simulation possible. It was quite the adventure.


Commander Report- May 12th

Crew 212 Commander Report 12-MAY-2019

Autor: Marlen Castillo Vilcahuaman

Title: Wow! 7 days have passed!

Commander here. Hi.

Although there has been a daily Journalist Report, I thought it would have been interesting to have a note after 7 days of martian experience. It is interesting to look back and appreciate how much we are getting used to our lives as a Crew in this Martian environment. As someone told me before coming, not many people can say they had martian experiences. This is definitely happening now.

Yesterday, I could appreciate how much we got to know each other. The crew has come together and got to know each other well. Conflict could arise, but we could handle it fairly well, in my personal opinion.

Long conversations have appeared in our daily lives on Mars. Topics are as broad as music and the possibilities of life outside Earth. As someone who comes from a place with little to no research in space nor a properly space culture, it always amazes me how here I can find people whom I can finally talk about this crazy hypothesis that’s been running in my mind for so long.

I know that other crew members have felt the same here.

Although certain experiments have shown some difficulty, I’m pleased that the crew decided to keep going with their projects, not giving up and trying to adapt themselves to the circumstances, which is a very valuable attitude in research, in my opinion.

The next commander report will probably be at the end of the mission. I hope the good spirits continue and thanks to all the people
participating in this: From the crew members to mission support to the director.

Commander Report – November 25th

Astronomy Report, Sol 2

Name: Aurélien Mure

Crew: 206
Date: 02/25/2019


Solar Features Observed: None, no clouds visible but I was unable to focus on features, maybe because of the very low sun activtiy, tell me if I’m wrong.

Problems encountered : How do I move the telescope to be faced to the sun when the alignment is set ?

Hi Eric and Peter,
It was a long day of astronomy for me, I observed the sun, tried to work on my images of the crab nebula and planned the observation of M42 for tonight.
I have some questions to ask you :
– How can I use the hand control to move the solar telescope when it is focused on the sun and not well aligned ?
– Is it still normal that I can’t see any solar feature with any configuration of the telescope ?
I hope my first images will be great !

Commander Report – February 26th

Crew 206 February 26th 2019
Sol 2

Just like yesterday, today’s plan was very dense. We got out of bed at 07:00 am, half an hour later than yesterday. Once again we worked out for a little more than 30 minutes. I took the same physical program that our commander had last year for mission 189. It’s quite intense but it’s a good exercise to start the day. We are slowly getting used to it, although we all have muscle aches from Sol 0. I am gathering the results of every crew member so we can see the evolution of our performances during the mission.

After a short breakfast with cereals, we started preparing for EVA #2. Although it wasn’t going to be a long EVA, we had to make sure we had prepared everything to correctly install our two outdoor instruments : LOAC and the weather station. So four of us (Benjamin, Cerise, Gaspard and I) went to the location we had spotted on EVA #1, 500 meters from the Hab. We took two rovers to carry the equipment which was cumbersome and heavy, especially the car battery. Installation went fine, but we had to go back to the Hab twice to get some tools. Aurélien was the HabCom and assisted the crew, by dropping what lacked for the EVA in the Engineering Airlock. I have to admit we had some unexpected issues that we could have thought of, but these few first days are very intense and tiring.

After that, most of us worked on our reports and experiments (these days whenever we have free time we use it to write reports and work on our experiments). Norbert worked in the GreenHab and gave space to the carrots and the salads. He started his experiments by planting radishes in eight pots. Aurélien and Norbert prepared pizzas for lunch, so we had a great meal ! After that I started working on the TELEOP experiment, which I supervise. I had some issues with the tele-operated rover. I couldn’t connect it to my computer although the exact same set-up in France worked fine. For today the crew only operated the simulated rover. Then it was time for the Virtual Reality session. I really like this experiment, it feels very relaxing to watch relaxing nature videos in the VR headset. I’m eager to see what will come out of the results. Then we all started working on our reports. Aurélien worked on preparing the meal again, but this time with Benjamin.

I’m quite happy with the mission beginning, the crew is adapting pretty well to the procedures, all experiments are developing well with only small drawbacks. They all have some great ideas for the rest of the simulation, for upgrading the station and improving some experiments. I think this mission will be very interesting…

Jeremy Auclair, Crew 206 Commander

Commander Report – February 9th

Author: Avishek Ghosh

Title: The words of wisdom.

Crew 204 Commander Report 09-FEB-2019.

The day had been spent cleaning the hab and finishing the incomplete work by the crew. We had lunch together made by Sonal (Mars_Bag) and all of us. This was followed by training given to Crew 205.

It is really hard to believe that the simulation has ended. We feel fortunate enough to get this opportunity to be a part of this simulation. This experience has been a worthy one as we learnt to face a lot of challenges and difficulties with a success in the mission.

The journey taught us cultural exchange though we belong to the same country. I believe this isolation will act as an influential factor in our lives. From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful to mission support, Mr. Atila and Mr. David for supporting us the fullest.

This is Avishek Ghosh, signing off Crew 204 from Mars Desert Research Station and welcoming Crew 205 and wishing them very good luck and best wishes for the mission.

Commander Report – December 27th

Sol 12


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.

Tania Robles