Commander Report – February 28th

Crew 189 Commander Report 28Feb2018

Sol 10

Title: Our mid rotation day

Dear Earth,

Yesterday, we agreed to stay in the station all day and not go to EVA.

As usual, we woke up at 7 AM to do our physical training, but after that we had breakfast without the hurry of the EVA preparation. Gabriel cooked pancakes and we took time to talk about our beginning of rotation. The idea was to make it possible to everyone to work on their own experiment and to do some maintenance in the station.

After the breakfast, Jérémy, Gabriel, Louis and I went to the greenhab to deploy the new shadow cover. It was such a horrible oven. We spent almost three hours doing this maintenance task. We were all dehydrated after this, but it was a very nice teamwork once again. After this nightmare, we spent one hour playing the human factors experiment of Gabriel. With my team, we did a very nice performance (once again). Alex and I are the leaders of the competition, while Benoit and Louis are last ones (and noisiest ones).

After this nice and busy morning, we had a very usual lunch, eating our lovely beans. Everybody came undone and had their first OREO. The beginning of the afternoon was quiet and dedicated to personal time and human factors experiment. At 5pm, with my fellow friend and sports coach Louis, we decided to have a second physical training. I have to confess I felt not really well at the end, and had to spend 10 minutes sitting down. When I came back in the upper-desk, I discovered that my professional-bakers-crewmates cooked a new bread with some … blue food coloring. Hopefully it smells very good!

We are now on the brink of the second half of our mission here. I feel that everyone has taken his marks, the different personalities seem to be in accord and the crew atmosphere is incredible!

Ad Astra!

Victoria Da-Poian,

Commander of the Bread-Smurf crew 189

Commander Report – February 27th

Crew 189 Commander Report 27Feb2018

Sol 9

Today started by me waking up after the moonset to try to shoot stars
pictures, and it resulted in a failure as the sun was already rising,
adding too much light. I then set up a timelapse shooting for the
sunrise and went back to bed.

Today was dedicated to emergency procedures, so that after the sport
session, we spent two hours being formed by Laurent on how to react to
a medical emergency. We then had a brainstorming on how to adapt it to
an EVA situation. This was a very interesting discussion, we
postulated that we had heart pulse and breathing captors, segmented
suits, so that a leak could be confined to a specific area. This was a
very productive time, and we gathered a lot of interesting ideas.
After some bomb defusal and lunch, we went outside to test this out.

Laurent was logically EVA leader, and after a quick battery
replacement on the MegaARES, he put us in several emergency situation,
always using an accomplice to play the victim, to let us react and
train us in situ. This didn’t go as well as expected as the backpack
and helmet are very wide and annoyed us while moving a victim. We also
struggled to charge a victim inside the rover, but proved that it was
possible, and created a protocol to charge him with three crew

It is very satisfying to see our colleagues progressively taking the
lead. We let them take responsibilities, manage the time… Laurent lead
the whole day today and did fine, so did Jérémy yesterday, as EVA
leader. After having spent a lot of time leading and organizing the
whole schedule with Victoria, we now have an independent crew, ready
to success in this second part of the Mission.

Tomorrow is going to be quiet, as almost everybody has inside job
planned. Most of the experiments need to be worked on, and we don’t
have a short-term objective, so that we won’t go out. The whole crew
is already motivated and joyful, everybody keeps spending a lot of
time together, even during free time, and it surely help maintaining a
good crew cohesion. Hope this goes on for the following!

Commander Report – February 26th

Hi CapCom !

Here is the Crew 189 Commander Report 26Feb2018

Sol 8

Title: Beginning of our second week on Mars

Dear Earth,

We are currently beginning our second week on Mars. Our Sunday day-off was needed and everyone seemed to enjoy it. As a celebration, Benoit cooked the ideal meal to end at best our first week on Mars: homemade pizzas from our dry food (homemade dough, tomato sauce, cheese, meat, and fresh herbs from our greenhab).

From my commander view, this simulation is a success for now: It is like it started really good and just kept getting better. After the debriefing of our physical training results that Louis gave us yesterday, we are all ready and motivated to meet the highest expectations of our sports coach. Benoit, Laurent and Louis did their best scores (let’s see tomorrow if the other part of the team continues to be as successful).

After our breakfast, I let Jérémy organizing the EVA preparation as he was EVA leader. Because of some backpacks issues, we were 10 minutes late. The EVA team composed of Jérémy, Gabriel, Alex and I went out to the Pooh’s corner place where our two air sensors were deployed last week. Jérémy changed the battery of his experiment. After that, we took two ATVs and a rover to explore and take pictures at White Rock Canyon, which I discovered last year and remembered well. Meanwhile, Laurent explained Louis the emergency procedures he wants to simulate during future EVAs. The EVA team came back earlier and we managed to check and clean all our EVA equipment before lunchtime. We cooked beans with meat and enchiladas sauce (we have beans in large quantity, beside all the junk snacks).

The second week begins with a big concern: the crew is more and more hungry. During the first week, the protein bars have been quickly eaten and we decided today to give everyone the same numbers of the remaining bars: who is going to be the first to eat all of them? (I bet on Benoit or Jérémy)

After a quick break, we “played” again the Human Factors experiment of Gabriel. This week the competition between the two teams is increasing because the better team will win a surprise box with food after the simulation! Everyone seems very excited to take part in this experiment, and we can’t wait for the competition results (and even more because with my friend Louis we will lead the two different teams).

After the delicious meal of yesterday, we are beginning to talk about our food rationing for the next two weeks. The success of our bread competition made the flour stocks cruelly decreasing… I let you guess what will be our future meals (it starts with B and ends with EANS)

Ad Astra!

Victoria Da-Poian

Commander of the beans-eaters Crew 189

Commander Report – February 25th

Crew 189 Commander Report 25Feb2018

Sol 7

Title: First day off

Dear Earth,

Last year misadventures made Louis and I declare one day off every week.

Sol7: we have been there for an entire week now, and it was our first day off (really appreciated by everyone). Since our arrival, we had been doing our thirty-minutes physical training every single Sol, at 7 AM before breakfast, and almost an EVA every morning.

With Louis, we decided this year to make one day off per week in order to have some rest, to have fun altogether and then to work better the other days. This morning was supposed to be without any early alarms and each crewmember could sleep as they wanted. Nevertheless, I had quite a noisy and (really) boring alarm at 5am. My dear greenhab officer, who is sleeping in the room next to mine, snored all night long and this horrible noise woke me up. As I could not manage to sleep again, I had breakfast in this quiet station (I have to say living with six men is sometimes really noisy). I spent a really nice moment, looking behind the windows to see the Martian sunset. As Gabriel failed cooking the bread yesterday evening (he used gluten instead of flour in his bread), he decided to cook another one just after and I was the first to taste it: it was an amazing breakfast! Not really awake, I enjoyed this moment and decided to have some rest after this really short night.

I spent two hours in my bedroom, enjoying the blue sky and the sunny light from my window. When the other crewmembers woke up, we talked and spent time chilling altogether. Jérémy and Benoit went to the greenhab in order to re-organize it. Gabriel had his first shower (2,3 gallons) and I filmed again a pep talk video for our fellow colleagues on Earth who will take part into a famous French TV game.

Louis worked on the video-editing all day (hopefully he knows how to do it and enjoys this).

Finally, our Sundays on Mars are made of late wake up, no early workout, kind of brunch and resting activities (reading, watching movies, playing games, cooking…). We are all together on Mars for one week already and I think the crew stays in a good mood and is feeling well on this new planet. (Let’s pray my fellow neighbor will not snore tonight…)

Ad Astra!

Victoria Da-Poian

Commander of the Sunday-chilling Crew 189


Commander Report – February 20th

Crew 189 Commander Report 20Feb2018

Sol 2

Today was probably our first “normal” day: everything is now almost
set up, excluding our experiments, that are for most of them already
facing some predictable minor issues. It is also the day I started to
monitor our water consumption. Like during our previous rotation, we
keep track of filtered water, greenhab water, cooking water, flushes
and showers, to understand our consumption better.

We woke up at 7:00 am, exercised together, and took extra time to
prepare ourselves better for our second EVA. This one had a bigger
scientific role than yesterday’s one: we wanted to deploy both the
MegaAres and the LOAC near Pooh’s Corner, in the spot we had chosen
yesterday. My fellow commander Victoria who was EVA leader today, went
with Jérémy, Gabriel, Benoit and one of our school’s mascot to the
work place. They first tried to deploy the LOAC experiment, but a wire
connection blocked the deployment. After this first failure, they
worked altogether on the MegaARES. Two hours, 10 nails, and many
screws later, it was operational and they all went back happy of this
EVA, looking forward to deploying the other experiments. Stay tuned
tomorrow to know more about the LOAC deployment.

At the same time in the hab, we cooked, kept assembling Laurent’s
solar panels cleaners, and dissembled the water boiler to try to fix
it. It was only when Benoit came back with the voltmeter that he
managed to fix it with a little soldering. This may seem secondary,
but the whole food needs to be rehydrated using boiling water so that
a working boiler allows us to accelerate every meal preparation. I
then tried to bake bread and ended up messing with cups and US
tablespoon so that we had to rename it “the Rock”…

This afternoon started by a victory from the commander’s duo in our
French card game “coinche” at the end of lunch break. Then, we
experienced several informatic problems while trying to launch our
human factor experiments, but nothing serious. We will just have to
wait for one more day to launch these. The end of the afternoon was
quiet as everybody was busy working on experiments and reports.

Ad Astra!

Commander Report – February 19th

Dear Graeme and mission support,

here the Crew 189 Commander Report 19Feb2018

Sol 1

Dear all,

I can say that I am already very proud of my team.

After the birthday celebration of my colleague Louis, yesterday evening, the whole crew spent a first good but quite cold night on Mars. This morning, we did our first physical training orchestrated by my amazing fellow crewmate Louis Mangin. It was a perfect preparation for our first morning in simulation. We were all busy this morning, everyone at his post: the LOAC experiment being fixed by Jérémy and the MegaARES experiment being assembled by Gabriel on the lower deck, the mission planning being determined upstairs after our first brainstorming ever on the Red Planet. With Jérémy, we spent some time, adjusting the spacesuit to put a camel bag with sugared water just in case of a hypoglycemia during his first EVA.

After only two days, the rehydrated food seems to be accepted and liked now (perhaps the birthday cake I cooked yesterday helped)! I was glad to discover that my fellow crewmember Benoit is a really good cooker! Let’s see what we will cook during our mission!

As I and Louis already took part in the simulation last year, Louis was our first EVA leader and I was Habcom in order to teach our new Martian crewmembers what we already know. With Louis, we gave a little briefing about the spacesuits and the EVA protocols but I am sure we will do better after some EVAs. The first EVA team went outside the Hab this afternoon and guess what? We managed to respect our time scheduling from the first EVA! The EVA team, led by Louis, managed to find a good spot for the MegaARES and LOAC experiments. We also tested the EVA Logger experiment of Louis and I am sure it will be a very helpful instrument during each EVA !

The EVA come back went well and they seemed already used to the equipment even if they experienced foggy helmets. After the EVA, we debriefed it to know the feelings of our new colleagues; each one worked on experiments and reports. The dinner will focus on the EVA debriefing and EVA objectives of tomorrow, with a new dry food gastronomic dish (I think the very nice smell of fresh bread I cooked will help again to make my crew like the dry food (tricky

As you can imagine, Sol 1 was especially encouraging! I cannot wait for tomorrow to explore again the red cliffs of Mars with this new amazing crew! After this first entire day in simulation, it is obvious that the whole crew is well installed on Mars! We will deploy our first experimentstomorrow, stay tuned!

Ad Astra!

Victoria Da-Poian,

Commander of the sportive Crew 189

Commander Report – February 18th

Crew 189 Commander Report 18Feb2018

Sol 0
Today began early for Benoit and I: because no crew was in the MDRS
before us to bring it back, we had to bring the rental car back to
Grand Junction. During this time, the rest of us had a bit of free
time to rest, then was trained by Dr Rupert on the Hab habits and map
use. We then had lunch together, and started the afternoon by our crew
official photo, in front of the hab. We then tried go on the ATVs but
quickly ended up in a little sand storm, so that we didn’t go very
After a last briefing more centered on simulation philosophy, came the
time to officially close the airlock. Even if it was less magical than
last year, it was still very symbolic: we are now by ourselves, and
for 3 weeks.
Everything is now slowly getting in order: everybody finds his role,
we wrote our first reports today, tested various equipment and look
forward to our first EVA, if the weather permits it! We want both to
train our new crewmembers about EVA specifications, and to find an
acceptable spot to display our experiments. As these will need to
remain on the field as long as possible, we want to make it a priority
for the beginning of the mission.
Everything is going pretty fast at the moment, but I think tomorrow
will be our last day of rush, and that after it, everybody will be
properly settled, and ready for the real business. Anyway, I see
excitement in all of us, and it is a good thing: everybody seems happy
to be here and motivated. I look forward to seeing what this crew is
going to accomplish!

Louis Mangin

Commander Report – December 26th

Ilaria Cinelli

My Crew and I had a great Xmas meal all together with a few Jupiterians! I can honestly say that our breakfast was very modest!

We have been talking about different things, and the one I like the most is motivation. Each of us talked about their dreams in space, and how hard the way to reach them can be. Sharing failures, it is a clear sign of trust and awareness! So, it is a pretty good thing!

Our generation knows that space is possible, and now we are living a great transaction period in which space will be opened to more and more people thanks to private companies (and probably a new landing on the Moon!).

However, there is a big gap. There are a lot of childhood experiences about “being inspired by space”, and only a few places where free tips about “survive in the space jungle” can be shared. Then, there is an incredible high number of people doing self-promotion…

Students and experts are now willing to volunteer for any space activity or study, regardless if this is in collaboration with an Agency or not. Although the bureaucracy and limitations behind space, people want to contribute to the space sector no matter what.

This is a remarkable sign that our society is changing including space exploration at the early stage of education. Analogues could be seen as a business and research field born from this context too.

The advice I hope my Crew will follow is: HAVE A DREAM AND MAKE IT REAL! Loud and clear! We have an ENTIRE life to make real our dreams, and the secret is doing it! Just DO IT! The hardest part is believing in our dreams when the game becomes harder. In case of failure, you will have a lesson learned! Keep up a positive mood for having a good focus in action! Motivational speeches help on the way.

I am trying to give them the right directions, and I hope this mission will be a personal achievement for them too. Here, motivational conversations come naturally, without scheduling a debriefing or an individual meeting. That’s what I like the most!

Although I have been assigned of the position of Commander, I am not in the position to teach them “how life works”, but I can advise them for their best. There is a “human side” in leadership, which is often forgotten, and that make a different between a good Leader and a Tyrant.

Being a Commander is great responsibility. I have been training them in remote, and it is my privilege to shape their vision of space in the practicalities of a simulated mission. Two weeks of time to learn what you cannot learn in school: practice!!! It is short period of time during which I can turn upside down their future vision of space. Have a “human side” in my leadership helps me to get the best out of me for my Crew (and the mission).

Commander Ilaria Cinelli

Commander Report – December 24th

Commander Report

Crew 185, SOL 6, Dec 24th, 2017

Ilaria Cinelli

My Crew and I received a warm welcome from Crew 184! We have spent about a day and a half together, and they shared their experience with us. I was glad to see that they are such a united team! Following their mission, I have to say that it is hard to stay together while facing real challenges. They have also left us presents, and we will wait until tomorrow to open our Xmas gifts!

My crew have seen a few changes before starting the mission. We have two Ground Crew Members and a new entry in our Crew! We have been working on team cohesion and team awareness, and we are on the right track! I am very proud to be their Commander! Each of them has a different talents and skills, that combined lead to a team with great potential.

My role as Commander is to understand their priorities and their talents (as single and Crew) and let them be on the stage of success. Leadership is building a common vision which, for Crew 185, is innovation, progress, creativity and international collaboration. My Crew and I are collaborating with different Countries (France, Italy, Ireland, US, Brazil, UK, Japan and others) showing that space exploration is based on humanity, that is an international representation of our species. Still questionable for a few.

It seems that people tend to forget that space exploration aims, first, at planetary presentation then interplanetary exploration and, after, colonization. As long as we underestimate the protection of our species and the abuse of planet Earth, we will probably have a short future.

Tomorrow is Xmas day, and we have decided to celebrate it as celebration day of being at half of our mission only. It could be seen as team cohesion exercise or a tradition too. Religion can be too personal, and it may highlight culture differences. Anyhow, we have a giant piece of beef in the fridge, the biggest I have ever seen in my life!!! Thanks America!

As you might know, we are in a vibrant atmosphere here in the Hab just because the power supply is not working well as expected. While trying different solutions, it is easy to feel stressed or frustrated when the outcomes are slower than the estimated prediction.

However, this is a teamwork and we are more than happy to have received help in loco and remote assistance too! As long as there is engagement in discussion and in brainstorming, smart solutions come faster!

Thus, I want to thank all the readers and the Society for the support and care we are receiving! My Crew is healthy and smiling! We have lot of food, and, now, a little bit more of drinkable water! I dare to say it is time for a Xmas shower :D!!

Happy holidays to All, and thank you for following our mission!

Commander Ilaria Cinelli