Crew 216 Journalist report 05Dec19

[title Journalist Report– December 05th]

Crew 216 Journalist Report 05-DEC-19
Sol 11
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

How to get a morning panic attack? I have a good recipe for that. Wake up early in the morning at MDRS and realize that you have only two more days left in sim and too much stuff to finalize before it’s over. Time is too long when we’re waiting and there never enough time when we are late. But let’s not talk about time, we’ve already covered this subject in our previous editions. Let’s talk about space. In all of its meanings.

How do we appropriate spaces? What do we call home? Or better: when do we start feeling like at home in a place?

It is hard for us in the crew to imagine there were crews before us and there will be some after. The MDRS belongs to us now. But according to the King Solomon “Everything goes by. And this too shall pass”.

Early today in bentonite bay, a dark fog was all around.

It shimmered and quivered and easily clouded the mound

Us all inside we had to hide from feelings of leaving forlorn

Going home soon the sadness does loom, that our red home we will morn

[end]

Crew 216 Journalist Report 04Dec2019

[title Journalist Report– December 04th]

Crew 216 Journalist Report 04-DEC-19
Sol 10
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

Mornings begin really early in the Hab. Usually around 5am one can see the glimpses of light under the doors of certain crew members. Jetlag doesn’t give up on me so at this time I usually read. This morning’s reading brought this insight to me. There are two main things that are really important in life. First: quality of our relationships with other people. Second: whether or not we will have enough courage to admit who we really are and make our dreams come true. At MDRS we practice both. While we play board games and when we climb a rock on an EVA. When we cook diner and when we try to contact the ISS. When we water the plants in the GreenHab and when we work on gypsum in the Science Dome. Even when we just wait in silence the end of depressurization in the Airblock.

And traditionally a new poem for the audience:

Walking on the sand to roam

We found an ancient blackened bone

Further still were polished stones

By wind and moving water born

We reached the mighty Phobos peak

And all around saw majesty

The ground was smooth and rough between

We marveled at the things we’d seen

Journalist Report – December 3rd

Crew 216 Journalist Report 03-DEC-19
Sol 9
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

Long martian days are about discussions and getting to know each other. We are basically six strangers who happened to love space and applied for MDRS over a year ago. We keep steadily learn from each other and our discussions become more and more profound and personal. But in the end, it all comes down to a human factor no matter on which planet you are. People is all we have and hopefully we won’t end up talking to furniture here, and as one of the crewmembers stated today:

“When you start giving anthropomorphic characteristics to a piece of equipment, life gets harder”

And another crewmember wrote this today:

Martian landscape burning bright

In sol system, 4th small light

What untold view of human eye

Could scry thy red ‘neath open sky

In chasms gasping towards the skies

Burnt out cones of ancient fires

Within our heart such dreams to beat

Of Martian dust on human feet

Journalist Report – December 2nd

Crew 216 Journalist Report 02-DEC-19
Sol 8
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

On Mars you have all the time in the world to think through the philosophical questions that you never have time to explore on Earth. Notions like happiness and meaning of life are the most perplexing ones. What comes first? Meaning or happiness? Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl survived concentration camps during the WWII and wrote a book based on his experience. He states that meaning is the crucial thing that drives a human to continue living through a whatever challenge. The faith in ultimate goal, the hidden or obvious sense in life can lead you through the darkest times.

People who will colonize Mars will definitely have a profound sense of meaning. I felt a glimpse of it during the three interviews with the crew members I conducted during the past days. What about MDRS? Is there a meaning in this place? Definitely. But to me, it goes back to happiness. Happiness is meaningful just by itself.

New anonymous poem of the day:

Today we saw amazing things

And felt the wonder that it brings

To feel what it is like in space

But not forget this special place

[end[

Journalist Report – December 1st

Crew 216 Journalist Report 01-DEC-19
Sol 6
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

Solitude VS. Intimacy

We suppose that living on Mars will imply a lack of intimacy: you are closed up in a very limited space with strangers or close to those. Our commander Marc has experience in isolation at the American polar station in Antarctica. He states that “the confined setting tends to force people away from each other”.

Paradoxically, the lack of intimacy creates solitude. And solitude can drive people mad. To preserve astronauts from feeling lonely, we need to create enough psychological space for them. So far ARES 216 crew managed very well in establishing a comfortable and respectful environment for every crew member.

Today we had a TV crew visiting and filming. Strangely their presence felt like an intrusion. We’ve witnessed our intimacy being shaken. This is probably the best proof that we managed to see MDRS as our home.

Anonymous haiku of the day:

A stark red vista
Compelling, yet alien
Home is far away

Journalist Report – November 30th

Crew 216 Journalist Report 30-NOV-19
Sol 6
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

How does the time work on Mars?

Time flies when half of the mission is already behind.

Time is really long in the airlock during the five-minute depressurization.

Time flies when it is already the Capcom window and you haven’t written your report yet.

Time is really long when you wait for the bread to be cooked.

There is this film “Room” by Lenny Abrahamson in which a 9-years old boy, who was born and grew up in a 16 square meters room, finally gets out of this room and discovers the rest of the world. Excited, he shares with his mother, that the time in the rest of the world flies much faster than in the room because the same amount of time has to be spread on a much larger surface.

Following this logic, time on the EVA flies faster than in the HAB. So the two halves of the crew experience very different sensations during this moment.

All I know is that time is not linear, the greatest minds have proved it long ago.

Anonymous Haiku for this Saturday night:

Steady pulse of pump
Soft hum of battery bank
Voices talk of space

Journalist Report – November 29th

Crew 216 Journalist Report 29-NOV-19
Sol 5
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

Do you believe in miracles? Yes or no? If you can’t answer straight to that, choose between these two options: most likely yes or most likely no? What you answer actually describes how much you trust life. I think coming to MDRS was a choice of faith. In return today, we were gratified with a real space miracle: snow on Mars. It was bewitching and relaxing to watch the snowflakes smash the window in the science dome. Most of us find it cozy and enjoyable staying indoors and meditate while the weather gets angry outside. This is interesting, because almost each crewmember describes himself as an “outdoor person”. So how come a bunch of intelligent, communicative, OUTDOOR people decided free willingly to isolate themselves in a 75m2 Hab? The answer was found: Mars is definitely outdoor to Earth and to us it means adventure. This is the best incentive.

The freshest poem from an anonymous crew member:

As we wait and look outside

And watch the storm without

The mix of snow and rain abide

And dark clouds hang about

Journalist Report – November 27th

Crew 216 Journalist Report 27-NOV-19
Sol 3
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

Light goes up and the water pump notifies you that the new day on Mars has just began. You have your dehydrated breakfast and hurry to spend next 20 minutes dressing up and preparing the gear for an EVA. Here you are: spacesuit on with the ventilation whispering in your ear and your back telling you why on Earth (oops on Mars) would you want to go out today. You spend 40 minutes climbing with your spacesuit that hides your feet from your sight of view, with your gear (and here you start considering downshifting) and you slide, and you almost fall. Once on top you can’t even breath, neither see anything because of the fog from your breath. And suddenly… You get a stroke. A happiness stroke. You see that view and just realize you are exactly where you wished you were at that very moment. Happiness is a choice. And ARES 216 chose MDRS.

So our EVA was quite enough

To the top of the ridge it was tough

She filmed us all three

For a documentree

And she carried a boat load of stuff

Journalist Report – November 22th

Crew 216 Journalist Report 27-NOV-19
Sol 3
Author: Evgenia Alexandrova

Light goes up and the water pump notifies you that the new day on Mars has just began. You have your dehydrated breakfast and hurry to spend next 20 minutes dressing up and preparing the gear for an EVA. Here you are: spacesuit on with the ventilation whispering in your ear and your back telling you why on Earth (oops on Mars) would you want to go out today. You spend 40 minutes climbing with your spacesuit that hides your feet from your sight of view, with your gear (and here you start considering downshifting) and you slide, and you almost fall. Once on top you can’t even breath, neither see anything because of the fog from your breath. And suddenly… You get a stroke. A happiness stroke. You see that view and just realize you are exactly where you wished you were at that very moment. Happiness is a choice. And ARES 216 chose MDRS.

So our EVA was quite enough

To the top of the ridge it was tough

She filmed us all three

For a documentree

And she carried a boat load of stuff

Crew 216 Journalist Report 26Nov2019

[title Journalist Report – November 26th]

Crew 216 Journalist Report 26-NOV-19
Sol 2
Author’sName: Evgenia Alexandrova
Today’s report is all about numbers. It’s Sol 2 on Mars and many things happened for the first time today. Two crew members accomplished their first EVA, while another rinsed seven handfuls of the gypsum collected the day before. There was a first Martian shower (quantity of hot water needed – 3 boiled kettles), calculation of the airlock volume (175.94 cubic feet), and 3,000 words written for the new paper. Ending report with a new poem, this time only numbers (to be read out loud):
1 11 25
25 11
6 13 and 1025
7 7 7