Journalist Report – November 27th

Sol #1
Title: First Day at Mars Analog Center
Journalist’s name: Sunny
Crew name: Alpha
Crew number: 287

Today, history was made as the world’s first Mars Analog Center welcomed the Alpha Crew 287. Stepping into the simulated Martian landscape felt like a thrilling leap into the unknown.

Led by Captain Dono, with experts like Geologist Davaa, Engineer Muggi, Health and Safety Officer Dulu, and Psychologist Tunga, our team began training.

Training and induction were skillfully guided by Ben and impressed everyone. The Science Dome, packed with instruments, promises exciting discoveries in our simulated Martian world.

As we embark on this analog Martian adventure, the Alpha Crew 287 eagerly anticipates the mysteries and adventures that await in this groundbreaking simulation.

Journalist Report – November 29th

Sol #3
Title: Adapting on Mars
Journalist’s name: Sunny
Crew name: Alpha
Crew number: 287

As of four days into the Mars simulation at the Desert Research Center, our team has begun to adjust to the 13-hour time difference. This adaptation is evident in their improved sleep patterns, allowing for more effective daily operations.

Our culinary practices have incorporated Mongolian-inspired dishes, noted for their time efficiency, minimal preparation, and delicious flavors. The crew have reached a consensus on a new approach: packaging green vegetables separately to maintain freshness. The lunch menu, prepared by the crew commander Dono and assisted by the psychologist Tungaa, featured a delectable spaghetti dish that I found particularly enjoyable. It’s fascinating and fulfilling to taste meals prepared by colleagues, despite our years of acquaintance. Dinner was an innovative twist on traditional cuisine, featuring black bean burgers and vegetable broth, during which we discussed strategies for more efficient water usage.

In terms of scientific exploration, three key team members – the crew commander, engineer, and geologist – embarked on an EVA this morning. Their goals were multifaceted: evaluating the rovers’ long-distance capabilities, identifying potential geological sampling sites, and comparing the efficacy of new versus old helmet designs. The Greenhab officer, serving as CapComm, reported positively on the EVA team’s performance.

From a journalistic standpoint, I’ve been planning feature pieces on the physical and psychological transitions involved in returning from Mars to Earth. The weather today was favorable, with minimal cloud cover and abundant sunshine, contributing to a positive working environment. A highlight of the day was the distribution of care and support by our ‘welfare minister’, whose identity remains a delightful secret among the team.

Team Alpha remains enthusiastic and well-prepared for another exciting day on this simulated Martian landscape.

Journalist Report – November 30th

Sol #4
Title: Habituation
Journalist’s name: Sunny
Crew name: Alpha
Crew number: 287

Today at the Mars Desert Research Center, Sol #4 commenced with the usual spirited breakfast, an essential start for our team’s physical health and psychological wellbeing. The day’s highlight was the long-distance EVA, led by Tungaa with team members Dono and Muggi. As CapComm, I, Journalist Sunny, had the privilege of overseeing and documenting this crucial operation. The EVA crew embarked at 10:30 a.m., aiming for the Gateway to Lith. However, an unexpected turn occurred when the rover’s battery proved insufficient for the journey, leading the team to stop at Cowboy Corner. This unplanned halt, rather than being a setback, became an opportunity for discovery as the crew explored the surrounding Martian landscape.

HSO Duluu, was immersed in the Greenhab, planting and harvesting microgreens, including radishes for our lunch salad. The freshness of these greens added a delightful touch to our already fantastic lunch, reminding us of Earth’s flavors amidst the Martian wilderness. As the evening approaches, excitement buzzes through the Hab. We’ve planned a "Martian movie night," featuring "Space Between Us." This event is not just a recreational activity; it’s a moment for the team to bond and unwind after a day of rigorous exploration and work.

In conclusion, Sol #4 has been a blend of meticulous planning, unexpected adventures, and communal harmony. As we forge ahead in our mission, each day reveals new facets of Mars and strengthens the camaraderie essential for our journey on this distant world.

Journalist Report – December 1st

Sol #5
Title: Habituation
Journalist’s name: Sunny
Crew name: Alpha
Crew number: 287

As the Martian sun rose over the horizon, the Mars Desert Research Center buzzed with a disciplined rhythm, signifying another day of exploration and innovation. I, Journalist Sunny, am here to capture the essence of today’s activities.

Morning Activities: Our day began with a brief yet energizing breakfast, fueling us for the challenges ahead. Shortly thereafter, we engaged in a live log meeting with members and supporters of the Mongolian MARS-V project. This interaction was not only informative but also a morale booster, reinforcing the collaborative spirit of our mission.

EVA #5: The highlight of the morning was EVA #5, where as the lead, I joined HSO Duluu, Geologist Davaa, and Engineer Muggi in a venture to Compass Rock. The EVA was successful, marked by drone testing and significant observations of the beautiful landscape of Mars and testing our rovers’ battery usage.

Afternoon Relaxation and Work: Post-EVA, we were treated to a delicious lunch of crew commander and psychologist, followed by a much-needed nap, allowing us to recharge our energy, quite literally. We received wonderful news from the greenhouse indicating that the radish and kale seeds, planted on November 28th, have successfully sprouted.

Innovations and Meetings: The afternoon saw Commander Dono engaged in an online meeting with the Helmet Design Development Team of the MARS-V project, focusing on advancements in protective gear. Simultaneously, Engineer Muggi and HSO were busy making a hydroponic wick system for the Greenhab, enhancing our agricultural capabilities in this distant world. Engineer’s measurements of the water tank brought good news – our water usage is becoming more efficient, a critical aspect of our long-term sustainability here.

Conclusion: Today was a testament to the disciplined and innovative spirit that drives our team. Each activity, from the EVA to the individual projects, contributes significantly to the success of our mission. As we continue to decrease our water usage and improve our self-sufficiency, the dream of a sustained human presence on Mars becomes ever more tangible.

Journalist Report – November 22nd

Crew 286 EVA #9 report 22-NOV-2023
EVA # 9
Author: Roger Gilbertson
Purpose of EVA: To perform hi-res LIDAR scanning of the campus buildings and surroundings (Scott). To perform aerial 3D imaging via a drone (Liz).
Start time for EVA: 10:06 am
End time for EVA: 11:35 am (five minutes late)
Narrative: In the morning, the EVA crew realized they would not need the entire duration originally planned, and requested a later departure time to allow for better lighting of the campus structures.
Suiting up went smoothly, and equipment was placed in the airlock. Their work proceeded effectively. Liz encountered some configuration errors with the drone, and eventually realized that the information provided in the manual was not entirely correct, or that something had changed from the standard settings. Many excellent scans and aerial clips were captured. They successfully returned, but five minutes past the requested ending time.
Destination: habitat campus only
EVA Participants:
Scott Beibin
Liz Cole

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: none
Mode of travel: walking
Vehicles used: none

Journalist Report – November 22nd

Sol 10 Journalist Report 22-NOV-2023

Liz Cole


Scott Beibin (crew inventor) and Liz Cole (crew journalist) embarked on a morning EVA, capturing LiDAR scans and drone footage of the exteriors of the MDRS campus and facilities.

After a short break to rehydrate and recharge batteries, preparation started for the afternoon EVA.


Donald Jacques (crew executive officer) and Guillaume Gégo (crew scientist) prepared the MASH for its EVA on Sol 11. The Mobile Analog Space Habitat will serve as the base station for a walking EVA, providing an opportunity for astronauts to rest aboard the MASH after they achieve the mission of the EVA, then return to the habitat. Scott set up to perform a Ptelepathetique concert just before the Martian sunset near the Observatory dome, with Liz recording the concert with the drone camera.

We used the RAM again as the airlock to accommodate Scott’s equipment for his concert, and Don and Guillaume’s preparation for getting the MASH ready for EVA.

Roger Gilbertson (crew commander) poured his third casting for medium complexity metal castings made of bismuth.

The plants continue to sprout in the GreenHab. Our hope is to have a harvest of sprouts by Thanksgiving.

Guillaume took samples, and further readings from the purple bacteria experiment. The Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 and Rhodospirillum rubrum SH1 are both growing well.

Journalist Report – November 23rd

Sol 11 Journalist Report 23-NOV-2023

Liz Cole


The crew rose at dawn to capture images of a spectacular red Martian sunrise and prepare for the last EVA of the mission.

The purpose was to demonstrate a simplified EVA mission onboard the MASH (Mobile Analog Space Habitat), a mobile habitat with an integrated ecological life support system including heating, cooling, food and water supply, and waste handling.
The MASH can take four astronauts aboard and travel further than the rovers. When parked it can serve as the base station for walking EVAs, allowing astronauts to return, rest and refresh aboard, then return to the MDRS habitat as needed.

Donald “Ducky” Jacques, crew Executive Officer and Chief Scientist at Earthseed, designed and built the MASH to approximate the features that NASA is including in their Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) concept.

Ducky, Crew Scientist Guillaume Gégo, Crew Documentary Filmmaker Hugo Saugier and brought our suits and gear into the MASH, and detached from the docking portal. We drove down Moon Walk Road, exited the campus and drove south on Cow Dung Road to Kissing Camel.

Moving an entire ecological life support system through rough, sandy roads is no small task, and the drive went very well.

Ducky performed a turn-around at the previously identified location, then parked. The MASH depressurized its front section, and Guillaume. Hugo and I exited. Ducky remained aboard as local Cap-Com.

Hugo captured images of the MASH operating in the stunning deep red terrain around Kissing Camel.

Guillaume and I walked along the base of the nearby ridge, and we took turns piloting a drone capturing high resolution video of the magnificent geology, stunning rock formations, views and vistas around Kissing Camel. We captured drone footage of the Baby Dragon rock formation and captured a fly through of a valley full of dried stream beds flanked by gorgeous red and purple striped Martian hills.

We could have spent all day out there admiring the beauty of the area.

While capturing the fly through of the valley, we received word that the MASH was having a problem. Unexpectedly, after parking, the MASH control panel showed a “check engine light” and the engine would not start. Ducky contacted Cap-com and consulted with them about the situation. Cap-com informed Mission Support, and options were discussed. Ducky suited up, depressurized, checked fluids and added oil to the engine, remaining fully in-sim the entire time.

Hugo was pleased to capture an unexpected situation, and though it did not develop into a full “emergency,” it provided him with some moments of true drama and concern.

All parties having captured their video and completed their tasks on the EVA, we boarded, repressurized and returned to MDRS in the comfort of the pressurized MASH interior.


Upon returning, Ducky harvested fresh sunflower greens, broccoli greens and radish greens for the evening meal.

Roger Gilbertson (crew commander) successfully modified his plaster mold, then melted down the third bismuth part, and recast it. He then trimmed the pieces, and performed a test assembly of an icosahedron.

Back in the Science Dome, Guillaume performed another sampling of his purple bacteria from the bioreactor bags, and was pleased to find that the bacteria growth had reached a plateau in growth. The bacteria had multiplied in numbers to the greatest possible extent inside the confines of the bioreactor bags, indicating a successful end to his experiment for this mission.


The crew started cleaning, packing and preparing the holiday dinner and for our departure from MDRS.

Journalist Report – November 19th

Sol 07 Journalist Report 19-NOV-2023


It rained from early in the morning through mid day today.

Today’s intended EVA was to be a rescheduling of yesterday’s EVA, which had been cancelled due to rain. This EVA was intended to involve LiDAR scanning in the vicinity of the Observatory Dome and to set up equipment in preparation for a Martian music performance in the afternoon. The plan was for the equipment to be covered by a plastic tarp to protect in case of unexpected rain. The goal was for Scott Beibin (Crew Artist), Hugo Saugier (Crew Documentary Filmmaker) and Caleb Stein (photographer shooting for the New York Times) to conduct this EVA and take photos.

Today’s muddy conditions were deemed to be too risky for the astronauts to walk in, and unsafe for the delicate equipment including LiDAR scanning devices, camera gear, synthesizers, audio gear to be carried through.


With our EVAs cancelled, the crew pushed ahead on the projects that can be done inside. Guillaume Gégo (Crew Scientist) monitored bacterial growth for the experiment involving CO2 fixation by purple bacteria for space food production. In the Green Hab, Donald Jacques (Crew Executive Officer) planted tomatoes, additional herbs, and greens. Some carrots have sprouted. All of the crew prepared and collated our Mid-Mission reports.

In order to conserve water, a water – saving dishwashing system was put into place in the kitchen.


After dinner, Crew Artist Scott Beibin performed a Ptelepathetique Martian Music concert simulating the acoustics of Mars, inside of the science dome.

Journalist Report – November 20th

Sol 08 Journalist Report 20-NOV-2023

Last night Crew Inventor Scott Beibin (Ptelepathetique) performed an original music composition inside the Science Dome to demonstrate the way sound travels on through the Martian atmosphere.

This morning the crew rose before dawn, excited for the early morning’s adventure: an outdoor Ptelepathetique concert just after the glorious Martian sunrise.

It was also the most ambitious EVA our crew had enacted yet. Because this EVA included six people in sim suits and helmets, all carrying cameras, synthesizers, recording equipment and other gear, we used the RAM as a large airlock for the depressurization sequence and exit. This EVA also functioned as a practice scenario of an evacuation or a group migration to a new lander that has arrived nearby.

The RAM was the perfect size for our crew. Scott, Liz Cole (Crew Journalist), Hugo Saugier (Crew Documentary Filmmaker), Guillaume Gégo, Roger Gilbertson and Caleb Stein exited with no helmet bumping and then walked to an area by the science dome.

Don got us suited up quickly and we walked to the RAM, carrying our helmets in their cases, donned helmets in the RAM, performed a five-minute depressurization, and greeted the frosty sunny morning.

We walked to the beautiful red hills just north of the Observatory, where Scott performed another concert demonstrating the acoustics of Mars, this time for astronauts in sim suits. Scott Beibin collaborated with audio engineer John Knott to create a filter in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that simulates the way sound travels in the low-pressure CO2-dominated atmosphere of Mars, using data collected by the Perseverance Rover.

Later that morning, Liz captured NERFs of some geological features near the MDRS habitat.

In the Science Dome Guillaume sampled the prolific spirulina growth from Cécile Renauld’s (MDRS 261 scientist and PhD candidate at University of Mons) spirulina bioreactor.

Scott captured a LiDAR scan of the interior of the MASH. The MASH (Mobile Analog Space Habitat) is a converted mobile habitat with heating, cooling, food and water supply, and waste handling, designed and built by Donald Jacques, MDRS Crew 286 Executive Officer and Chief Scientist at Earthseed.

Journalist Report – November 21st

Sol 09 Journalist Report 21-NOV-2023

Liz Cole

The morning began with planning EVAs for the last few days of our mission.

The day’s only EVA ventured south of the MDRS campus to collect samples of three different kinds of soils from three locations, for use in a substrate comparison experiment for plant growth. MDRS 261 mission crew member Cécile Renauld began this work, and soil collection is meant to support the furthering of her experiments at the University of Mons in Belgium.

Roger Gilbertson (Crew Commander), Guillaume Gégo (Crew Scientist) and Hugo Saugier (Crew Documentary Filmmaker) used GPS coordinates provided by the previous researchers to find the location for collecting soil. The locations where the first two samples were previously collected were easy to visually identify as only minor erosion and filling in had occurred since the MDRS 261 crew took their samples at this site in April. The third sample had been taken from a stream bed and so was not as easy to identify visually. At each location the astronauts collected and labeled samples, and photographed each before and after digging.

The geologic features provided a great opportunity for Hugo to record content for his documentary. The stunning views and vistas south on Cow Dung road provided a great opportunity for filming the other astronauts traversing the landscape in rovers.

Roger continues his work on making plaster molds for medium complexity metal castings. The second half of the metal casting mold was dried and trimmed. Then both halves were joined, and the first bismuth casting performed. It was removed from the mold successfully, and a second casting was performed.

Liz Cole and Scott Beibin practiced flying a DJI Avata drone in the tunnels between the RAM and the Observatory in advance of taking the drone out on EVA to capture the campus.

In the Green Hab, Donald "Duckie" Jacques (Crew Executive Officer and Green Hab Officer) planted kale and transplanted peas. With the amount of sprouts rising from his planting work, he hopes to have a small harvest for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Crew Scientist Guillaume Gégo dried yesterday’s harvest of spirulina in the oven at 75 celsius, to measure the dry weight of the mass of spirulina growing in the bioreactor.

We got a head start on cleaning the mud from the recent rains out of the HAB, in preparation for the deep clean before departure.

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