Journalist Report – Dec 30th

Sol 12 – Crew 185 and a half

Everything eventually comes to an end, even the greatest experiences in your life. This time, it is really the end of our Crew. Crew 185 is dead. Long life to Crew 186!

This morning, we woke up on the Earth. What a pleasure to feel the light of the sun or the cold and dry wind of the desert on your skin, without a foggy helmet!

After a quick breakfast, we finished to clean the Hab and to pack all our experiments (including X-1 and its 200 pounds giant box!). You have probably no idea of the quantity of dust that you can have inside the Hab after two weeks of simulation, even if we all had inside and outside shoes. 😉

Then, we welcomed Crew 186 and we presented them the Hab, the Greenhouse, the Science Dome, the Observatory… and we explained them how the base works, how to do a report for mission support or how to optimize their water consumption in the desert. We had a nice dinner together and a very pleasant evening. I am very confident that they will be an amazing crew!

Greetings from our good old blue planet,

Thibault ex-Exo and Spacesuit Engineer for Crew 185

Journalist Report – December 29th

[Sol 11] [Atmospheric reentry]

We are now all seated and fastened in our space capsule. Take-off is imminent so I have just a few minutes to tell you about this last day at MDRS.

We woke up at 8 am and we had a pleasant breakfast together. Then, John and Ilaria did a long EVA with two ATVs. They went to a place quite far and northern from the Hab. This area is very interesting because it looks like the Moon (hence its name: Yellow Moon). It was our last EVA of the mission and they achieved all their objectives. Congratulations to them!

Then, after lunch, we played a game and we finished all the social sciences and psychology studies that we carried out during the mission. At the end of the afternoon, we cleaned the whole MDRS base, made an inventory of the food and packed everything that we need to take with us back to the Earth.

I really enjoyed our two amazing weeks here at MDRS. No matter the problems that we faced, we all learned and faced them together as a team. Beyond our scientific achievements, it is the human experience that I will carry back with me to the Earth. What an adventure!

T minus 10, 9, 8…

I would like to thank the Mars Society and its French chapter as long as I can do it.

…7, 6, 5…

For the last time, greetings from the Red Planet,

4, 3, 2, 1…

Boosters ignition and lift off!

Thibault, ExO and spacesuit engineer for the Crew 185

Journalist Report – December 28th

Today, we had a lie-in and woke up at 8am. After the breakfast, we made sure to charge the generator, we played poker and prepared for the EVA. Ilaria, John and I then took soil samples on our ATVs and our rover. We hiked to the top of a hill and enjoyed the landscape. We were surrounded by a large canyon and desert plains. As we went back to the Hab, we did the last communication experiment of our mission. After this 3-hour-long EVA, we had a well-deserved lunch. Everybody went back to their daily activities: I cleaned the helmets and checked the electronic systems, David worked in the GreenLab, while Thibault, Ilaria and John did a medical experiment.

Arno

Journalist Report – December 26th

After having breakfast, we started charging the battery to be sure that the generator run during the whole night. Then we tested a GPS device and a new concept of drone controller. As we prepared for the EVA, we took a group picture of the crew wearing spacesuits. Arno, Thibault and John then tested the new drone controller on the X-1 spacesuit. Unfortunately, it quickly ran out of power. We thus did the engineering check and a communication experiment. As we finished the EVA three hours later, we had a well-deserved lunch. Then we played a board game and poker before fulfilling the daily human factor experiments. We started the generator early today, as the clouds were gathering on the horizon.

Arno

Journalist Report – December 25th

Journalist Report 12-25-2017AD 7:33pm Sol 7
Author: John Sczepaniak MD

Today, was Christmas on Mars. In the morning the commander let us sleep an extra hour. Yay!!! We were priviliged to be visited by a three crew re-supply team and they brought us a wonderful Christmas meal. We had prime ribs, sugar coated sweet potatoes, butter coated biscuits, and ofcourse healthy vegitables. We were really stuffed. That was not all, we shared gifts from our respective countries and enjoyed French chocolates. For beverages with had apple cider (non-alcoholic). We shared our personal experiences and our plans once we return to Earth. It was a bit difficult for some because they would really like to be with their family back on that beautiful blue ball we call home. Alas, we will make due with the situation at hand; I would say we are doing well.

Overall it was nice to have a day off from extravehicular
activities. Going outside the habitat in a spacesuit is a bit physically draining. It requires everyone on the crew to prepare the suits, get participants dressed, and maintain communications. Not to mention the weight of the suit and the physical demands of wearing pressurized suits. The crew is now pretty accustomed to the decompression and repressurization. Our new space suit testing is coming along well and we hope to test it again tomorrow.

We wish everyone back on Earth a wonderful and bright Christmas. If you do not celebrate the holiday we wish you happy holidays and a beautiful New Year.

Journalist Report – December 25th

Journalist Report 12-25-2017AD 7:33pm Sol 7
Author: John Sczepaniak MD

Today, was Christmas on Mars. In the morning the commander let us sleep an extra hour. Yay!!! We were priviliged to be visited by a three crew re-supply team and they brought us a wonderful Christmas meal. We had prime ribs, sugar coated sweet potatoes, butter coated biscuits, and of course healthy vegetables. We were really stuffed. That was not all, we shared gifts from our respective countries and enjoyed French chocolates. For beverages with had apple cider (non-alcoholic). We shared our personal experiences and our plans once we return to Earth. It was a bit difficult for some because they would really like to be with their family back on that beautiful blue ball we call home. Alas, we will make due with the situation at hand; I would say we are doing well.

Overall it was nice to have a day off from extravehicular
activities. Going outside the habitat in a spacesuit is a bit physically draining. It requires everyone on the crew to prepare the suits, get participants dressed, and maintain communications. Not to mention the weight of the suit and the physical demands of wearing pressurized suits. The crew is now pretty accustomed to the decompression and repressurization. Our new space suit testing is coming along well and we hope to test it again tomorrow.

We wish everyone back on Earth a wonderful and bright Christmas. If you do not celebrate the holiday we wish you happy holidays and a beautiful New Year.

Journalist Report – December 24th

Sol 6 – All I want for Christmas is Mars

The moral in the Hab is excellent! It is very pleasant to be with such a nice crew. 🙂

This morning, we made our longuest EVA since the beginning of the mission. It lasted more than 3 hours and we managed to test X-1 in a rocky area, we set up an experiment about soil erosion, we continued our experiment about control/astro interaction and we determined which maximum weight you can carry on an ATV depending on the local soil density around the Hab. Quite a busy morning!

This afternoon, we worked together and did social sciences surveys about writting skills, clothing or empowerment during a Martian mission. We also had our first (and probably last) short shower of the mission and we found a way to overcome the issues we are currently having with the battery of the generator.

The mood is light as even here, Christmas is approaching. We have a Christmas tree, presents and nice food for tommorow. Do you really need more on the Red Planet?

On the behalf of the whole Crew 185, I wish you all a merry ChristMa(r)s with you family and loved ones!

Sincere greetings from the Red Planet,

Thibault, ExO and spacesuit engineer for the Crew 185

Journalist Report – December 23rd

Sol 5 – EVAs and fertilizer

This morning, we had our first long EVA with one rover and one ATV. Arno, John and Ilaria left the Hab during almost three hours and they explored a region north to the Hab with Moon-like landscapes. They also hid objects to be find by David and Thibault during the next EVA for an experiement about Astro-control communication.

Back in the Hab, we did meditation and team-building. Then, David sprayed a homemade fertilizer on the almost 200 plants of the GreenHab which is greener every day thanks to his biology talents!

Tonight, we enjoyed a meal of mashed potatoes and vegetables made by John. We also baked two breads for tomorrow (one with walnuts and honey and the other with blueberries). Life is not that bad on Mars!

Greetings from the Red Planet,

Thibault, ExO and spacesuit engineer for the Crew 185

Journalist Report – December 22nd

[Sol 4]

And we are back to red! After 24h of snow and landscapes looking more like Europa than Mars, the sun is shinning again and the temperatures are positive.

Today, we did a short walking EVA to pick up geological samples around the Hab and to see if X-1 is capable of doing it. We brought back a dozen interesting rocks and samples of soil.

Then, this afternoon, we practiced CPR with John to be sure that we would be able to do it if needed. We all managed to rescue Phil the mannequin successfully!

The crew is doing great so far. The only concern is that our water supplies are running low, even though we are careful and didn’t have a shower yet. We discussed tonight how to make it even lower. Hopefully, we will have enough water for the rest of the mission. Think of us when you will have your next shower, it is a dream here!

Greetings from the Red Planet,

Thibault, ExO and spacesuit engineer for the Crew 185

Journalist Report – December 21st

Journalist Report 21 Dec, 2017
[Sol 3]
Crew 185 had to readjust some of our plans today. After breakfast we noticed that it was snowing outside. At first, it was light and didnt stick to the ground. When Arno, Tibo, and John went to complete the engineering check the snow began to stick and visibility became very limited. Unfortuanetly we had to cancel our EVA because visibility was crucial for the task we had assigned. Tibo still got a chance to test the X-1 space suit in the snow but the expedition was very limited. After the three returned from their engineering check we drew a picture as a group to increase team cohesion.
For the rest of the night we need to make dinner, complete psychological tests, and finish our reports. The snow is no longer falling and only trace amounts remain on the ground. We’re placing an emphasis on stress reduction and leisure for the rest of the night. Tomorrow, we hope for more agreeable weather and an opportunity to complete our EVA.
Later nerds,
David Murray – Crew Biologist and Greenhab Officer