Journalist Report – March 19th

Journalists Report March 19

At 3:00 am, Dean arrived with all kinds of electronic and mechanical goodies.

After allowing him a short nap, 3 of us assembled a bicycle and mounted it to a friction trainer. Dean hooked up a battery and ancillary monitoring devices. Each crew members will ride for an hour per day for at least 2 days. Energy will be stored in the battery, and used to power the 3D printers. This activity keeps us in shape, maintains high crew morale, and creates electrical power
independently.

Kevin hooked up a 3D printer in the RAM and printed a microscope slide holder, a soil sieve base, and a mold for making protein gels (used for Western blotting). How wonderful that these aids to science can be made right on Mars without the necessity of transporting them up here!

In the afternoon, Kevin, Tiffany and Julielynn went on an EVA to scout the turn off the main highway to Cow Dung Road. As there is no signage, they plan to drone map the area to create a 3D printed map which might be a helpful aid to pinpointing the intersection.

In the evening, Julielynn trained all crew members in needle decompression skills to treat a potentially fatal tension
pneumothorax. She employed her leading-edge 3D printed medical simulation training devices. While this was fascinating and exciting it was kind of scary for those of us who are not in the medical profession! But being on Mars, where the nearest hospital is months away, it’s a handy skill to know!

Cheers,

Julielynn Wong, MD, MPH, FACPM
Chief Medical Maker

Journalist Report – March 17th

Author: Diane Rothberg

We spent this beautiful, sunny day out of sim, as we’re waiting for so much to arrive…3D printers, drones, a bike, and two additional crew members.

Still getting the hang of water conservation, which is tricky when you have to wash a sticky oatmeal pot, as well as last night’s pots holding clingy, aging leftover soup and rice.

Today’s lunch of spaghetti bolognaise prepared by Tiffany and Kevin was a huge hit, especially after we supplemented it with fresh basil from the Greenhab.

Our commander, Julielynn, did some much-needed cleaning and organizing around the hab and the science dome, and came up with creative ideas as to what items we should 3D print to make life easier here on Mars.

Kevin, our health and safety officer checked all CO2 detectors and fire alarms.

We received a safety briefing from David, and we all got rover check out and a chance to drive them before we have to do it in a bulky space suit.

Late in the afternoon, we were checked out on the space suits, and now, our Mars simulation truly begins!

Journalist Report – March 16th

Sol 20

Authors: Benjamin Auzou, Journalist and Cerise Cuny, HSO & Crew Biologist

For our first day back on Earth, we woke up earlier than during the whole mission for a precise goal: enjoy the sunrise on the desert landscape from Hab Ridge. The first glow started to draw the reliefs all around us, and when the first sun’s ray emerged from the horizon line, a giant smile appeared on our faces: Earth called us back, and we are definitely back!

After the sunrise, Norbert, Aurélien and I decided to run to Skyline Rim, this geologic beauty that raised our curiosity for the whole mission but that we couldn’t reach with the rovers and the suits. We touched the Rim and then came back to the Hab, a simple act but that created in us a feeling of freedom that was completely different from the confinement we lived in for twenty days.

Yesterday evening, we invited Atila and David, from the Mars Society support team to eat pizzas and a cake. It’s was refreshing to talk with other people than us six, and that was the same for them.

Following the advice of Atila and David, we went for an EVA at Copernicus. Driving the rovers without the suits gave us an incredible feeling of freedom. We were surprised but pleased to feel the hard blowing wind on our cheeks as we gained speed, finally driving the rovers without helmets or backpacks.

The crew walked down Copernicus highway surrounded by a lunar landscape. The crackling sound of our foot on the dry soil was kind of new to us and we embraced both those usually insignificant noises and the incredible silence of the desert.

We paused a long time on a stiff ridge in total silence, sitting on the raw grey dirt, our head tilted back to get all the warmth that the Sun rays had to offer. No words were necessary to maintain that vibrating harmony. After this divine moment, we headed down into a canyon multiplying jokes and overwhelmed with joy. We headed back to the hab enjoying our last glimpse of Mars.

In the afternoon, we welcomed Crew 207, it was very nice to see some new people and to transmit everything we have learned in the past 3 weeks.

Then with our Executive Officer Aurélien, I took the HabCar and drove to Hanksville to take water in order to refill the tank. That was a strange return to real life and earth society, we met people at the gas station, bought a bottle of soda just for the pleasure to spend a dollar, and simply just enjoyed a car drive on the road. Even if everything was less than 15 miles from us, we were definitely a million miles away from here, on Mars.

Journalist Report – Mar 15th

Sol 19

Authors: Benjamin Auzou, Journalist, & Norbert Pouzin, Greenhab Officer

The end of an adventure but not the end of the story

On the 24th February, we closed the airlock of the station and started our mission. Three weeks after, we opened the airlock and ended our rotation in the MDRS. These 20 Sols on Mars were intense and unprecedented for us. At 18:01 we opened the main airlock door and ran on the Earth’s ground without a suit for the first time since the beginning of the simulation. Even if we were happy in the Hab, it’s good to be back on Earth and breathe the fresh air. Feeling the atmosphere, or walking on the ground, things appearing to be basic on
everyday life was something unique tonight.

Mars is an ambitious goal for humanity, but Earth is our cradle and feeling it again was more than a simple pleasure. We realized that humanity needs Earth to survive and that we have to take care of our Pale Blue Dot. These three weeks here taught us that our lives don’t need as much comfort as they have. A shower everyday, over-connections, and over-consumption don’t give us as much pleasure as we consume and destroy our planet to have it.

Living here on Mars showed us what was really essential to live and what is important in human relationships. A bit of cooking, nice friendships, great experiments and pétanque seem enough. However, Earth calls us back ; we will soon come back to our daily routines in
France, but we will never forget what happened in the last weeks.

We met on August 2017 in Toulouse, Jérémy was in second year of ISAE-SUPAERO and the rest of the crew arrived for its first year. Then we started working together around the projects of the student association Club MARS. Our group that became crew 206 gets stronger days after days, as we were working together with a same goal, this mission. After more than a year to prepare it, facing many issues, joy, difficulties, we have achieved our mission. We are all very happy for what has been done, for the moments all together, and the science we have made. If the mission is over, what we have achieved is just starting.

Aurélien, Norbert and I were the last marswalkers of our mission. We walked through Candor Chasma, enjoying our last steps and our last views of Mars. We lived a wonderful adventure here and participated actively to take the scientific challenges of the exploration of Mars and we warmly thank the Mars Society, Robert Zubrin, Shannon Rupert, Atila Mezsaros and all the team of CapCom for making this possible.

We spent three extraordinary weeks that we will never forget and that taught us a lot of things. We are more than a crew; we are six friends with strong links that are even bigger than this mission.

Journalist Report – March 14th

Sol 18

Author : Benjamin Auzou, Journalist

Meaningful thoughts

Even more than yesterday, we are feeling the end of the mission
approaching, today we cleaned the entire station to prepare the arrival
of crew 207, filmed answers to questions asked by French middle and high
school students on our mission, and explored for the first time the
Eastern part of the MDRS campus. It was a special EVA since it was the
last of the mission for Cerise and Jérémie, and if Cerise may be back as
a Commander next year, it was for Jérémie the last EVA on Martian soil
as a member of an ISAE-SUPAERO crew, which gave a particular flavor to
the exploration. We visited the surroundings of the Candor Chasma canyon
and its majestic and unknown landscapes for all of us. We took the time
to admire what we had in front of our eyes and Jérémie was able to take
his last shots of the Red Planet. I especially want to thank him for
what he did for the crew and the Club MARS (our assocation); Green-Hab
Officer of mission 189 and Commander of this mission 206, he was
actively involved in the smooth running of these missions and the
development of scientific experiments. In parallel he also participated
in the diversification of the activities of the association, by getting
involved in particular in the social opening activities of the program
OSE L’ISAE-SUPAERO. On behalf of the rest of the crew, I wish him well
in the exciting internship that awaits him and for his graduation, with
the certainty that the three weeks we spent together here have forged
links that go beyond the distance that will cause our dispersion
throughout the world for our different internships and courses.

After these three busy weeks of mission, which will end tomorrow, we
begin to make the balance of this adventure. Everyone came here with
goals, whether individual or collective, and we are starting to get the
answers. How are we going to live in confinement? How will relationships
within the crew evolve? What scientific results are we going to get?
These are the reasons of this human and scientific mission. We have
prepared for a year this mission together in parallel with other actions
such as interventions in middle schools and high schools. This is what
makes us a welded and unflappable crew and founds all the human
dimension of the mission : we learned a lot about ourselves and the life
of a crew.

But we’re doing this mission first and foremost to advance science and
bring Man to Mars. We spent three weeks in confinement, participating in
and deploying many experiments. These had the goal to study the
influence of confinement on our behavior, performance, motivation, but
also to establish experimental reproducible protocols in the perspective
of a scientific mission to Mars.

While Neil Armstrong made the first leap on the Moon for Humanity, the
first step on Mars will be made by humanity. The key to the success of
this great human building is collaboration: be it international
collaboration or collaboration between national and private actors.
Indeed, the exploration of Mars can not be the work of a single nation,
of an isolated compagny, but of a group of organizations and people. And
if a small number of people will first reach the red planet, this will
be the result of the work of many people before them. Engineers working
in agencies and companies on the production of technical resources,
scientists involved in the development of concepts and processes to
improve human space flight, diplomats acting to promote space
exploration, students who participate in their scale to the foundations
of modern space flight, teachers giving to the young population the
passion of science, the people passionate about space that speak around
them about this passion and the advances that it generates, etc…

In the last days of this mission, I have a special thought for my high
school physics teacher, Pascal Martin, who tragically died of a car
accident. This fascinating man has always impressed me with the passion
and heart he put into the teaching of science, and so much more. He also
had the ability to adapt to the needs of each student that allowed
everyone to make progress, whether they were a little genius of physics
or a student in difficulty. In particular, he transmitted to me, in
addition to knowledge of the school program, a big part of his curiosity
for science, his desire to discover things, while working to share
knowledge. I recognize him particularly in the two vocations of the Club
MARS: research and scientific popularization.
To him who wanted the success and happiness of all of his students, in
and out of school, in private and professional life, I can assure you
that today I am living a wonderful adventure that contributes to an even
greater goal. And for that and on behalf of all my classmates he has
participated in the success and accomplishment: Thank you! Sol 18

Author : Benjamin Auzou, Journalist

Meaningful thoughts

Even more than yesterday, we are feeling the end of the mission
approaching, today we cleaned the entire station to prepare the arrival
of crew 207, filmed answers to questions asked by French middle and high
school students on our mission, and explored for the first time the
Eastern part of the MDRS campus. It was a special EVA since it was the
last of the mission for Cerise and Jérémie, and if Cerise may be back as
a Commander next year, it was for Jérémie the last EVA on Martian soil
as a member of an ISAE-SUPAERO crew, which gave a particular flavor to
the exploration. We visited the surroundings of the Candor Chasma canyon
and its majestic and unknown landscapes for all of us. We took the time
to admire what we had in front of our eyes and Jérémie was able to take
his last shots of the Red Planet. I especially want to thank him for
what he did for the crew and the Club MARS (our assocation); Green-Hab
Officer of mission 189 and Commander of this mission 206, he was
actively involved in the smooth running of these missions and the
development of scientific experiments. In parallel he also participated
in the diversification of the activities of the association, by getting
involved in particular in the social opening activities of the program
OSE L’ISAE-SUPAERO. On behalf of the rest of the crew, I wish him well
in the exciting internship that awaits him and for his graduation, with
the certainty that the three weeks we spent together here have forged
links that go beyond the distance that will cause our dispersion
throughout the world for our different internships and courses.

After these three busy weeks of mission, which will end tomorrow, we
begin to make the balance of this adventure. Everyone came here with
goals, whether individual or collective, and we are starting to get the
answers. How are we going to live in confinement? How will relationships
within the crew evolve? What scientific results are we going to get?
These are the reasons of this human and scientific mission. We have
prepared for a year this mission together in parallel with other actions
such as interventions in middle schools and high schools. This is what
makes us a welded and unflappable crew and founds all the human
dimension of the mission : we learned a lot about ourselves and the life
of a crew.

But we’re doing this mission first and foremost to advance science and
bring Man to Mars. We spent three weeks in confinement, participating in
and deploying many experiments. These had the goal to study the
influence of confinement on our behavior, performance, motivation, but
also to establish experimental reproducible protocols in the perspective
of a scientific mission to Mars.

While Neil Armstrong made the first leap on the Moon for Humanity, the
first step on Mars will be made by humanity. The key to the success of
this great human building is collaboration: be it international
collaboration or collaboration between national and private actors.
Indeed, the exploration of Mars can not be the work of a single nation,
of an isolated compagny, but of a group of organizations and people. And
if a small number of people will first reach the red planet, this will
be the result of the work of many people before them. Engineers working
in agencies and companies on the production of technical resources,
scientists involved in the development of concepts and processes to
improve human space flight, diplomats acting to promote space
exploration, students who participate in their scale to the foundations
of modern space flight, teachers giving to the young population the
passion of science, the people passionate about space that speak around
them about this passion and the advances that it generates, etc…

In the last days of this mission, I have a special thought for my high
school physics teacher, Pascal Martin, who tragically died of a car
accident. This fascinating man has always impressed me with the passion
and heart he put into the teaching of science, and so much more. He also
had the ability to adapt to the needs of each student that allowed
everyone to make progress, whether they were a little genius of physics
or a student in difficulty. In particular, he transmitted to me, in
addition to knowledge of the school program, a big part of his curiosity
for science, his desire to discover things, while working to share
knowledge. I recognize him particularly in the two vocations of the Club
MARS: research and scientific popularization.
To him who wanted the success and happiness of all of his students, in
and out of school, in private and professional life, I can assure you
that today I am living a wonderful adventure that contributes to an even
greater goal. And for that and on behalf of all my classmates he has
participated in the success and accomplishment: Thank you!

Journalist Report – March 13th

Sol 17

"Emergency return"

When the EVA team of the day was exploring the South area of the station
they faced strong winds and took the decision to get back to the
station. The beginning of the EVA rolled out fine : they went to the
weather station to do some maintenance, as usual. Then they headed
south. The first stop was done before the Kissing Camels Ridges. The
wind was still low enough, but it was getting colder. It’s at their
second stop that things started to get serious : after 10 minutes
walking, the wind increased dramatically and quickly, the EVA team was
starting to feel the cold of the wind through their gloves. It was
getting hard to hear other members through the radio, and the wind was
pushing them around. Cerise, EVA leader, took the right decision to
abort the EVA and head straight back to the rovers. The team drove right
back to the Hab. The wind strained to rover’s batteries quite a lot. The
team arrived in the Hab feeling frozen, but safe and sound.
This EVA was different from the rest of our mission, Cerise, Jérémy,
Aurélien and Norbert explored a wide region without a precise goal
except the will to explore and discover unknown areas. They drove the
rovers along Cow Dung Road and stopped each time they found a nice
geologic spot. That’s real exploration, like the first settlers will
have to do on Mars.

Today was a milestone for some of us, our mission will end in less than
two days and we started to realize that today. The effect on our
behaviors is strange : we have a foot on Earth but the other one still
sealed on Mars. On one hand it’s easier for us to live in this
philosophy as confinement has less weight on us. But on the other hand
the mission is one of the most intense moments of our lives that we
prepared for one year and it’s hard to see its end coming. Two of us
will return to the MDRS to be commander of the 2020 missions of
ISAE-SUPAERO but for the others these are certainly our last days on the
Red Planet. It affects the life of the Hab and the experiments. But it’s
very different from a crew member to another. For example Aurélien and
Norbert felt the end of the mission coming very fast while I’m still
feeling like an astronaut in the middle of its rotation, I was really
surprised when Aurélien told me that tomorrow we will start to pack our
luggage. The fact that in three days we will be on a plane to Paris
makes us feel different in these days than if we were in the middle of a
longer mission. We are thinking about the return more than ever and that
affects us, and I think that these days, like the first days of the
mission are less pertinent to the extent of science and human factors.
On Saturday, crew 207 will join us in the MDRS. The Hab and the crew
will be ready to welcome them and let them start science here.

Journalist Report – March 12th

Crew 206 – 03/12/2019

Sol 16

Authors : Benjamin Auzou, Journalist – Aurélien Murge, Astronomer and Executive Officer

"The force of the experience"

Our Association has been sending crew to the MDRS for five years. MDRS 151,164,175,189,206 are a ‘succession’ of experiences given each year to the new members. 22 French aeronautics and aerospace engineering students from ISAE-SUPAERO have worked to forge our knowledge about Martian simulations. At the beginning two veterans were part of the next crew with a shared leadership. Our crew is commanded by Jérémy, former GreenHab Officer. To continue the partnership with the MDRS and as we had this year in our association more than 30 applications for 2020 missions, the Station Director agreed to receive two French crews.
The whole crew is still undergraduate and next year will be in internship or universities all around the world. Two of us will command these crews but we can’t know yet who it will be. This is why the entire crew is trained to be commander. Everyone is taking in charge some communication windows, leading EVA’s, participating to the writing of the mission report and leading scientific experiments. Moreover, the whole crew is discussing about roles so that each member of the crew is aware of the basic knowledge of every role to be able to train the following crews.
That’s how our crews are based : experience. The members of the crews are selected, formed and advised by members of the previous missions. This allows us to have a good knowledge of the MDRS fundamentals and to deploy scientific experiments over the years. For example the aerosol counter (LOAC) analyzed the air of the desert in 2018 and in 2019 as well as the rover driving experiment ‘TELEOP’. We developed an app to help the leader of an EVA to take notes and follow protocols (created by Louis Mangin, Commander of crew 189 and improved by Gaspard, our crew engineer). And next year we will continue to work on improvement of our monitoring, but also take new experiments to the MDRS with two crews composed of talented and curious students from ISAE-SUPAERO. If you want to follow the preparation of the future missions of our association : call for projects, experiments, presentation of the crews, you can visit our Twitter account : @MDRSSupaeroCrew.

This week we continued to film moments of life and science to prepare the mission video. This video will be ready a few days after the end of the mission. What we are living for three weeks is incredible and the result of our year of preparation, and we are eager to share what we achieved with our relatives and all the people that follow our adventure. Here on Mars, our role is mainly scientific, but back on Earth our role will be more about popularizing our analog mission to children, to our friends, to our families.
These are the two goals of our association, the Club MARS from ISAE-SUPAERO : science for space and link with the public.

Journalist Report – March 11th

Cerise, Crew 206 HSO.

Crew 206 – 03/11/2019

Sol 15

Author : Benjamin Auzou, Journalist

"Trial and Error"

We installed the LOAC back to its location, with the weather station,
and a strongest attach method. The EVA was a remake of the second EVA of
the mission : same team, same goal.
After an afternoon in the Hab, the VR experiment took me to wonderful
landscapes and mountains of China. That was a visual refresh for me !
Today, Aurélien also received his first astronomy results since a few
days thanks to the end of the wind episode : a nice picture of the Pleiads.

This mission confirms that in space, long preparation is needed, but
that it’s impossible to predict all the events. The road to space is
full of difficulties, of obstacles, of errors. And problems are always
easier to solve when they’re detected before leaving the Earth.
We faced issues with the Teleop experiment, which wasn’t lucky at all
this year : a lost (or stolen) eye tracker at the airport, connection
issues on the rover, a broken computer charger. The weather was hard
with our outside experiments (LOAC and Weather station).
We prepared ourselves during one year for this mission but reality is
very different from what we thought. We had to adapt everything in order
to continue the mission and get results for science. We repaired the
weather station to put it back in place, we make changes on protocols to
save the physic version of Teleop. And in the end, no experiment has
been canceled !

The first step on Mars will be the result of years of work of peoples :
researchers, engineers, scientists who dedicated their life to improve
science and technology and help humanity to reach another planet. These
persons are the one that faced fails and that tried the most to make
discoveries, while the rest of the world will only see the final result
and success. Errors are not the end, but more steps to find the truth.

Journalist Report – March 10th

Crew 206 – 03/10/2019

Sol 14

Author : Benjamin Auzou, Journalist

"A different day"

Since the beginning of our mission, the days are busy, and follow a
heavy routine. Today it was a pleasure to live and think differently and
we needed that to prepare the last week of the mission. However it’s
harder to find inspiration in those days.

The daylight savings time spoiled a part of the day. We woke up between
0900 and 1000, we had lunch at 1400 : a perturbed day. We had a big
breakfast with a new pancake recipe and spent more time speaking at the
table than on week days. Then while Norbert was baking bread, we watched
a movie, debated on the place of humour in societies, played VR games
and cards.

In days-off, time is different. Indeed we are not under a planning, our
tasks aren’t planned. And so we are taking more time to cook, more time
to speak, more time to play, more time for everything, more time for us.
Time is a precious value, especially on Mars, where Earth is at around
15 minutes of light speed communication, at months of space travel. Also
on Mars the question of day duration is important : Will the settlers
live on 24 hours cycle or will they adapt their way of life to the
martian 24 hours and 40 minutes cycle?

Journalist Report – March 9th

Crew 206 – 03/09/2019

Sol 13

Authors : Jérémy Auclair, Commander and Benjamin Auzou, Journalist

"Martian Parliament"

Life is often made of compromises and debates. It’s important for the development of a society that people listen to each other’s points of view and take things into account to make the best choices. Even more in a mission like ours were a little number of people have to live together in a confined environment and take important decisions. It’s essential for everyone to share his/her experience and opinion to help the community.

The question of Mars and the exploration of outer space are also an open debate: How to deal with planets’ exploitation? Which laws apply to Mars? What authority will Earth have on a Mars colony? How to define the status of the settlers? There are many unanswered questions that have to be addressed before planning the first manned mission to Mars.

Since the beginning of the mission, we have spent more and more time debating, on various subjects and with different and interesting opinions. It’s a very entertaining activity, with an open mind it’s a great opportunity to learn new facts and to take a step back and see a little more of the whole picture. We have covered a wide range of
subjects. But one thing we have noticed since the middle of our second week is that our reactions have changed during our debates.

All crewmembers are getting more and more emotionally engaged in the debates, react stronger to the opposition and have more difficulty to overcome differences of opinions or ideology. We are all conscious of the effect confinement and isolation have on our social interactions, we see that we react differently to things we are very used to, but it is
still hard to control our responses. But we have prepared ourselves for that, we managed a wide range of situations before the mission that linked us strongy together, and we have the great tendency of laughing things out, which helps to take a step back.

Today was full of successes: we completed the second full Teleop
session (and first in the planned configuration), Norbert observed the
first results of his radiations and music on plants experiments,

Gaspard managed to debug the EVA tracking app he is working on, I baked two delicious cakes, we realized the first long EVA with our spacesuit and Cerise’s counting on Aquapad were interesting today.

However, a disastrous event broke that series of achievements: Gaspard tried to prepare a corn bread, and he is definitely better at engineering than baking…