Journalist Report – March 1st

Crew 206 – 03/01/2019

Sol 5

Author: Auzou Benjamin, Journalist

"Music, Music"

The goal of the EVA of the morning was to climb to Hab Ridge to reach
Hab View North and enjoy a nice view on the station. With Cerise and
Gaspard, we faced the muddy slopes during an hour before reaching our goal.
The landscape up there was fantastic; every quarter turn I made around
me was the discovery of a new landscape, a new universe. I was
travelling from round and eroded rocks to sharp buttes, from an abrupt
plateau that reminded me of Monument Valley to a snowy mountain. That
was like if this place had been a draft for the creation of geologic
richness and diversity of this planet.

Since the beginning of our mission, music has a precious role, in
musical ambiance for life moments, sport sessions or experiments, to
relax before going to sleep or just to spend time and have fun. Everyone
shares its favorite playlist, its favorite music style.

We offer you a musical selection, composed of six songs, one for each of
us, that we listened, discovered or rediscovered during the beginning of
the mission.

-Come Together, The Beatles
"This music has the power to give me back energy even in fatigue
moments, so that it’s difficult for me to not singing. It’s a perfect
song to resist fatigue or boredom moments, but really for my crewmates’
ears."

-Papa loves Mambo, Perry Como
"Listened during reports writing, this song was relaxing and catchy for
the crew, that was a good moment for me and the rest of the team!"

-Mr Brightside, The Killers
"This song represents the beginning of my adventure in loving english
rock, as it is the first song I actually recall loving. I remember with
remarkable details the first time I heard it in my brother’s room when I
was 6. Mr Brightside was played randomly yesterday evening in the
playlist of an other crew member."

– Contact, Daft Punk
"When I listen to this music, it feels like I am with the astronauts, on
their way to space. It gives me goose bumps listening to the beats and
to the rocket taking off, but also thinking of what they’ve achieved."

– Sleepless Nights, FM Attack
"This title moves me to another place temporarily, on a sunny beach or
on the shore of a calm and peaceful lake. It helps me concentrate, find
energy and motivation to work on any task. Even for a short time, it
helps me continue for a while."

– Banana Pancakes, Jack Johnson
"For some reason, this song never fails to remind me of our little trips
to the beach in family when I was a kid. Playing it during the mission,
so far away from those moments, made me feel almost at home again, and
as always, it also filled me with happiness and good memories."

Journalist Report – February 28th

Crew 206 – 02/28/2019

Sol 4

Author: Auzou Benjamin, Journalist

"What the hell on Earth is going on?”

On their way to White Rock Canyon, the EVA team stumbled upon a Coke bottle. In the middle of a Martian hiking, Norbert, Jérémy, Aurélien, and Cerise are sent back on Earth.

The planet is endangered, with limited resources, and we continue to pollute and threaten her, even if we are all aware of the danger. Here in the MDRS, we are monitoring our water consumption, our trashes and our energy consumption. For now 4 days we have been following a simple, but healthy and sustainable way of life. We realized that our habits are greedy on resources, on water, on energy. And that it is not so complicated to change and adopt better ones. Even if we want to send humans to Mars, or to the Moon, Earth is and will stay our cradle and our home and we all have the duty to protect her!

Countries have the duty to adopt laws to promote ecology and sustainable development, companies have the duty to use wisely their energies and resources, and at our scale with have the duty to adopt a sustainable way of life. We all have this duty for us, for our children and for all humanity.

In the same time in the Hab, Gaspard and I choose to prepare a surprise olive bread for the crew’s lunch. Unfortunately, that first try was very different from the texture of French baguettes, but everybody loved the taste and it was a huge pleasure to feel a little bit like in France.

After lunch, everybody in the Hab chose to take a nap before the beginning of the human factors experiments. Sadly, both versions of TELEOP experiment failed today: the little rover faced connection issues and the computer of the digital version ran out of battery, with a broken charger. This experiment matters a lot for all of us, especially for Jérémy and the rest of the afternoon was very difficult for us.

The good news of the day came from Cerise’s water monitoring. Yesterday, the results seemed threatening. After an exchange with the research team, the comparison database that she was using was the one dedicated to space, and to Thomas Pesquet’s Aquapad experiment on the ISS. With the correct database, the water quality is not perfect, but safe to drink and not infected.

After the disappointment of the afternoon, we all need a distraction. For that, Norbert brought us some fresh carrots from the Green-Hab for the dinner and we decided to watch an episode of Nat Geo’s Mars TV show.

Journalist Report – February 27th

Crew 206 – 02/27/2019

Sol 3

Author : Auzou Benjamin, Journalist

"Martian Excursion"

We are born to explore; since the dawn of humanity, humans never stopped
to explore new places. The first humans settled to all five continents,
the navigators of the XVth century sailed all seas, the astronauts of
the XXth century flew to space. Today was an exploration day on Mars !
The team of the EVA (Aurélien, Norbert, Gaspard and I) rode the rovers
to the Moons area. We walked about an hour on the muddy and slippery
slopes of the White and Grey Moons, following the steps of Norbert, our
scout of the day, under the wise supervision of the EVA leader Aurélien.

To avoid fatigue after lunch, I visited Norbert in the Green-Hab and
helped him taking care of radishes and carrots while some others were
taking a nap. Back in the Hab, Aurélien was waiting for us all to show
us his first night observation : Orion’s Nebula.

This afternoon we tested our own analog spacesuit in the MDRS for the
first time. This project was born in September 2017, when we first heard
about the MDRS and decided to apply to a rotation. We worked since that
moment on the conception and fabrication of this spacesuit. That’s why
we are happy to see this project concretise here. The prototype is far
from what we expected but we are focused on our goal to take some of us
in EVA with this suit and we will make all changes and adjustments
needed to reach it.

Today we had the first results of our strict water monitoring. And this
is a huge improvement compared to the monitoring of crew 189, the last
mission of ISAE-SUPAERO students. For Sol 2, the total consumption is
77.4 liters. The Green-Hab is the first source of consumption with 41%,
then come drinking water with 25%, the flushes with 13%, cooking water
and dishes water with 5% and 6%. The last 8% are unmeasured and come
from leaks or flushes volume uncertainties. In comparison, the average
unmeasured water for crew 189 was 37% of total consumption.

For more than a year, we worked together on the preparation of this
mission. We passed through happy and bad moments, funny talks and long
crisis meetings. But now we are here, on Mars, and we are like a family,
forged by our common passion for space exploration, our interventions
with young students and this mission. What we are achieving now is
exciting and fulfilling !

Journalist Report – February 26th

Crew 206 – 02/26/2019

Sol 2

Author : Auzou Benjamin, Journalist

“La Vie En Rouge”

At the precise moment my feet touched the Martian ground, and my eyes raised up to the sky, the time was liked stopped in front of me. There are incredible places that challenge our imagination, with their shapes, their reliefs, their colors. The Martian desert I had the chance to admire this morning is one of those. In front of this marvelous theater, I wish I had the talent of Picasso, Monet or Turner to capture
that precise moment, that sky, that landscape only a painting can give back the magnificence.

But this EVA had above all a scientific goal: deploy the LOAC (an aerosol counter) and the weather station. It was my first EVA, along with Cerise, Jérémy and Gaspard, on the rovers Curiosity and Opportunity. Quite funny that not so long ago, in 2018, they were the only two active “beings” at the surface of Mars.

Aurélien, HabCom of the day, helped us to spend the five minutes of the depressurization with a musical ambiance: La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf. The words to describe this day came directly to me: La Vie en Rouge.
After the concentration and the rigor of the EVA, a surprise were waiting for us inside: a pizza crust prepared by Aurélien, while Norbert was bringing his harvest : basil, sage and parsley, in order to give a providential freshness to the meal. We shared two pizzas that we named Verde and Roja. Aurélien and Norbert logically take the head of the Martian food contest.

Then the afternoon was the first one of a routine that will last all through the mission with both human factors experiments: rover driving and virtual reality.

The Sun is falling down on Mars, giving its last colors to the landscape, before putting it in obscurity and let the stars shine in the pure sky. I glance at the horizon, keeping that moment in my memory for ever, today, I walked on Mars.

Journalist Report – February 26th

Crew 206 – 02/26/2019

Sol 2

Author : Auzou Benjamin, Journalist

“La Vie En Rouge”

At the precise moment my feet touched the Martian ground, and my eyes raised up to the sky, the time was liked stopped in front of me. There are incredible places that challenge our imagination, with their shapes, their reliefs, their colors. The Martian desert I had the chance to admire this morning is one of those. In front of this marvelous theater, I the talent of Picasso, Monet or Turner to capture that precise moment, that sky, that landscape only a painting can give back the magnificence.

But this EVA had above all a scientific goal: deploy the LOAC (an aerosol counter) and the weather station. It was my first EVA, along with Cerise, Jérémy and Gaspard, on the rovers Curiosity and Opportunity. Quite funny that not so long ago, in 2018, they were the only two active “beings” at the surface of Mars.

Aurélien, HabCom of the day, helped us to spend the five minutes of the depressurization with a musical ambiance: La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf. The words to describe this day came directly to me: La Vie en Rouge.
After the concentration and the rigor of the EVA, a surprise were waiting for us inside: a pizza crust prepared by Aurélien, while Norbert was bringing his harvest : basil, soy and parsley, in order to give a providential freshness to the meal. We shared two pizzas that we named Verde and Roja. Aurélien and Norbert logically take the head of the Martian food contest.

Then the afternoon was the first one of a routine that will last all through the mission with both human factors experiments: rover driving and virtual reality.

The Sun is falling down on Mars, giving its last colors to the landscape, before putting it in obscurity and let the stars shine in the pure sky. I glance at the horizon, keeping that moment in my memory for ever, today, I walked on Mars.

style=”color:black”>Journalist Report Feb 25th

Crew 206 – 02/25/2019

Sol 1

Author : Auzou Benjamin, Journalist

Title : "Good Morning Mars !"

0847 : The airlock opens, and the crew 206 is in front of a whole new world to explore : Mars.

The marswalkers of the day, Jérémy, Cerise, Aurélien and Norbert leaved the Hab to explore the surroundings of the station and to find a proper place for the LOAC, an experiment we will deploy tomorrow.

But above all that was for three of them their first steps on the Red Planet. I think they’re better than me to describe the feelings they had when they touched the martian ground for the first time.

"This first EVA was a really special and exciting moment. Everything went good, and I just want to go again on EVA !" – Norbert

"I really felt like it was my first step on Mars, and it is an

amazing feeling." – Cerise

"This was an exiting moment. The team was super pro and it made the

experience amazing" – Aurélien

Before that, the morning was really busy. We woke up very early in order to begin the EVA at 0830 so that our 4 marswalkers avoid the mud. We beginned the day with a sport session and then we prepared our first martian pancakes to bear the morning’s program. I was among the

three members of the crew that followed the intense session, seven different exercices during fourteen minutes, it was hard, especially the push-ups. However it is important to stay active, and our daily performances are monitored by our Commander.

During the EVA, I was assigned by Norbert to take care of the Green Hab. That place is amazingly calm and peaceful. I watered all the plants : tomatoes, basil, cress, radishes; they need a lot of water, 8 liters this morning for the whole Green-Hab but they worth it !

Our Astronomer Aurélien started his first observations of the sun. This is primordial for us on Mars, without a decent atmosphere, the solar radiations are a serious danger !

Today was also the beginning for three experiments : Norbert’s radishes are now planted, Cerise took some samples of the drinking water and the whole crew spend fifteen minutes on our Virtual Reality experiment under a heart monitoring : half of us watching entertaining

videos and the other half as witness subjects.

The Hab is now our home, and we continue to make it better and ours. The main improvement of the day is a live plan of the sol displayed in the hab, detailling in real time the tasks for each of us, but also our data consumption.

After this day of hard work, we all need some time for us to rest and decompress. That’s why we chose to watch a movie together tonight : Le Grand Bazar by Les Charlots, a French comedy. That’s my suggestion, I’ll tell you tomorrow if everybody liked it.

Journalist Report – February 24th

Sol 0

Author : Benjamin Auzou, Journalist

Title : "Our new Home"

The six of us woke up after a difficult night in the Science Dome,
because of the lack of comfort but above all because of our excitation
to begin our mission. The whole crew chose to begin the day with a
sport session ! That was a difficult session for some of us, but we
all needed that to wake up and prepare the three weeks of mission
ahead of us.

At 0800 the crew 205 left the Hab to return to their five countries.
Natalia, Dave, Nathan, Maria, Ghenim, Daniel, Hannah and Veronica left
us the station after a full afternoon of training yesterday. We wish
you a good continuation ! You’ve done a good job here in the MDRS,
even if the martian weather wasn’t clement with you. We will continue
to hold the station well and make great science here on Mars !

Then we spend the whole morning taking our marks in the Hab, we took
our first breakfast composed of milk and scrambled eggs. We chose our
rooms, our tiny zones of privacy in the Hab.

For the rest of the day, waiting for Atila to train us, we all worked
on our experiments or on the Hab’s organization :
Norbert, our GreenHab Officer, spend a lot of time in the GreenHab to
discover the plants in here and understand their needs. Cerise, our
crew Biologist and Health and Safety Officer tested everything in the
Campus to assure our safety : alarms, fire extinguishers, medical
supplies and radios. Gaspard, our engineer and the "hacker" of the
team tackled the internet consumption of our devices to avoid data
losses (we only used 100MB up to this time!). In the same time,
Aurélien and I organized in the kitchen the food supplies that arrived
with us. And Jérémy, Commander of our mission prepared all the
material necessary to follow our water consumption.

At 1430 pm, Atila arrived to train us with the rovers and gave us his
last advice.

We had a long discussion on our goals for the mission. And that was
the moment to close the airlock door and begin our simulation.

I am Benjamin, journalist of the crew 206, million of kilometers away
from Earth, in the Mars Desert Research Station. The weather here is
beautiful, even if the soil is still damaged by the storm that stroke
the crew 205’s mission. My crew and I will sleep well after this
tiring day. I am in a hurry to wake up tomorrow to start experiments
and Extravehicular Activities, to live the Martian Dream.

Journalist Report – February 23rd

Crew 205 Crew Journalist Report 23-FEB-2019 Sol 12

Author: Maria Grulich

Title: “North Ridge for the Last Time and Bienvenue Crew 206”

The time flies and after watching our outreach videos yesterday altogether we realized what we achieved. Two weeks ago, we started our journey and today we are already welcoming crew 206.

One particular place was bugging us, and it was a heartfelt wish from half of the crew to go to the place we tried to reach 3 times unsuccessfully: The North Ridge. So, there we went to check this off our bucket list.

After the final clean-up, most of us went up the North Ridge and went for a walk following the track of mountain lions that we saw in the snow. It led us all the way to the top and further north to the top of the North Ridge which welcomed us with an amazing view!

On the top of North Ridge we found the floor covered in fossil shells like the ones we found the other day near Grey Moon, which was amazing for the crew members who could not join that EVA!

Everyone picked up some souvenirs for home! We followed the mountains to redo the pictures we took with the “Fellowship of Mars” and the way down we half walked or slid down the hill without many problems. Once we came back from our hike, Crew 206 had just arrived and we welcomed them with hot soup and coffee!

The afternoon will be used to train the new crew and take a couple of pictures.

It was a great time thanks to MDRS, Atila, David and Mission Control and anyone who followed us through our rotation! You guys are awesome! Stay tuned for our outreach videos soon to come, which we promise will be the greatest science videos you will see this year! We will return to our five different countries around the world!

Ad Astra!

Journalist Report – February 22nd

Crew 205 Crew Journalist Report 22-FEB-2019 Sol 12

Author: Maria Grulich

Title: “I will survive with unreasonably sized pancakes”

Two weeks have passed. Two weeks of EVAs, laughter, intercultural conversations, puzzles and a lot of coffee and large pancake in American style.

The International Emerging Space Leaders Crew 205 finished the simulation at 1700 today.

What would you do on your last day on Mars? We actually used it to clean the hab. All Crew- Heinzelmännchen were busy vacuuming, mobbing, brushing or packing. As a reward we got mac and cheese cooked deliciously as always from Hannah. The crew journalist Maria also used the time to take the official crew pictures and finishing up the outreach project which will have its glorious premiere tonight exclusively for MDRS. The commander Natalia was busy reviewing and finalizing the mission summary. From 8 strangers who have barely met before we became a team and our friendships will survive past Mars.

The Hab is blinking and the outside is calling so at 1700 sharp the crew members went outside for a little walk around the Hab as far as the ground conditions allowed.

We’d just like to wish a final, special thanks to some of the great people and Martians that have helped us during our time here.

To Hannah, for keeping the crew incredibly well fed, reading an entire cookbook, and generally giving us all the soul and spirit to enjoy our time here to the fullest

To David and Atila for being our mysterious guardian angels, and always appearing out of the fog over the hills to fix the Hab when we couldn’t.

It was a great experience for everyone and we will always remember our two weeks on Mars.

We want to leave you with our favorite song:

I will survive….

Ad Astra!

Journalist Report – February 21st

Crew 205 Crew Journalist Report 21-FEB-2019 Sol 11

Author: Daniel Robson

Title: “The Happy Little Elves – Hard at Work in their Wintery Workshop”

For those regular readers of the exploits and adventures of Crew 205, we are delighted to tell you that the “Great Jigsaw Puzzle of Sol 9 and 10” was eventually completed last night before bed! Good luck to any future crews that open that Pandora’s box…if you can find it.

The morning began with the crew waking up to a fresh, thick covering of Martian white salt deposit. We are certainly living on a White Mars! While not the Antarctic “Mars”, ours is definitely “Mars” but it’s just white today. Over a leisurely breakfast, the crew discussed tasks for the day, including preparing for the end of our mission and the arrival of the replacement crew – only days away!

The outer modules on our base were swept and mopped and all our equipment so perilously shipped from Earth began to be packed away. Back in the Hab many of the crew began preparing our final Mission Summary and the various other documents we intend to fill with the experiences, data, science, stories, and legends of our time here, out on our own little World.

Nathan, the crew’s GreenHab Officer, has now accepted the fate of his second pair of lost headphones and has now moved onto guarding his third pair with the reverence of a Holy Relic. Natalia, returning to her original role of Commander, and Daniel the HSO, both feared they had fallen to the same curse for a few minutes before finding theirs again.

Hannah has once again outdone herself with cooking today, having made an amazing looking spread of pizza’s and chicken and biscuit crackers for lunch, all garnished with basil from the GreenHab, olive oil, and squeezy cheese. Our multinational crew has the best of all worlds, both in terms of countries and planets!

After lunch, the work began in earnest on our Mission Summary. Like the well-oiled machine our team has proven itself to be, we all jumped at our allocated sections, writing up 11 Sol’s worth of information throughout the afternoon. In fact, we were so successful, we’ve actually had to spend some of tonight cutting it back down to length!

Nathan, Veronica, and Daniel also had a chance this afternoon to take some additional outreach photos for their clubs and groups across the world, another fine example of crew camaraderie and bonding after yesterday’s ceremonial t-shirt swap between the University of Leicester and Florida Institute of Technology.

For dinner (continuing the semi-accidental Italian theme of today) we had a scrumptious pesto pasta, again prepared lovingly by Hannah and her brand new homemade chef’s hat. We’ve heard our replacement crew are French so we do hope they approve of the touch.

Maria, the crew journalist has been working incredibly hard at editing and finalizing the crew videos so that we have some to release before our mission home, and also so we can have a group viewing session together on our last night. Her dedication to the art and outreach of science has given the Author a chance to express his more creative side and write this report (although as you may have noted Santa’s little elves don’t make a direct appearance in this issue).

Ghanim the crew astronomer has been compounded by nights of either blizzards and clouds or a clear night with a massive low hanging Moon causing the rolling landscape around our home to glisten from horizon to horizon and frame the stars in an un-Earthly glow. Unfortunately for him and his telescope, such beauty isn’t very good for the delicate optics, and he has been unable to get the observation of the Orion Nebula he has been after for days now.

Tonight (after the jigsaw has been completed and then buried in one of the under-chair storage containers never to challenge our crew again), we intend to try playing a few games such as dominos or possibly have a rematch of Space Chess. As I’m writing this we’re also trying to work out what each crew member’s catchphrase has been for the mission, and while it might not be useful enough for the Mission Summary we’re having fun with it anyway. Seeing as we’ve also now cracked the code for how to view American DVD’s on a European laptop, we may give Apollo 13 another go.

Hoping the World we are coming home too soon are having a pleasant night, and enjoying the weather, however bleak and beautiful it may be.

Ad Astra!