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

Journalist Report – December 20th

[Sol 2]
The least we can say is that Crew 185 had a busy day at MDRS! We woke up this morning at 7am, had a breakfast of cereales and homemade bread and then, we put on our spacesuits to do our daily engineering check. For the occasion, Arno wore a simulation spacesuit from the Association Planète Mars (the French chapter of the Mars Society) and Thibault wore the X-1 spacesuit prototype. We filled the water tank and verified that the station is doing well. It is!
Then Thibault, David and Ilaria did a walking EVA around the hab, in the region of Pooh’s Corner. They evaluated the geological potential in the area for future experiments and they hid two objects for an orientation experiment that we will do tomorrow. They walked about two kilometers. The weather was pretty warm but they achieved all their objectives on time.
After a nice lunch (salad with an apple cider dressing and pasta with small bites of saussage with tomato sauce), we visited the Greenhab for David to explain us how it works and what experiements he runs there. Then, John explained us how to use an ultrasound machine to make an anesthisia of the popliteal area (the region behind the knee). We practiced on a gel model and we will try to do it again (on model) without his help in few days. He will monitor how successful we will be.
The weather changed during the afternoon. It is now very windy outside. Mars might be white tomorrow according to weather forecast. We will see!
Greetings from the Red Planet,
Thibault, ExO and spacesuit engineer for the Crew 185

Journalist Report – December 19th

[Sol 1]
And we have landing! This morning, we arrived on Mars as expected and we began our mission, which will last until the 30th of December with the arrival of Crew 186. But right now, we are alone in MDRS and our crew is in a great shape and a dynamic mentality.
This morning, we began the day with an engineering check to verify that the generator, the rovers, the water system… were in a good condition. It was the first time with an EVA suit for Arno and David, guided by our experienced Commander Ilaria. The station is apparently doing well and we hope that it will keep working that way until the end of the mission.
After a common lunch, we did an important meeting to set up ou schedule for the upcoming days. Then, David went to the Greehab to move his experiences forward, while our spacesuit engineers repaired two of the EVA suits that had jammed ventilators. Right now, we have six functionnal suits for five people, which is promising!
After dinner, we will do a mindfulness training and meditation and we will work on the different experiments that we will implement and run. We also hope to be able to watch a (space) movie together.
Greetings from Mars,
Thibault, ExO and spacesuit engineer for the Crew 185

Journalist Report – December 14th

Crew 184 Journalist Report

Willie Schumann

15 December 2017

Title                            Singing the Mars Blues

Narrative                  We arrived almost two weeks ago on the red planet and things really start to align. The procedures in the habitat are very natural to us and our days consist of tasks and rituals and keep us busy. Our preparations for the EVA have become faster and more efficient every day. We now detect malfunctions of the equipment way before they become crucial and are prepared for any kind of circumstances.

Therefore it is a pity that today was our last EVA for a long time. There are other tasks, that are waiting for us in the weeks to come and the weather on Mars is supposed to become more severe and will keep us from further explorations. Surely the EVA’s were the highlights thus far for us on this new planet, but I am confident, that we will soon have the chance to explore the world outside of our habitat even more intense.

But there was no time for regrets, we got our Marsonaut Mojo on and were poised to enjoy our trip to the Martian surface today. Commander Horn and Science Officer Trivedi were leading the way to the Blue Hills today and we relied once again on our trustful rover Deimos. The sky was clear of clouds and the temperatures were really welcoming to us humans, as we like it rather a bit warmer.

Most of our roads very flat and had little elevation. We passed white salt-plains and always had the Blue Hills in our sight. Although it took as a little longer to reach our destination, we were always on top of our schedule. The Blue Hills marked the seventh and last location for Officer Trivedis Matryoshka project and brought a temporary halt to his scientific explorations on Mars.

When we reached our destination he quickly selected four designated excavation sites for geological stone probes and so we proceeded to collect samples. As a picture creator I can already read my fellow crewmembers well and have a feeling how they move and what their next step might be. Still it is difficult to catch up with them, because they have their scientific agenda they have to meet and there is little time for extra shots.

I find it really impressive that we managed to stretch to almost every corner of the Martian terrain that is accessible for us at the moment. I think in the next weeks and months we can work out an extensive plan how to go beyond the borders that are determine our existence on the red planet. I am very hopeful for this to happen.

On our way back Deimos proved to be a real hero. As our parking position at the Blue Hills was a bit wobbly I was pulling the hand break to secure the vehicle. When we started our way back home Trivedi and me forgot about this security action and drove on with the break in use. In a short span of maybe about five minutes our battery was drained from 80% to approximately 45%. Fortunately we discovered the decline early enough and put the break down.

From that point onwards it was a race with time. We were almost at the furthest point away from our habitat, than ever before and with the lowest account of energy. There was no other strategy than to try to get as far as possible and then to access the situation anew. With every mile the battery dropped lower and lower.

Even though we reached the main Cow Dung Road soon enough elevation became bigger and bigger challenges. I exited the rover and tried to push it over the little hills in the road. We were determined to get home, even if it would have meant, that we have to push Deimos home. All other rescue plans would have been to time consuming and would include too much communication with mission control.

By now we were really slow and hoped every turn around a hill would give view to our habitat. It still took an eternity but then we saw it and boy, coming home was never sweeter then today.

Effectively we were only five minutes behind our planned return to the base and finally we plugged in Deimos and gave our little hero his well-deserved rest. He is charged now with the finest batch of energy Mars has to offer.

Personal Logbook             I had the privilege to be on every single EVA in the past two weeks and it was a hell of a ride. Even though the intensity of wearing the suit and chasing after my protagonists were draining my energy at times the adrenaline of creating great pictures kept me going. I was always busy with the next picture opportunity ahead, preparations for the various cameras and stowing the equipment away. It was always a race with time and the caution not to leave anything behind. It was a constant battle between the things I wanted and the things that were possible, a real time evaluation of the respective situations at any given moment. It was one of the most challenging working environments of my life and one of the most beautiful and meaningful ones.

Thank you very much for your help and attention.

Willie Schumann, Journalist, Crew 184