Journalist Report – January 20th



[Sol 08]

[Elysium] [Eng]

It is better to try than keep wanting it forever. Last night we tried to watch the movie The Martian with burned popcorn cornered in the sofas to avoid the cold. With the lights off and after ten minutes a guttural sound coming from the sleeping crew interrupted the The Martian’s dialogues. An hour later there was only one survivor left.

Today in Sol 8 the light of our star didn´t wake us up in the morning because clouds darkened the sky and strong winds brought the visit of small drops to our red lands. We did a medium intensity exercise routine and watched the feet of a crew member fly through the air due to her lack of vision when she doesn´t wear glasses.

After breakfast cereal and some juice the day was dedicated to the personal work of each one but especially to the interaction of the crew.

Fortunately for our stomachs and spirits today we receive a small refill of our favorite food packages on Mars. We already thought about how to use it, meat pizza on the last day and food with more portions during the week that remains for us here. Thanks from everyone.

It is said that we are from the land that sees us grow and learn. Here there is no day, hour or second in which we do not share and cultivate new thoughts combined by the variety of cultures that formed us. It was two hours of debate on the pillars and controversial issues of humanity that are still taboo on Earth.

Every decision we have made in our lives has led us to this trip. At 1.7 astronomical units of house is where we finally find the deep silence, a silence that while we walk by the tunnels of the habitat or observe the stars at night makes us think about our life when we return. Will it change? Or during those five minutes before we can leave the habitat wearing our spacesuit, minutes that we enjoy with ourselves and make us reflect and value daily life, colors, family, sounds and flavors. These are mixed feelings.

A few minutes ago the crew returned to the habitat from the tunnels with the announcement of one of the officers about small snowflakes falling on Mars over our habitat. It forced us to satisfy our curiosity until we felt the zero degrees of this desert

Mars is red, but it’s cold.

LATAM II will continue to inform

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Journalist Report – January 19th

Crew 187 Journalist Report 19JAN2018

Sol 07
The Martian

When we lived in Peru, Colombia, and Mexico, the days passed like simple hours where our biggest worries have no place on Mars. Since we arrived on this planet we realized that the food would be better than expected, in large part by our chef. But today in the morning we discovered that our bags and cans of food are disappearing faster and faster.

Although according to calculations we will manage to keep our stomachs almost full before having to return to home. If there is one thing we are sure of, it is that when we will be back in our home, we will have learned to value much more what we have because on Mars we take advantage of every grain of rice even the last. It is possible that in the next few days we use a system of tasks and chocolate exchange for food rations.

We know that with our provisions we can still give ourselves certain luxuries such as continuing to eat meat for six days, being able to make bread for another five and taking hot soups for the cold days that ahead.

We decided to divide the cupboard according to the food we can eat daily because, in fact, 80 percent of our conversations are about the food we could prepare and the desire for fast food we feel. The bascule already shows results in some of us.

The cold was also the protagonist in the seventh Sol. It seemed that the energy systems would not be enough to sustain us for the rest of this day and the next. According to mission control, there is a high probability that rain and snow will be present in the area, so in Sol 8 we prefer to stay in the habitat to continue with the projects.

After an episode of approximately two Earth hours, we have managed to recharge our fuel tank in order to maintain electricity in the habitat. Balance: two crew members bathed in diesel for what of course they took advantage taking their respective shower.

Without success, we have been able to achieve the goal of watching movies at night. “With faith” today we can watch some film accompanied by popcorn or canchita although at the time we are already listening to a sound coming from our stomachs so we wait for the culinary delights of the crew scientist.

A week away from this desert planet we prefer not to think about how classic and boring our routines may seem. We miss you Earth, but not so much.

LATAM II will continue to inform.

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Sol 07
Misión rescate

Cuando vivíamos en Perú, Colombia y México los días pasaban como una sucesión de horas en donde nuestras mayores preocupaciones no tienen cabida en Marte. Desde que llegamos a este planeta nos dimos cuenta que la comida sería mejor de lo esperada, en gran parte por nuestros cocineros. Pero hoy por la mañana hemos descubierto que nuestras bolsas y latas de comida desaparecen cada vez más rápido.
Aunque según cálculos lograremos mantener nuestros estómagos casi llenos antes de tener que volver. Si de algo estamos seguros es que cuando estemos de vuelta en nuestro hogar es que habremos aprendido a valorar mucho más lo que tenemos porque en Marte hasta el último grano de arroz hemos aprovechado. Es posible que los próximos días se cree un sistema de trueque de tareas y chocolate a cambio de raciones de comida.

Sabemos que con nuestras provisiones aún podemos darnos ciertos lujos como seguir comiendo carne durante seis días, poder hacer pan durante otros cinco y tomar sopas calientes para los días fríos que se avecinan.

Decidimos dividir la alacena de acuerdo a la comida que podemos ingerir diariamente porque a decir verdad el 80 por ciento de nuestras conversaciones tratan sobre la comida que podríamos preparar y el deseo por la comida rápida que sentimos. La báscula ya presenta resultados en algunos.

El frío también fue protagonista en el séptimo sol. Parecía que los sistemas de energía no serían suficientes para mantenernos durante el resto de este día y el siguiente. Según control de misión existen grandes probabilidades de que la lluvia y nieve se haga presente en la zona por lo que en Sol 8 preferimos resguardarnos en el hábitat para continuar con los proyectos.

Luego de un episodio de aproximadamente dos horas terrestres hemos logrado recargar nuestro tanque de combustible para poder mantener la electricidad en el hábitat. Saldo: dos tripulantes bañados en diésel que por supuesto aprovecharon su respectiva ducha.

Sin éxito hemos podido cumplir el objetivo de ver películas por la noche. “Con fe” el día de hoy podremos mirar algún filme acompañado de palomitas o canchita aunque en estos momentos y escuchando un sonido proveniente de nuestros estómagos ya esperamos las delicias culinarias del crew scientist.

A una semana de abandonar este planeta desierto preferimos no pensar en lo clásicas y aburridas que podrán parecernos nuestras rutinas ahora. Te extrañamos Tierra, pero no tanto.

LATAM II continuará informando.

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Journalist Report – January 18th

Sol 06
Road to El Dorado

When we lived on Earth the movies always showed the Italian chef throwing the pizza through the air looking like it is possible with moderate difficulty. Pizza with chicken, meat, and cheese is possible on Mars, but could we call it homemade? What is our home now?

After a thorough survey of the crew, we found that family, friends, manners, pets, and food have become part of the constant thoughts before closing our eyes at night. Although on the other hand and at the same time the Earth so far has left us free to habit this planet and again, what is our home now?

But these landscapes and conditions cannot be wasted so for the second time since our ship crossed the Martian skies a team of our astronauts has come out to conquer an unnamed canyon in these lands for which we intend to name as Latin American legend, a mystical and mythological city that would awaken the curiosity of visitors, El Dorado.

Our Dorado was more than a rock formation and showed evidence of life in ways that according to recent studies are physically similar to what on Earth is known as cougars and deer. We do not want to go ahead but it could have been a lunch scene in the afternoon. Adrenaline was in the air. However, the crew acted cautiously and left the site to avoid close encounters of the third type

After a long day the somewhat tired crew has worked all afternoon in their respective areas to advance the projects and meet their objectives so that when the day to return to the blue planet come, we can return victorious and just as Earthlings and now Martians.

LATAM II will continue to inform.

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Sol 06
El camino hacia El Dorado

Cuando vivíamos en la Tierra las películas siempre mostraban a los chef italianos lanzando la masa de pizza por los aires pareciendo que el giro se lograra con una dificultad moderada. La pizza de pollo, carne y queso es posible en Marte aunque ¿podríamos llamarla casera? Es decir, ¿cuál es nuestro hogar ahora?

Después de una encuesta exhaustiva a la tripulación hemos encontrado que la familia, amigos, costumbres, mascotas y comida se han vuelto parte de los pensamientos constantes antes de cerrar los ojos por la noche. Aunque por otro lado y al mismo tiempo la Tierra tan lejana nos ha dejado libres para habitar este planeta y de nuevo, ¿cuál es nuestro hogar ahora?

Pero estos paisajes y condiciones no pueden desperdiciarse así que por segunda vez desde que nuestra nave atravesó los cielos marcianos un equipo de nuestros astronautas han salido a la conquista de un cañón sin nombre en estas tierras para el cual tenemos la intención de nombrar como una leyenda latinoamericana, una ciudad mística y mitológica que despertara la curiosidad de los visitantes, El Dorado.

Nuestro Dorado resultó más que una formación rocosa y nos mostró evidencia de vida de formas que según recientes estudios son físicamente parecidas a lo que en la Tierra se conoce como pumas y ciervos. No queremos adelantarnos pero podría haberse tratado de una escena de almuerzo por la tarde. La adrenalina estaba en el aire. No obstante la tripulación actuó cautelosamente y se retiró del lugar para evitar encuentros cercanos del tercer tipo

Luego de un largo día la tripulación un tanto cansada ha trabajado toda la tarde en sus respectivas áreas para adelantar los pendientes y cumplir sus objetivos para que cuando llegue el día de volver al planeta azul podamos regresar victoriosos, igual de terrícolas y ahora marcianos.

LATAM II continuará informando.

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Journalist Report – January 17th

Crew 187 Journalist Report – 17JAN2018


[Sol 05]

[Apollo 18]

Have you ever imagined that millions of kilometers away from Earth on a desert planet within a small research station where seven people live coincidentally one of them would celebrate 24 laps to the Sun? It’s possible.

Today there was no exercise routine but instead there was singing, congratulations and hugs combined with a good dose of milk with coffee and dehydrated egg with canned ham. The birthday girl thanks her flower, chocolates and Martian passport to her new family.

Since the morning, the entire crew has worked in their personal research projects and to carrying out a series of cognitive tests that apparently have caused momentary frustration in some people in the crew. To remember sequences of figures of lions, flowers and umbrellas is difficult, although after all we are already on Mars.

In the greenhab the work doesn´t stop and the dirty suit full of dust of our officer knows it, who by the way also has found in the Porg a new friend who accompanies him to take care of the plants. There we have noticed that beans are appearing and that in one of the plants have started to grow three small tomatoes, so, hopefully, future crews can prepare a good tomato puree.

And speaking of tomato puree and how functional it could be in the habitat, the 187 crew has an answer: a lot. We came to this conclusion after experiencing another of the culinary wonders of the best chef on Mars, our crew scientist who prepared a delicious western dish – very common in fast food restaurants in Hanksville, a small town near some place that simulate our new planet-better known as hamburgers. They have literally been the most spectacular homemade hamburgers prepared with powdered meat and dehydrated cheese that may exist in the universe.

The night is upon us and what remains of the sol will be used in eating a birthday pizza and watch the classic movie October Sky to remember that even in the least expected place at the least planned time there are dreams and goals of young people who look for answers in the sky. And here we are.

LATAM II will continue to inform.

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Journalist Report – January 16th


Sol 04

Planet of the Apes

Yesterday night didn´t end with movies and popcorn. The habitat became a forum for discussion and opinion where the seven crew members tried to describe the observable universe in all its facets. The conversation went from mysticism to modern physics and then to biology and genetics to end up trying to describe the nature of humanity. Apparently one third of the earth’s gravity has caused the crew’s ideas to fly better.

Today our Sun 4 started ten minutes earlier, 7:13 in the morning and the mats were already on the ground floor of our new home so that our XO made us wake up to the rhythm of 128 bpm as soundtrack.

Two of our Mars mission experiments require soil samples so four crew members went out to collect more than ten kilograms of Martian soil at the same time that our crew scientist tested parts of his space suit made on Earth in the best laboratories of the world and by his own hands. EVA successful, the ziplock bags are almost over.

Commander and journalist visited the solar observatory to find sunspots and some small coronal mass ejections. Who would have thought that the orange circle we see in our telescope would give life to our home millions of years ago but at the same time it seem so insignificant in the vast universe among other billions of stars bigger, smaller, hot or cold.

To summarize our feeling with breakfast, lunch and dinner we can say that we had never before enjoyed healthy food and those little details like a hot chocolate with marshmallows or a homemade bread after a full day of work. The Porg seems happy stealing part of our food ration, luckily our rocket contained enough provisions.

The day concludes with many ideas. Everyone knows their situation, their country of origin and their environment, but if there is one thing we are sure is that borders, titles and names often distance the true success of humanity. And as a clear example, we are here today in red lands representing and speaking for Latin America when nobody ever imagined that it would be possible.

Tomorrow in our Sun 5 a full day of research awaits for us to continue work in our projects although we certainly expect Martian cake.

LATAM II will continue to inform.

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Journalist Report – January 15th

[Sol 03]

[The Force Awakens]

07:20 in the morning on the first floor of the habitat. Apparently someone woke up late but it didn´t stop us from doing the first exercise routine in days since we get Mars. Stretches, flexibility and some strength to start Sol 3. Then a breakfast made of orange and dried egg that looked like a yellow paste. The cooker promises to give it some more flavor tomorrow.

The day of the first Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) for all Crew 187 arrived. Armed with our suits, helmets, oxygen tanks, gloves, boots and communication system the seven earthlings traveled to the nearby mountains and valleys with their vehicles to discover red lands and rocky horizons that make anyone sigh. Are we really on Mars? I wish everyone could see what we do.

When we walk outside it is impossible not to see in the sky those lines caused by the meteorites that cross the sky of the red planet that remind us of the stelae of the planes that fly in our home. Still nothing can be compared with the views that gave us the small Spark drone that traveled with us.

Then more than one hour outside for each expedition ended with a few minutes in the pressurization chamber and a pain in the back and shoulders of our XO that guided both EVAs. Objectives met. Success in the first EVA of Crew 187.

Hungry and tired we beg for food to our chefs who prepared rice with cheese and meat that reminded our Mexican crew members of a certain typical dish prepared with tortillas. Everyone asked for double ration but it was impossible because this will be our dinner.

After lunch we received a visit from the Habitat Director to conclude to understand and know the map of the area surrounding the habitat. There are many roads, many areas and many possibilities. We already have some expeditions in mind that will surely give us large amounts of information. Tomorrow four crew members will go to EVA to collect 15 kilograms of samples of analogue ground for their experiments.

With the night over us and about to conclude the activities we plan to have our first movies night with popcorn. It should be noted that get bored is not an option in the habitat with board games, space chess and more than 50 films for all tastes.

Those fans of space films will understand our excitement when we realize that a small Porg has nested in the EVA Officer’s bedroom. From now on, not only Earth life live in the habitat but also from planet Crait.

A sea of stars has arrived and now it covers us in this third night sleeping in our new home for another 13 nights surrounded by Martian red colour everywhere you see. LATAM II will continue to inform.

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Picture of the day:

518800_425700 15Jan2018 Red Planet.jpg

Journalist Report – January 14th

[Sol 02] [Interstellar]

The day began with the farewell and boarding of the Crew 186 in their spaceship to our planet and old sweet home, Earth. From this dawn we became Martians coming from distant lands between each other: Peru, Colombia and Mexico, but in this desert planet we only represent the Earth and some of its forms of life.

We grew up thinking that astronauts only eat tubes of dehydrated food but on this trip to Mars we discovered that macaroni with cheese, tuna and chocolate cookies will also be part of our diet. Important: We receive food from the Russian Space Food Laboratory, thank you.

In our arrival to the habitat we have settled in our small rooms that barely reach a few square meters that daily will see us sleeping while thousands of stars shine in the sky and a body similar to the satellite of the Earth rises between the Martian mountains illuminating together with the Sun our mornings.

Today the habitat director showed us every corner of the station and the operation. Also we use of Spirit, Curiosity, Deimos, the Red ATV and the three Blue 350 vehicles to explore some roads and nearby lands. We also were showed the Science Lab and the solar observatory for in the next few days be able to use them.

When we returned to the habitat we made our first pressurization test where for five minutes we locked ourselves in the airlock to discuss which songs will be the ones that relax us during the minutes that the process will take. Apparently telling jokes will also be allowed.

Finally the night fell and after writing the reports and planning the activities of the next day we will sit down to eat pancakes and food experiments as well as continue knowing the pleasures and expectations of each crew member.

We hope to start our first EVA tomorrow morning and use our suits along with the helmets to train but not without first performing a morning exercise routine and taking a nutritious breakfast.

LATAM II will continue to inform.

Tania Robles, MDRS Crew 187 Journalist

Journalist Report – January 13th

[Sol 13] [The
Final Countdown]

The team awoke to the song: “The Pioneers of Mars” and to the exciting news of the safe arrival of crew 187 on this desert world. After one final pancake breakfast we threw ourselves into our cleaning duties, eager to make a fine impression as the previous team had with us. When our colleagues arrived in the early afternoon with their pressurized rover we had only just finished preparing the habitat for them. There was a short break to introduce ourselves, but the new team was excited to learn the ropes of maintaining the habitat. We organized ourselves into pairs and taught them the quirks of each of the hab’s systems.

With familiarization and photos out of the way, we plan to spend the evening socializing with the new crew over dinner and some card games. Overnight we will travel to the ascent vehicle and begin preparations for launch at dawn. As such, this will be my last update until we reach orbit.

It is said that the 4 stages of teamwork are forming, storming, norming, and performing. Over the past mission I have seen our team pass through each of these stages and though circumstances have been tough at times, I can say with confidence that we leave this world more capable, humorous, considerate, and farseeing than the people we came as. The soaring mesas, grand vistas, and infinite textures of this remote planet have changed us. But our greatest hope is that we have in turn changed it. To make what was a desolate, frozen expanse more livable, meaningful, and ultimately more human: this is the goal of humankind’s voyage to Mars, and the goal, perhaps, of our journey to the stars.

We wish Crew 187 all the best for their mission. For those on Earth, we would like to thank the legions of support personnel for making this grand adventure possible. With luck, we will be seeing you all soon!

Justin Mansell, MDRS Crew 186 Journalist

P.S. Photos attached. Photo of the day: 13Jan2018 Crew186-187 hand off.jpg

Journalist Report – January 12th

Sol 12 – Harvest

Today was our final EVA. A small team consisting of Melanie Grande (crew engineer), Sam Albert (health and safety officer), and myself, departed the habitat around 11 am and embarked on a long and bumpy drive out to Skyline Rim. We did not arrive until well past noon. What initially seemed like a row of jagged teeth along the western horizon soon grew into a towering mesa of red stone that commanded our admiration. It was a humbling vista.

Our purpose was to collect and analyze samples of shale on behalf of our geologist, Cesare Guariniello. To do so, Sam and Melanie ascended an escarpment to the layers of stone strata. Though their height was hardly even half that of the monolithic ridge, Sam reported that he was able to see all the way to the habitat. But given the long drive back, we couldn’t stay for long. By 2:30 pm we had returned to the habitat with only a short break along the way.

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew has been busy measuring the yield of Mark’s microgreens experiment. Though most of the crop was reserved for his experiment, a portion was kept for tonight’s meal. The whole team gathered early this evening to partake in the harvest of fresh radish, lettuce, dill, cilantro, and green beans. It will be the first fresh food we’ve had since the mission began. For the graduate students on the team, the wait has been even longer!

The meal will be one to savor, for it will be our last dinner in this habitat. Mission control confirms that the refueling of our ascent vehicle using in-situ resources has completed and that the vehicle registers nominal on all system checkouts. Tomorrow at noon our crew will depart the habitat, travel to the ascent vehicle, and prepare for launch at dawn on Sunday morning. It will be the culmination of our grand adventure to the Red Planet. But until then, a frenzy of cleaning and preparation awaits!

Justin Mansell, MDRS Crew 186 Journalist

P.S. Photos attached. Photo of the day: 515300_4251200 12Jan2018 Skyline Rim.jpg.
(Sorry for the huge photo, but it really is incredible. The credit goes to Melanie Grande for taking it!)

Journalist Report – January 9th

[Sol 9]

Another slow day at the hab. The crew awoke to frigid temperatures and a shroud of blowing Martian dust – our first sandstorm. Unwilling to test our luck in the tumultuous conditions, we immediately cancelled the planned EVA and have postponed it to tomorrow. Despite the storm, however, life at the habitat remains quite pleasant. The rarefied Martian wind is too tenuous to threaten our immediate safety and instead fosters a sense of coziness here. The crew enjoyed a television show after breakfast and has spent the day working, reading, and debating various topics. For those who participated in yesterday’s chilly EVA the downtime was certainly welcome.

By the late afternoon the dust had begun to clear and a robotic supply rover which landed earlier this week was able to complete its slow trek to the hab. After a quick excursion to obtain the supplies the crew delightfully unpacked a brand new bread maker and put it to use right away. At the time of writing the team is eagerly awaiting the results.

Justin Mansell, MDRS Crew 186 Journalist

P.S. Photos attached. Photo of the day: 09Jan2018 Crew mental health questionable.jpg