Crew 184 Journalist Report
03 December 2017
Title First Steps
Narrative Today was the day, we walked the first time on Martian soil. But before our boots printed our profiles in the dusty ground, we had to learn how to survive. Meaning how to use our space suits properly and to stay always in touch with our crewmates.
We decided to split our crew in groups of three each, to have a short familiarization EVA. Commander Horn and Medical Officer Sczepaniak and me had the privilege to be in group one. The pole position also helped to clear some problems for the rest of the team. It took us some time to have all radios checked and synchronized and applied perfectly on our suits. The cameraman forgot to take his camera in all his euphoria into the preparation room. But there was no time for shame for yours truly, only time for EVA.
Our space helmets are certainly a piece of art. Quite unique in size and design, and clearly differentiable to other groundbreaking space missions in the past decades. Every era should have their iconic space suits and round and clear helmets define the era of humans on Mars. It takes two people two put the helmet and the oxygen container on the astronaut, which is clearly an effort. But it also increases the feeling of security; because it clearly has what the astronaut needs most – plenty of breathable air.
But it takes a little bit more to be able to go out of the habitat than just putting on a suit. To avoid the risk of decompressing our lungs we stayed twenty five minutes in the preparation room. We used this time to triple check our before we went into the airlock. This tiny chamber is the last thin border to the Martian environment. There we decompressed for another five minutes. The moment of opening this last door to adventure was beautiful, commander Horn opened the lock and the Martian sun welcomed us.
Yesterday night blew a hefty Martian storm over our habitat, so first thing we did was checking the premises for possible damage. We discovered nothing and jumped on our ATV’s, which we had extensively trained on. I had struggled with it before, but today it was a complete joy ride. Everything seemed in sync, as I was ever meant to be to ride on this surface.
Our plan was to explore the near surroundings and so we did. The ground was mainly perfectly even and we quickly distanced ourselves from our hab. The landscape got more surreal as we gained ground. Round shaped and sharp edged hills and rocks are sprinkled left and right of us. We stopped and climbed on the highest elevation point. I was surprised how easy we reached the peak. The surface is soft and gives enough grip to step up. On top it was a great opportunity to shoot some pictures to send home.
After we returned to the hab and a quick lunch I decided to join the second group for their first minutes. I thought it was a great chance to get some additional film footage. After everything was done I actually felt the exhaustion of the EVA’s. While I was out there the adrenaline kept me focused and going, because every new shot was a promise. But it was great to return to the hab, which turned to our home within just a few days. I never expected that, but the intensity of our endeavor seems to accelerate everything. Mars really makes every minute count and precious.
Personal Logbook I am exhausted, but very happy after this day with 1,5 EVA’s. While the first one was a proper one, I took the chance to film a few transition shots in the beginning of the EVA of our second group out on Mars.
There are challenges to film with the round helmet, but I surprisingly managed well to focus. It seems I am fit to film on Mars. For the first time I also had the chance to take some photography on film on Mars, which made me really content.
I see pictures and stories everywhere, but you have to stay contained and you have to shift certain scenes and topics to another day. Otherwise I would kill myself with work. I have to stay fit and focused this entire mission.
I am happy, that the crew is picking up on my idea of VLogs. Instead of an interview I would love everyone to film personal diaries with an iPhone. Other than a conducted interview a VLog gives the audience the chance to have a very personal look on the protagonists of our adventure.
Today I used my new 360° camera the first time. And I already learned a bit. To avoid shadows on the complete frame I will probably use it, when the sun stands the highest, or it isn’t there at all.
Overall it was a great day. I am running a bit behind with interviews, but I leave that for the days, when weather forbids us from going outside. The pictures today were fantastic and I am optimistic for the days to come.
Thank you very much for your help and attention.
Willie Schumann, Journalist, Crew 184