Tuesday 29 Oct Sol 2
Journalist: Sandy Dance
After a relatively warm night, we awake to light cloud, the rising sun striking pinks and whites off the surrounding hills.
This was the day we were expecting our first EVA, but due to forecast high winds, it was unfortunately cancelled.
Nevertheless, the morning was productively spent trying on the spacesuits for the first time. There are two types, the one-piece exploration suits, and the two-piece suits. We all stand around while David shows how they work, the protocols around the charging of them, unplugging, radios and how to wear them, etc. We try them on, lots of pushing and shoving, adjusting of straps, and finally, feeling comfortable: ready to step out on to the Martian surface!
Later, around lunchtime, we hear the good news that we are cleared for EVA, so expect to try out the suits around the hab and in the rovers this afternoon.
So indeed, later we had our first foray outside in the suits. How exciting as the minutes counted down in the airlock, before finally emerging onto the ‘surface’! Even better, we get to travel in the ATVs, cute electric cars that lurch over the landscape at what feels like high speed.
We finally get to a turnoff and get out, with some difficulty, in our suits. Out here the feeling of isolation is intense, barren hills marching off into the distance. We stumble over the rough ground intersected by shallow watercourses and scrub, and anomalously find the odd cowpat, or something pat. Nevertheless the illusion of actually being on Mars is almost complete, its quite a deep
experience: this is what it would feel like!