Crew 217 Journalist Report
12 Dec 2019
Rockets, river beds, and rodents….
Our final day of sim started with a raucous rocket assembling party.
The four rocket experts (Ann, Cynthia, Kevin, Hope) tutored the four
rocket novices (Shannon, Atila, Teresa, Jen) and, in the end, four
rockets were assembled, painted, and ready for an afternoon launch.
The morning EVA took the six teacher explorers along a dry river bed,
up a winding road, past Badlands-esque geologic vistas, and onto a
plateau of literally littered with 150 million year old Devil’s
Toenail (Gryphaea) fossils. The teachers took many fossils and more
After dusting the hike’s soil from their boots, the crew got their
hands dirty when they planted succulents in pint jars. Each of the
eight crew members made a mini-terrarium using a small cactus, 5-10 ml
white gravel, and about 200 ml Mars simulant soil.
From mini-terrarium to full size greenhouse, from Martian simulant
soil to Earth-origined planting soil, the crew moved from the Hab to
the greenhouse to plant, re-plant, and repair. During the night
something ate all the zucchini, most of the peas, and several
tomatoes. The once healthy plants disappeared at ground level. We
suspect a rodent with a green tooth. Cynthia and Teresa replanted the
munched plants, transplanted herbs, acorn pumpkin and peppers, thinned
basil and cilantro, and planted lettuce and more cilantro. Atila
hung planter pots out of reach of the rascally rodent, Atila and Kevin
hung a shade screen, and Shannon crashed through an old bed.
The day’s adventures ended with a BANG. Every missile was
successfully launched and every missile was successfully recovered.
Shannon’s happy dance reflected everyone’s happy mood. Life is good