In sim, finally!! This morning, after a few crew photos, we entered simulation. This does not mean that we are “playing pretend” or just enjoying a nice hab in the desert. This means that we are now performing research that we know will enhance and support human exploration of Mars. This means that we are testing and challenging ourselves into keeping isolation, following operational procedures, living in close quarters, and thinking like a Martian. As of today, we are all analog astronaut.
The crew was extremely excited today at performing our first EVAs, including all the difficulties of climbing in the rovers and driving around with all the limitations of the space suits. The feeling is amazing, though. I cannot believe I am here again and I feel so comfortable donning my air pack and helmet once again. Marble Ritual makes us follow a tradition, and I am glad to be part of it and to see my crewmates following it too. Walking over this red, white, brown clay soil inflames the imagination and many times I found myself stopping, looking at the desert landscape and imagining to be on some red remote planet.
Simulation is not only EVA, though, and after coming back and preparing mushroom risotto for the crew, I went around the building checking operations and facilities, before deciding to use my spare time with a short nap, while the rest of the crew was enjoying a well-deserved break after tough days of training.
The news tonight is that we will have precipitation that will make our EVAs impractical, but it also means that we will have a white Christmas, which makes me feel closer to our friends and families on Earth.
Commander, MDRS 218