Journalist Report Dec 25th

Journalist Report

Ben Durkee, Crew 218 Journalist

Sol 03

White Christmars

The dulcet tones of a yuletide choir slipped under my door and roused me from my sleep at exactly 8:30 AM Mars Standard Time. White sunlight radiating off the powdered terrain outside permeated through the fog outside and met my eyes. The smell of cinnamon and

peppermint swirled ’round the Hab and lifted sleepy spirits. I can’t think of a better way to wake up on Christmars day.

We assembled our own breakfasts and dove back into the puzzle to get our cognitive gears

in motion again. During our half-focused small talk, we learned that our fearless leader, Cesare, was a member of the very choir that woke us up. We learn something incredible about one another every sol. Once we had finished eating and had puzzled the sleep from our eyes, we began our holiday festivities. Cesare, our operatic Martian Santa Claus, had gotten all of us Xmas candy and individual gifts that revealed themselves to be adorable snowman fridge magnets.

As if that wasn’t charming enough, he went into his quarters and came back out with a handful of Christmas cards for us that he had stealthily collected back on Earth. There were so many lovely greetings from writers all around the world, including a card from the entire Class 9EW of the Queen’s School in Chester, UK. It seemed that for a moment the mist from outside had somehow gotten in my eyes.

Once our first round of festivities concluded, it was time for some Habitat maintenance. It appeared that the snow had found a few leaks in the tunnels between our buildings and collected on the floor. Myself, Cesare, and Pat held our breaths and set off to sweep the tunnels clean and locate the leaks. We had the tunnels spick and span (and safe to traverse) in no time.

Or so we thought. In reality, by the time we were done it was time to begin preparing Christmars lunch! While we were working in the tunnels, Jonathan, Shefali, and LuzMa

were collecting a very plentiful harvest in the GreenHab. While they took the mass of the greens, we prepared some spaghetti, mashed potatoes, and assorted feast necessities. The GreenHabbers returned with their bounty and turned it into a delicious fresh salad that tasted like summer. A nice culinary reminder of home!

We invited some friendly Martian visitors (the Assistant Program Directors) for our Christmars banquet. If there’s anyone who deserves to join in our festivities, it’s the folks who make all of this possible! It was an incredible meal that had all of us on the border of going comatose; for the first time, the worries of the hostile Martian landscape melted away.

We saw our guests out the airlock, and returned to the puzzle whilst tagging each other in and out for Hab chores. By sunset, we were all gathered around the table as Jonathan theatrically placed the final piece. We were awash with relief as we had finally vanquished our collective nemesis… until we realized we had to delicately flip the whole thing over to sign our crew number on the back. We bounced a lot of (frankly ridiculous) ideas off of one another until Pat took charge and finessed the entire cardboard mass over without unseating a single piece. I may be on Mars experiencing a one-in-a-million interplanetary adventure, but that takes the cake for the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.

Signing our crew as the 5th of 218 crews to complete the puzzle felt like a monumental accomplishment. Watching Cesare draw the Purdue “Block P” was akin to how I imagine it felt to watch Julius Caesar lead his army across the Rubicon River. Satisfied and exhausted from our arduous accomplishment, we began drafting our reports to CAPCOM.

So here I sit now, buoyant from a perfect White Christmars on the red planet, documenting this day so I may never forget it. Thank you to everyone who wrote us a card and Happy Holidays to all reading this from Earth!

GreenHab Report – Dec 25th

Crew 218 GreenHab Report 25-DEC-19

Crew GreenHab Officer: Dr. Jonathan R. Buzan with Shefali Rana completing morning tasks.

Environmental control: Heating.

Shade cloth (40% and 30%) on.

Average temperature: 22.8°C; 20%.


Floor Unit: 20°C

Electronic: 28.2°C

humidity 16%


Floor Unit: 11°C

Electronic: 20.1°C

humidity 20%


Floor Unit: 15°C

Electronic: 21.7°C

humidity 19%

Max: 30°C; 26%

Min: 15.5°C; 15%

Hours of supplemental light: Light system 7:20PM-12:20AM.

Daily water usage for crops: 2.2Gal. (last night’s miracle food watering has left almost all plants very moist to wet).

Daily water usage for research and/or other purposes: N/A

Water in Blue Tank – ~121 Gal.

Time(s) of watering for crops: 7:00PM


Change to crops: None.


1st sprouts: Zucchini leaves have opened.

—Added structural support to snow peas.

—Recommend changing location of snow peas. The leaves are drying out even with wet soil. The planter is in direct path of heater unit.

—Opened door at 11:40AM.

—Closed door at 4:30PM.

—Mouse was spotted in the Habitat. Moved the trap from GreenHab to Habitat, which still has dried sweet potato. Hopefully this isn’t a ruse for the GreenHab…


Christmas Salad. Used Science Lab scale to measure harvest. Shefali Rana and Luz Maria Agudelo Urrego assisted.

—Radish Leaves: 82.25g

—Carrot Leaves: 12.40g

—Green Leaf Chard: 14.08g

—Wild Rocket: 15.05g

—Spinach Lakeside: 13.00g

—Swiss Chard: 14.71g

—Cilantro: 7.75g

—Basil: 12.37g

—Sage: 1.15g

—Chives: 2.79g

—Pineapple Mint: 1.78g

—Marjoram: 0.88g

Collected for dinner bread (used GreenHab scale):

—Rosemary: 14g

Operations Report – Dec 25th

Crew 218 Operations Report 25-Dec-19

SOL: 03

Name of person filing report: Luz Maria Agudelo Urrego

Non-nominal systems: NA

Generator: run

Hours run: 13

From what time last night: 1800

To what time this morning: 0730

List any additional daytime hours when the generator was run: N/A

Solar— SOC % (Before the generator is run at night: 78 %

Diesel Reading – 85%

Station Propane Reading – 80%

Ethanol Free Gasoline: N/A

Water (loft tank) (gal): 26

Water Meter (units): 0147013.5

Water (static tank) (gal): 460

Static to Loft Pump used – Yes

Water in Green Hab (gal): 121

Water in Science Dome (gal): 0

Toilet tank emptied: No

Deimos rover used: Still in the workshop


Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging:

Sojourner rover used: Assigned to director


Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging:

Spirit rover used: Not used

Hours: 119.2

Beginning charge: (Before EVA):

Ending charge: (On return from EVA, before recharging):

Currently charging: Yes

Opportunity rover used: Still in the workshop


Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging:

Curiosity rover used: Not used

Hours: 124.4

Beginning charge:

Ending charge: (On return from EVA, before charging):

Currently charging: Yes

Notes on rovers: Opportunity and Deimos off-site for maintenance.

ATV’s Used: (Honda, 300, 350.1, 350.2, 350.3): No

Reason for use: N/A

Oil Added? No

# Hours the ATVs were used today: 0

Notes on ATVs: N/A

HabCar used and why, where? No

CrewCar used and why, where? No

General notes and comments: N/A

Summary of the internet: Nominal

Summary of suits and radios: Nominal

Summary of Hab operations: Mouse in the hab

Summary of GreenHab operations: routine watering

Summary of Science Dome operations: Nominal

Summary of RAM operations: Nominal

Summary of any observatory issues: Nominal

Summary of health and safety issues: Nominal

Questions, concerns, and requests to Mission Support: NA

Commander Report Dec 25th

Crew 218 Commander Report 25-12-2019


Merry Christmas, Earth. This is my first Christmas at MDRS, and it has been quite an emotional day. Still stuck inside because of a 4 inches thick blanket of snow, we made the best of our day. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday and my favorite time of the year. I like the idea of warmth, love, and togetherness. Therefore, I would lie if I said that I did not miss my family and friends. But this is part of the experience and the hardness of simulation. Here at MDRS we woke up a little later than usual and, while having breakfast, I treated the crew to a couple of surprises: first, a little Christmas gift under our tiny trees. Second, a lot of Christmas cards from all over the world, that nice Earthlings sent in response to a call I posted on social media for cards for our crew. The crew and I rejoiced at the nice thoughts by so many people! After breakfast we swept our tunnels from snow, then while working on completing a Mars puzzle and on the few parts of research that do not require EVAs, we prepared a festive lunch that we shared with visitors from the adjacent habitats. Great time together, followed again by social activities and personal time. I miss good old Earth, but I strongly believe in what we are doing here, and I know that the thoughts of many people are with us. See you all when we will be back, and Merry Christmas again.

Cesare Guariniello, Commander

Sol Summary Report Dec 25th

Crew 218 Sol Summary Report 25-DEC-2019

Sol: 03

Summary Title: ChristMars

Author’s name: Shefali Rana

Mission Status: A very merry ChrisMars

Sol Activity Summary: The crew woke up to a white Christmas this morning (and to the merry sound of Christmas carols).

After an (extended) attempt at the Mars puzzle and some hot chocolate, Cesare, Pat and Ben headed out to the tunnels to shovel snow while Jonathan and Shefali harvested some fresh greens for the much anticipated Christmas lunch. We were joined by our friendly neighborhood Martians for lunch. Spinach spaghetti, a (very calibrated and precise) salad and mashed potatoes. Yum. The star of the meal was undoubtedly the melt-in-your mouth cocounut macaroons courtesy Chef Pat. We were very excited to open the special Christmas presents (Thank you Cesare) and were heartened to receive Christmas wishes from around the world. Thank you class 9EW. Accompanied by the signature Cane Mintella hot chocolate (TM pending), we got cracking on the puzzle and finally finished it. The satisfaction. With out bellies and hearts full of joy, LuzMa, Pat and Ben relaxed for some Spongebob time and were joined by another furry little Martian friend. Cheers.

Look ahead plan: No EVA planned for tomorrow, due to the weather conditions

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Cloudy and Snowing, around 40 degrees

Crew physical status: Healthy

EVA: none

Reports to be filed: sol summary, commander report, operations report, greenhab report, journalist report

Support Requested: none

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