Journalist Report – January 4th

Sol 02 Journalist Report

Beat: Space Oddity, David Bowie

Pedro José-Marcellino
Crew 238 Journalist/XO

ALICE IN CHAINS

It’s been the longest two days here at MDRS.

Scratch that: it’s been the longest two years waiting to be here at MDRS.

Actually: it’s been the longest two years for everyone out there on planet Earth, and we are so darn lucky.

Now that we are finally on Mars, the process is slowly sinking in, and we are gently sliding into busy Martian routines.

For an international team like the Magnificent 7 (don’t ask) it’s been touch-and-go for a while. We were selected in 2019 and originally slotted to be here a year ago. Through all that, we lost an engineer, then a commander, then gained an astronomer, only to lose her again; our XO became the commander, I became the XO, and the Mag 7 became the Mag 6, but we stuck together and kept the earlier name as a memento, much as Zsa Zsa Gabor kept the rings from her seven weddings as decorative items. In case you didn’t notice that joke was deliberately Hungarian.

Over the rest of the week, I will be picking a crew member every day to inspire me and assist in telling our story at MDRS. Thus, the Hungarian joke. See, a little-known fact about my crew member of the day today, our pretty rad GreenHab Officer Kay Sandor, is that she is herself Hungarian-American. And a Master Texas Gardener — yes, that’s a thing! — who also happens to hold a PhD in nursing and be a licensed therapist. She volunteered in tall ships, and cooks a mean paprikash, as we found out over dinner today.

Although the whole thing nearly devolved into World War Math when she asked an international crew of Americans, English, Continentals, and Canadians to weigh in on the trick question: “what is 1/6 of half of a cup?”. What were you thinking, Kay?

At age 74, today Kay became possibly the oldest analog astronaut to ever walk an EVA here on analog Mars. She was beaming and so were we, even if we did not go too far. Mission Support suggested nearby Marble Ritual, which we can see from our window, as one does Russia.

Walking with our artist-in-residence Aga Pokrywka and myself, it was certainly not lost on us that one of Kay’s objectives here on Mars is to design and have us walk a meandering meditative labyrinth, as seen on our mission patch. All very mysterious.

All very Hiroko, the green thumb character from The Mars Trilogy. We expect good things. Even Alice, the little desert mouse, seems to think so, so she’s back today to hang out

And perhaps this is where I’ll leave it today. Stay tuned.