Author: Pierre Fabre
Today was the day. The day we have been waiting for and working those past two years for.
This morning when we woke up, we were on Mars. This morning we left our beds when the sun was rising. We were not afraid of the strong radiations of the sun. Even if the atmosphere of Earth doesn’t protect us anymore, the walls of the Hab act like a shield against these radiations so we have nothing to be afraid of.
Today will be a great day, a day to remember our whole life. Today every member of the crew will perform their first EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity). What does that mean? We are going to leave our shield, our home, to go outside, on Mars. We are not going to go outside without being protected, we would die from it! We are going to wear our spacesuits to protect us from those lethal radiations! In addition to prevent us from dying, which is good, they look super cool!
So we start the morning with this feeling of excitement and nervousness ! But first our HSO is waiting for us for our morning workout
! We had no problem to endure it because we were only thinking of that incoming EVA.
There will be two EVAs today. For the first one, the plan is to go to the Marble Ritual area. This is the classic EVA that every crew does as a ritual. The aim is just to do a short EVA to feel more comfortable with wearing a spacesuit and driving a rover. The second one will have a scientific interest. We will go to North Ridge to map the area thanks to a drone. I will definitely talk to you in more details about this experiment later but for now I will try to describe as well as I can how you feel when you do an EVA on Mars.
9:30 : I am seated at the upper deck’s table. The crew’s commander, Clement Plagne, will do the briefing for the first EVA of the day. There is a huge map of the surroundings of the station on the table. My hands are becoming damp and I can feel the excitement growing inside of me. He puts his finger on a point on the Map : Marble Ritual, this is our destination.
For this EVA, I will be teamed up with Julie, the HSO. The other buddies will be Clement and Francois, our Engineer. Maxime, the astronomer will be our Hab Com. He is the man inside who communicates with us and makes sure everything is going well. The last member of the crew, Marion, will be in charge of taking care of the Green Hab while we are out. Marion and Maxime will participate in the second EVA of the day with Clement and myself.
9:45 : The excitement is still growing in me while I’m putting on my spacesuit with the kind help of my crew mates! I still have to test my radio and be ready to enter in the airlock at 10:00. The air conditioning system starts in my helmet and I can hear nothing but voices from the radio in my ear.
10:00 : I step into the airlock with my crew mates who are waiting for me. Maxime closes the door and we start the depressurisation. We have to stay 5 minutes in the airlock while the pressure is passing from the Earth pressure to the Mars pressure, which is 1000 times lighter.
10:04 : « one minute left » says the Hab Com in the radio. My breathing is fastening. I look to my crew mates and I can tell just by their face that they feel just like me.
10:04:50 : « ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one… » the door opens and the light comes in. After a flash that blinds me for a moment my eyes start to accommodate to the light and I can see the red colour of the sand and the rocky mountains in the background through the open door. « Welcome on Mars » says the Hab Com. The goosebumps get me. At this moment, I can’t contain a smile. This is the first result of two years of hard work that were truly worth it. A little thought to Raphael our botanist who would have loved that view and we step out of the station and land our first foot on the red soil of Mars. We dreamt so many times of this moment and now it’s real. But now we have to focus on our destination, the reason for this EVA. Marble Ritual is waiting for us!