Journalist Report – February 18th

Sol 18: The conclusion – Going back to Earth

Author : Pierre Fabre

Hi everyone! This is our last report on Mars. (It won’t be the longest report I’ve made because it has been a very busy day and we are currently enjoying the best burger ever with Atila).

Let me talk to you a bit about what happened during this last Sol on Mars.

This day was the day of the lasts. Last workout, last breakfast, last EVA, last lunch, last rehydrated food, last everything on Mars.

At 3:00 PM, the same hour at which we started the simulation 3 weeks ago, we didn’t put our spacesuits on, we stepped into the front airlock, we didn’t wait 5 minutes for depressurisation, we opened the door, and just as during our first EVA, the light came into the airlock and blinded us for a moment, but this time it was the light of our dear planet Earth. It was a really weird sensation to leave the station by the same door we passed through so many times wearing our spacesuits for EVAs. This time we could feel the fresh air on our skin, hear the noises around us, talk without pressing the button of our walkie-talkie, breathing fresh air that hadn’t passed through our ventilation system, touch things with our hands and feel the contact on our skin. We took the same pictures we took on our Sol 0 before starting the sim. I think we look pretty much the same. Maybe on today’s picture we look a bit more tired, dirtier and more in shape (thanks to Julie’s workouts). You can still see in our eyes that we feel excited but it has nothing to do with the excitation we felt before starting the sim. On the Sol 0 it was the excitation of going on Mars and performing incredible experiments during 3 weeks. Today we were excited to contact our families and our friends, to see what happened on Earth during the mission, to see the reactions of people on Earth to our mission and last but not least we were excited because of the double bacon cheeseburger we are going to eat for dinner with Atila.

To conclude this last report, I am going to let my crew mates tell their favorite moment of the mission

"Julie: The games at night were a great moment to share with my crewmates. It’s the only moments when you have the right to not be serious, to not think about your work, to laugh, to get to know your partners better. These moments partly made us a real team and above all real friends.

Marion: I really enjoyed the EVAs, those were the moments where I really felt on Mars. I had never seen scenery like this, one moment you’re on Mars, the next you’re on the Moon. The views are breath-taking, every time we stopped at a viewpoint, I tried to print an image of the view in my brain to never forget it.

Maxime: The EVAs shared with my crewmates were definitely my favorite moments, we really felt we were on Mars. Each EVA was unique for me and seeing this amazing red landscape gave me incredible sensations.

Clément: There are many, but a big one was walking back into Candor Chasma for the first time since my first mission. I think it brought back a whole lot of memories from the first time I went there, and it reminded me of how awesome it was to be there at MDRS again!

François: My favorite moment was certainly the end of the day, when all crew members just sat and talked about their day, after all the work done. We could finally rest a little bit and enjoy talking and joking with each other.

For my part, it has been a pleasure to write those daily reports during those 3 weeks and I hope you enjoyed them. Don’t forget, there will be a bonus episode of "Interview with" when we will be back on Earth with Raphael, our Botanist who couldn’t make it to Mars with us.