Journalist Report – February 21st

Sol 0 – The day of the firsts

Author: Nicolas Wattelle

Good evening everyone. I am Nicolas, and I will the journalist for Crew 263, performing a 3 weeks analog mission in the Mars Desert Research Station, that has just started.

This day was the day of the firsts. First breakfast, first reports, first dehydrated food, first everything on Mars.

This morning, we finished our MDRS training with our instructor, focused on EVAs and the principles of sim. On the menu: allocation of our spacesuits, presentation of surrounding terrain maps, test of the rovers. This was very exciting, mainly regarding the potential of our outdoor experiments incoming (especially Marine and Lea for their geological field study, and Matheo for the Astronaut Search and Rescue experiment).

Then, the sim concretely began. We wanted to make this moment memorable, so we took the traditional group picture in front of the Hab before closing the airlock, marking symbolically the beginning of the simulation. At this point, we deeply discussed about our personal expectations for this mission, and wishing each other, three amazing weeks of collaborative work.

Then, all the firsts took places.

The first experiments. This was spirited : after working a whole year preparing them, we are now able to perform them! Marine took charge of the Solar Musk telescope, Cerise began her water quality evaluation, Mathéo and I prepared the gravistropism experiment in the GreenHab… Elena literally sent us in the future of space exploration, we served as subjects for her Hololens experiment: an aid for astronaut using Augmented Reality (in fact, these are large glasses projecting information over our own view, and with useful functionalities to help our experiments…). Personally, I was impressed, and I am looking forward to test it during EVAs!

The first meals. We discovered dehydrated food. Against all odds, it was really good, we were ready for much worse! We will see how it evolves through the days, I don’t want to talk too fast… And, regarding food, as proud French people, Léa and Matheo made the first loaf of bread. While I’m writing these words, we didn’t taste it yet, but it will surely be amazing! I will keep you in the loop…

The first reports. You are currently reading one of them, and I hope you are appreciating it. It is a bit stressful and we feel sometimes lost writing our words, but we will get the hang of it!

P.S: One remarkable point of this first day is the weather. This morning, the wind blew so fast that we really struggled taking our crew picture in front of the Hab. Keeping our eyes opened was a painful challenge (you may notice it one the one linked to this report, it was picked out of 20 others pictures!).