Journalist Report – March 7th

Sol 14 – Happy Birthday Commander

Author: Nicolas Wattelle

Do you know someone who has already celebrated a birthday twice in a MDRS mission? Personally, I do!

The first time, it was three years ago, in 2019. Back then, Cerise was the Health and Safety Officer for Crew 206, another Supaero crew. Apparently, she loved this experience, so she decided to become Commander for Crew 263: here she is!

Our commander is now 25 years old; hence, she is our dean here! But, no needs to say, she has not taken a single wrinkle, and keeps her vivacity in her functions!

You might ask yourself, what is the purpose of a MDRS commander? This is someone with experience in analogs, someone for whom living a simulation is not unknown. In our case, she was very useful since we prepared for this mission. From how to mentally prepare to live a MDRS mission, to very practical questions: how warm it is in the MDRS, what clothes to take in our suitcase, what is not to forget…?

Moreover, she is responsible for the entire mission. On one hand, she keeps an eye on everyone’s experiments and stays updated about eventual unforeseen. On the other hand, a bit like Valentine the HSO does, she takes care of the team spirit, and of how everyone individually feels during the mission. So, she is almost everywhere.

This is why it was a hassle for us to organise her a birthday surprise. But we succeeded doing it! It took place at noon for lunch, during the dessert, around a delicious chocolate cake. In order to find her gift, she had to solve enigmas, like in a treasure hunt! To be honest, it was funny seeing her struggling a bit to resolve the first problems. Do not tell her, I would be in trouble, she is my commander…

It was a good moment of cohesion!

During the morning, we went on EVA (yes, I was in again) with Cerise and Mathéo, to test Augmented Reality mapping in an unknown canyon, named White Rock Canyon. Technically speaking, it was not really a success: it is hard to use Augmented Reality in very bright environments. At least, the weather was good and the place we discovered was wonderful.

Valentine was supposed to continue the HF propagation wave study, which is currently really interesting to perform thanks to the Sun activity. But this study is victim of bad luck: in the same time, outside the Hab one of the antennas telescopic arms collapsed, and inside the electrical transformer stopped working correctly… So, we are quite frustrated. We hope to put it back in order before our mission ends!

Otherwise, the whole crew performed human factors test, the ones provided by Université de Lorraine. We feel like we are losing efficiency on it throughout the mission, our attention might decrease… But it is still enough not to forget Cerise’s birthday!