Crew 265 Journalist Report
April 30, 2022
Summary Title: To the Moon and Back
Author: Sarah Treadwell, Crew Journalist
Today is Sol 6 and we are halfway through our mission now. As the radio tests continue to prove successful, many of us continue on our personal projects and goals for our time spent here. Today’s EVA was to achieve one such goal. Executive Officer Dave has long wanted to explore the nearby moon of Phobos to take samples. Myself and Isai joined him on this expedition to fulfill a dream he had carefully planned for.
Our skill sets as a team were ideal for this mission. Having Isai along brought the knowledge base for successful mapping of uncharted terrain, as he is finishing up a mechanical engineering degree. Dave also has an engineering background, but his energy and focus is largely now on space exploration, hence his desire for this mission. He also brings experience to ensure this is executed safely, having served on four prior missions. I was asked to join along as a professional communicator and as a fellow space enthusiast to document this exciting first.
We set off on our adventure, armed with maps and GPS units to also continue to test the radio systems. Phobos is the closest known satellite to any planet in our solar system, 6,000km (3,700 miles) so the journey was fast, relatively speaking in space travel. We arrived at the moon overlook viewpoint to take our first steps. There, ceremoniously, the first step imprint in the regolith was captured for documentation purposes. The views were dramatic, with rolling peaks and a pale, gray regolith. Then it was decided to take some samples.
Using an extended pole with a scoop at the end akin to the methods used by Apollo 11, Executive Officer Dave collected some samples of the lunar regolith, carefully placing it inside a bag to be sealed for further analysis. After finishing collecting samples, we explored around for quite some time. Phobos orbits Mars every 7 hours and 39 minutes, so we only had a limited amount of time before we needed to depart. Similarly in the spirit of the Apollo astronauts, there were some personal moments had in honor of loved ones that will remain private. It should be clarified that nothing was left behind, preserving the stunning beauty of Mars’ nearby neighbor.
It will be interesting to see what our samples tell us about Phobos and its formation. Perhaps this moon will be helpful in some way for further expansion around the planet Mars. Or maybe it will serve as a useful fueling station for further exploration of our solar system. Whatever secrets it may hold, we were honored to get to explore its surface and hope our work will continue with future crews.
As we headed back towards our station on Mars, I was reflective on the surreal landscape that surrounded me. I have had the pleasure of getting to see many amazing places back on our home Earth, from the highest mountain on the planet, Everest, to diving under the ocean with coral reefs and sharks. Yet, no matter where I go, I am always struck by the beauty that surrounds me, recognizing that every place has its own unique story. This place, with its layers of sediment that serve as secret holders of time, is no different.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity. Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives”. – Albert Einstein