Journalist Report – November 19th

Sol 6

Author: Izabela Shopova

Title: Saturday on Mars

Saturday. Our first weekend on Mars. After the eventful EVA yesterday the crew has planned an early morning EVA for today to take advantage of the sunrise light. We all got up at 7, had a quick coffee and climbed down the stairs to assist the 3 crew members who were going out on an EVA. The sun was shining bright and clear through the porthole, but we could feel the morning chill in the air. Radio comms and life support systems were checked and the crew stepped into the airlock.

The EVA went according to plan, with no surprises and emergencies today. The rovers performed very well and our crew biologist Caitie was excited about the five different types of lichens she found on the rocks. The good thing about an early EVA is that when it is over and the debriefing is done, it’s not even lunchtime yet. We allowed ourselves the luxury of planning a break to relax and to catch up on all the other projects we are working on. Every day here feels as if every minute of our time is filled with writing journals, responses to surveys, daily health checks, reports and plans. And for the lucky 3 of us who have a Paro assigned (an adorable artificial intelligence therapeutic robotic baby seal) – we also manage to squeeze a few minutes of cuddling with our Paros.

In the afternoon we exercised, took some quiet time to read, write in our diaries and study. Jennie’s inspirational presentation about the importance of being authentic as women in our professional and personal life sparked an interesting discussion in the hour before the VR First Aid Training session. This time we improvised by immobilising a broken ankle. And this afternoon it was finally my turn to have a quick, rather cold ‘combat shower’ as Commander Jennie calls it. We have all had a shower by now and are looking forward to our next scheduled date with hygiene.

The weekend appears to make us crave homemade food. I have noticed that the limitations of our food supplies have forced us to get really creative in the kitchen. We are taking turns to cook and surprise our crewmates with yet another amazing meal, turning our rigorously scheduled meal times into opportunities for having fun, bonding, and bringing in a bit of home comfort in our busy martian routine. So far in the first week of the mission, we had pasta and pancakes, vegetable soups and stir fry, homemade yogurt and freshly baked bread, moon pies and fruit yogurt, mac&cheese and omelets, fresh salad with microgreens harvested from the GreenHab and even a Cincinnati Chilli – a secret family recipe. Elizabeth and I have conspired for days, planning our shepherd’s pie for tonight’s dinner, so we got busy and whipped up a big dish of messy, cheesy, homemade deliciousness.

And we have big plans for Thanksgiving!

Thank you Mission Support.

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