Title: Trouble on Mars
Author: Izabela Shopova, Crew Journalist
Sol 9 begins with an early EVA. Just before 9AM we are all downstairs helping the SHO and Crew Scientist to suit up. They are going on a walking exploratory EVA, but we have to troubleshoot some radio problems first. Jas appears to have a personal magnetic field – all radio sets stop working once she puts them on. By the time everything is tested and we are confident that comms work well, it’s almost 9:30AM. The day is clear and the EVA is going well until a distress call comes – Elizabeth reports that Jas has twisted her ankle on the steep slope and can’t walk back. Emergency response is initiated immediately – our crew engineer and crew biologist suit up, take two of the rovers, a first aid kit, a warm blanket, and some improvised materials to serve as a splinter if necessary. Commander and crew journalist stayed back in Hab for comms support. Luckily the injury occurred not too far from Hab where the EVA crew was within comms range. Everyone managed to get back in the airlock on time, just a couple of minutes later than the planned end of the EVA. When the patient is finally safe in the Hab, the truth is revealed – it was only a rescue exercise. We all exhale deeply with relief and cheer up. Jas walks around triumphantly and the crew gets into a lively debriefing session over lunch. Phew! This one went well.
Afternoon EVA was not as dramatic. The 3 crewmates tested successfully the mechanical arm Pleiades Atlas, discovered a desert oasis, a silently screaming rock, took amazing photos, and returned back to the Hab a few minutes earlier than planned The rest of the afternoon was quiet and productive – we all sat at our laptops and did as much work as possible while the sunset was setting the Martian rocks on fire and our crew engineer fixed the leaking sink again.
After the early dinner, we had a presentation on the benefits and the process of making yogurt. The main planning topic tonight was Thanksgiving – what will we cook, how will we celebrate, and how to fit the laborious preparations into our busy schedules.
Life on Mars is never boring.