Journalist Report – December 29th

Sol: 11

Author’s name: Helen Eifert, Crew Geologist

Title: Clayke

CONTENT WARNING: Dad jokes ahead. 11 days is a lot of days to come up with witty food puns and similes. I refuse to discard this bit, so buckle up for all the creative juice I have left.

Today was our last day on Mars! Crew 271 enjoyed a slow morning while all the dirt outside dried. Naturally, I watched the whole ordeal from one of the small windows in the Hab. By 1200, Guariniello, Iakymov, Kaosaar, and Eifert suited up one more time for the last EVA on Mars. We took a pleasant 8 km stroll from the Hab to Skyline Rim for spectacular views. Here, we gathered Mancos shale samples for Cesare’s research.

As we ascended towards Skyline Rim, we encountered thin beds of white sandstones like frosting between layers of cake. In this case the proverbial cake is clay. Clayke. Here we see more influence of water in the form of potholes where groundwater makes its way through cracks in the clay, creating vertical channels. A hazard for astronauts, but if you think of it in the clayke context, that light fluffy texture would impress the likes of Paul Hollywood. Once we topped Hab Ridge (Amazonis Planitia), Skyline Ridge ahead displayed magnificent mass wastings, which could also be used to describe the activity of Crew 271 devouring cake. Along with large colluvial fans, there were gullies, and thin layers of shale towering above us. Source shale we shall.

All the while, Andres filmed us, not for studying our behavior, but this time for Estonian TV. Just to paint the picture fully, this involved him scuttling ahead in the bulky EVA suit, plopping down the tripod, filming us walk by, and then scurrying ahead again for another shot. We look forward to our inevitable rise to super stardom in Estonia.

Upon return, Levesque and Grete had baked goods waiting for the four hungry astronauts. There was bread, obviously, but also cake to celebrate our last day on Mars. We completed one final jigsaw puzzle and reflected on the successful mission behind us. Tonight we will go to sleep on Mars and wake up back on Earth, where I am positive my jokes will be significantly less funny. To those who aren’t slap happy from living in a tin can on Mars for two weeks I say, let them eat clayke.

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