Crew 272 Journalist Report 1-8-2023
Author: Kenny Pritchard, Crew Journalist
Title: Give us a Break!
Although every minute counts on an extraterrestrial surface mission, our time is not devoted entirely to work. In the evenings and during downtime, we often read books, play games, or communicate with our friends and family to pass the time. Currently, we’re taking an entire sol off to do so! This kind of recreation time is important to preserve the mental and social health of astronauts, especially on longer missions. Mars has plenty enough sun and sand to resemble a vacation destination, sans the water, and also the breathable atmosphere. Kshitij kicked off our sol-off with a lovingly made Poha and Tapri chai breakfast. This was a unique and delicious treat for our crew, and I seriously doubt any of our other breakfasts will beat the effort involved. Lacking an appropriately sized colander to drain the chai, we thought like Martians and improvised a tedious yet effective solution: pouring the chai through one half of a metal tea ball.
The rest of the sol was spent exerting ourselves on books, naps, and word puzzle games around the upper deck of the hab. Madelyn caught up on journaling and watered her plants as usual (they’re sprouting nicely!), Adriana cleaned off her desk and read several maps of various locations, Megan collected her finished rock hammer 3d-print, Arly finished her book (Brandon Sanderson – The Way of Kings – she does recommend it to fans of fantasy), Kshitij partook in a photo-op in the commander’s bedroom, Mason organized his room and took out the trash, and I reached some chilling revelations about the Dark Lord Voldemort in my Harry Potter read-through. After all these exhausting activities, we took turns ferrying geologic samples over to the Science Dome for cleaning and expert analysis: another rock party. A few of us took turns swinging the hammer to crack rocks. Everyone celebrates when a sample is identified as petrified wood or an interesting mineral, and laments when it’s something more common. Poor feldspar…
We’ve named just about every inanimate object in the Hab – psychologists need not comment. The radio transmitter is BTS, the drone is Garud, the 3d printer is Pima, our 3d-printed rabbit is named Linus, the geology hammer is Little Rocky, and Adriana’s giant petrified wood chunk is Petri. We’re only missing Wilson the volleyball. Megan put together some chili mac for a relatively early dinner, and we’re 2 for 2 on banger meals for the sol. I can’t believe this didn’t win the recent chili contest she entered it in! Over dinner, we’re writing our sol-ly reports as usual, and planning out EVAs for the coming week. Afterwards, we’ll continue our recreation by playing some Monikers and watching the movie ‘Lakshya’ per Kshitij’s glowing recommendation. Though it still feels like we’ve only just arrived, we’re now just about halfway through the rotation. It’s go-time for the rest of the mission!