Sol 2 – Journey to the Poles
“It was like those days when you heard a thunderstorm coming and there was the waiting silence and then the faintest pressure of the atmosphere as the climate blew over the land in shifts and shadows and vapors. […] The sky was stained and coloured; the clouds were thickened; the mountains took on an iron taint.”
– Chapter 2 of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Snow! This morning, Crew 275 realized that their rocket has landed too close to the poles: a thick layer of frozen carbon dioxide started covering the station in the morning. Our solar panels were also covered, preventing us from using certain appliances such as the oven: no bread for us today…
Preparation of atmospheric experiments continued: Quentin started pre-mounting the weather station while Alexandre prepared the batteries to power the LOAC and MegaAres. However, the decision was made to confine the crew in the Hab when the temperature in the RAM dropped below 40°F, leaving some activities unfinished. Thankfully, Adrien warmed us all with a carrot broth made with his daily harvest from the GreenHab.
Some crewmates voiced their frustration due to the lack of productivity because of the cold and bad weather, but morale is still high, and thankfully no EVAs were planned for today. Alice, our crew Scientist, has been juggling with the many unexpected events and delays to organize the schedule these past two Sols, and hopes experiments will be in place quickly! She expressed her joy to see snow from the Hab windows.
Despite the leaks detected in the RAM and Science Dome, progress was also made in installing the KTHitecture experiment, the objective being to measure the influence that the architecture and environmental characteristics of a Martian base can have on astronauts. Alexandre continued calibrating temperature sensors and Quentin managed to connect them to the local network. A first test will take place during the night, both in the Science Dome and the lower deck.
In the GreenHab, Adrien and I finished installing the aquaponics system, which is now operational. It comprises a water tank housing some fishes and a rack for plants. A pump injects water from the tank into the rack, and thus the water is kept circulating in a closed loop, where the fishes’ dejections help the plants’ roots to develop. During the entire mission, Adrien will be closely monitoring their growth.
Overall, I would say this day demonstrates the crew’s resilience and ability to adapt. Nevertheless, we cannot help but hope for a less cloud-heavy sky for the next Sol!