Journalist Report – February 18th

Sol 6 – If the Moon is made of cheese, let Mars be made of brownies…

“He stood looking at the rocket. The ports were open and his crew was streaming out, waving their hands. A crowd of people had gathered, and in and through and among these people the members of the crew were hurrying, talking, laughing, shaking hands. People did little dances. People swarmed.”

– Chapter 6 of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

We awoke this morning to a perfectly well-warmed Upper Deck, indicating that the generator had made it through the night and won against the cold! After two days of unusual mornings, we were grateful to go back to our regular schedule, with a full-length workout session devised by our Health and Safety Officer focusing on proprioception, and a smooth daily health check. Jérémy told us tales of his previous missions in Antarctica over breakfast, before getting ready for the weather station EVA. Quentin, Alexandre and Jérémy suited up and headed out with their equipment, took the rovers, and went back to the MegaAres EVA site.

Sitting in the Upper Deck, working as HabCom for today’s EVA crew, I chose today’s quote from The Martian Chronicles in hopes that we would be able to give our EVA crew the proper greeting when they came back to the Hab! With this in mind, Alice prepared a brownie, and Adrien and Corentin returned from the GreenHab to prepare tortillas.

Thanks to Jérémy, Quentin and Alexandre, we now have an up and running weather station. The EVA went smoothly, leaving extra time to run field tests on MegaAres which were mostly successful. We debriefed during lunchtime, before Alice and Jérémy returned to the Science Dome. Alice worked on her project to recreate a 3D geological map using photogrammetry, starting running tests to correctly identify different types of rocks, to then be able to recognize them on the 3D map. “To identify different types of sandstone, you have to look at the grain size,” she explained to me. “I wanted to use the Science Dome microscope to measure them, but had trouble scaling the image I obtained. That will be something to work on next week.”

Meanwhile, in the Hab, Corentin worked on extracting the data from the Polar chest bands we wear at night and during the day. These measure our heartrate and heartrate variability, and also contain an accelerometer to measure our activity. Yesterday, they even allowed us to see how our heart rates were affected by stress related to the power outage. Quentin and Alexandre also had their first EchoFinder session, during which we experienced the same difficulties as yesterday. As I was also in the Hab, I kept switching between touching up photos, trying to capture a timelapse of a Martian sunset and offering them some help.

Tonight, after the com window closes, we plan to celebrate our first week at the MDRS by dancing together and playing some games!

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