Journalist Report – February 24th

Sol 12 – When stomachs are full, hearts are too

“Mars could do nothing to them, for they were bred to plains and prairies as open as the Martian fields. They came and made things a little less empty, so that others would find courage to follow.”

– Chapter 12 of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

“HabCom, for the record, I have never seen a smile so wide on Alexandre’s face!”

I was sorting the first photos of the day sitting at the Hab table, when I overheard the radio communication between Alice, our HabCom, and Quentin, out on EVA to deploy the weather station, MegaAres and LOAC once and for all (fingers crossed!). MegaAres is finally fully functional! Up until now, Mars had not brought us much luck: MegaAres had to be retrieved for repairs, we had to remove the LOAC because of the rain, and the weather station was knocked out by the wind. Today, all instruments are fully deployed and operational! Even the field mill, an instrument designed to measure the electric field around the weather station, which was left uninstalled because of cabling issues, is up and running. Alexandre was ecstatic, and did a little dance around the antenna at the end of the EVA.

After lunch, the food and water resupply ships landed not far from the station, and moving between the different modules of the station was temporarily suspended. Corentin and I, stuck in the Science Dome for a little while, talked about how difficult it is to continue communicating with our loved ones, our lives being for the most part disconnected from Earth.

As my heart rate was being monitored for 30 very long minutes for an experiment, and as I stood there doing nothing, I realized once again how deformed our perception of time can be. Mid-rotation is just around the corner, time has gone by much too quickly for my taste, and here I am, 5 minutes into my ECG, feeling like I have been standing there for hours…

Upon returning to the Hab, I was so relieved to see cupboards and cabinets full of food! Watching Alice and Jérémy play catch with cereal boxes was a very endearing sight.

I feel like everyone is feeling a bit weary tonight: Corentin and Jérémy are working on solving a data handling issue, while Alice is feverishly preparing the schedule for the next week, and Quentin is trying to implement a location tracking system, essential to our experiment in partnership with the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology. Nevertheless, we maintain our optimist outlook on the mission and are glad that all atmospheric experiments are finally deployed. Hopefully, Alexandre will have both more time and good weather in the next few weeks to focus on his astronomy project!

To inaugurate our new, freshly off-the counter freeze-dried food stock, Jérémy is preparing a lasagna feast for the whole crew!

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