Journalist Report – February 25th

Sol 13 – Field Day for Crew 275

“And in certain houses you heard the hard clatter of a typewriter, the novelist at work; or the scratch

of a pen, the poet at work; or no sound at all, the former beachcomber at work.”

– Chapter 13 of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

… or the clatter of a keyboard, the journalist at work! I thought that today, I might take up the beginning of this report to mention what constitutes a significant amount of my time at MDRS. I love that I get to follow and observe each crew member in their assigned work and experiments, as well as participate in their research and lead my own. I am lucky enough to be able to balance out scientific work with more “artistic” activities: taking and editing photos of my crewmates, and doing what I love most, writing.

Today there were many opportunities to take great pictures, as I participated in the first geology EVA of the mission! Alice, our EVA leader, took Adrien, Jérémy, and I to Kissing Camel Ridge, just South of the MDRS. After exploring the area for a short while, Alice gave us instructions to draw the area we explored so that we could make note of where we had collected samples. She showed us how to choose rock samples and test them with the MetMet before collecting them. This instrument allows geologists to test the magnetic susceptibility and conductivity of rocks directly in the field; this way, one can determine the value of potential samples before even beginning to collect them.

It felt great to go a bit further away from the Hab than usual and see different landscapes, and also have new EVA objectives! The latter having been achieved, we also had a lot of fun joking with each other over the radio as we were collecting the samples. Weary but happy about our outing, we brushed off our dusty knees and returned to the Hab to a great meal prepared by Corentin. Quentin tried making bread, not quite up to his expectations…

After lunch, Jérémy started taking some time to speak individually with each of us, to check on how everyone is doing now that we have almost reached mid-rotation. Quentin also started implementing the location tracking system in the Hab to test it out before it is deployed in the entire station. In the end, there will be 10 integrated circuit boards we call “anchors” dispatched everywhere in the station, and each crew member will also wear one at all times (these we call “tags”). Every 10 seconds, the anchors and tags will “communicate” with each other and the distance between them will be saved to a database. This way, we will be able to know how much time crew members spend in different types of environments (bright or dark, noisy or calm, crowded or not, etc.) thanks to the environmental sensors. Of course, this data will be anonymized!

Coupled with the physiological and cognitive data we have been collecting, the researcher with whom we are working at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, will be able to analyze how the architecture and environment of the station has affected our work, our health and our mental state.

We are all looking forward to an evening full of laughs, and most importantly, a restful night.

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