Journalist Report – May 11th

Crew 261 Journalist Report 11-05-2023

Author: Kris Davidson, Crew Journalist

The awe-inspiring images of astronauts soaring through the cosmos will forever capture our imaginations. They are the main characters, the faces we associate with the ongoing saga of space exploration. While we extol these pioneers in the limelight, it is equally important to acknowledge the ones laboring tirelessly behind the scenes — the ones we know as Mission Support.

The successful and safe human exploration of Mars will necessitate a complex network of mission support. This endeavor will encompass extensive pre-mission training, development, and maintenance of comprehensive life support systems, including breathable air, clean water, food, health monitoring, and medical care. The formulation and rehearsal of contingency plans for emergencies will be essential. Robust communication systems need to be established. Lastly, the scientific objectives of each mission will necessitate ongoing, adaptable support capable of accommodating discoveries as they arise.

On Sol 10, during EVA 16, Sergii Iakymov’s voice echoed through the lower hab, warning Commander James Burk of a sudden weather shift and advising an immediate EVA termination. This instance is but one among many where our crew has benefited from the guidance of Mission Support. As crucial on Mars as it is at the MDRS, Mission Support is instrumental to the success of every mission. With crews cycling through, Mission Support remains the constant, the steady sentinels of this place. Their intimate knowledge of the MDRS structures and surrounding landscapes is invaluable. They establish and maintain crucial relationships in Hanksville and beyond, coordinate supplies between missions, and impart vital knowledge and insight to each incoming crew while ensuring the integrity of each simulation. On this penultimate Sol on Mars, the Transatlantic Mars 261 crew extends our heartfelt gratitude to Mission Support — Dr. Shannon Rupert and Sergii Iakymov. We could not have achieved this without you.

As Sol 11 dawned, the Transatlantic Mars Crew 261 is commencing the final stages of their experiments and projects, embarking on their final EVAs. EVA 18 set out for the Sea of Shells region to conduct the final tests on the Atmosphinder robot and to observe the geological features of the region. The participants, including Crew Engineer Julien Villa-Massone (EVA Leader), GreenHab Officer Cecile Renaud, Crew Roboticist Erin Kennedy, and Journalist Kris Davidson expressed a deep sense of gratitude for their mission experience. Back at the hab, Commander Burk and Executive Officer Aline Decadi worked on the final mission report, a critical communication with Mission Support and the larger Mars Society community at the end of a mission.

Space exploration is not solely a tale of astronauts and their heroic exploits. It is equally a story of the people comprising Mission Support who ensure the success and safety of each voyage. Their commitment and tireless efforts enable the astronauts to carry out their missions effectively, while simultaneously ensuring the integrity and continuity of each mission. Without them, the mesmerizing images of astronauts floating in space would remain a distant dream.

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