Journalist Report – January 26th

Australia Day
Sol 5 began with another interesting convo over breakfast – this time about human lung capacity and blood oxygen saturation, and whether/how a human could feasibly survive atmospheric depressurisation on Mars – at least, long enough to reach and operate an airlock. Somehow this led into a genealogy discussion about family trees, our ancestors, and their connections to Australia. Very fitting, given that today was Australia Day.
For international readers: Australia Day is the country’s official national holiday, observed by all its states and territories, and is one of the biggest events in the Australian calendar. The date of 26 January marks the anniversary of the British First Fleet’s landing near modern-day Sydney in 1788. While this specific date means different things to different Australians and has become somewhat controversial, for most it means a day off to come together and celebrate in solidarity. It’s also a day around which many citizenship and award ceremonies take place.
To commemorate the occasion, today was light-on with EVAs. We only conducted one, to Cowboy Corner again – but it was a doozy, pitting humans against Steve’s rover to compare their spectral capture and traversal capabilities. Humans won (the battle at least, maybe not the war). The team also took the opportunity for a flag-planting ceremony with the crew’s mascots.
Meanwhile, back at the hab, Commandrew was busy making improvised ‘lamingtons’ while dressed in his patriotic red, green and blue (see Pascal Lee’s Flag of Mars). Somehow they turned out great. We also baked more bread – at one point having three different loaves on the go – and improvised some ‘pseudo-snaggas’ that turned out… not-so-great.
Highlights of the day: None of the crew have known convict ancestors, Clare’s Scottish (Murray) side once owned a castle (Blair Atholl) with its own private army, Andrew’s eligibility to wear four different tartans, Rob’s Boer War family heirloom.
Lowlights of the day: Clare’s other side is a family of doppelgangers and she literally has no imagination (that’s not a joke), bread addiction, what happens on EVA stays on EVA.

– Alexander Tobal, Crew 291

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