Journalist Report – January 27th

Mining and Dining
Milk rationing is now in effect. In practice, this meant experimentation with some pretty egregious alternatives – i.e., Scott and Clare eating strawberry frosted flakes with ‘Orange Delight’ cordial… and Rob using diluted buttermilk pancake mix in lieu of actual milk.
We also experimented with dehydrated potato slices in the hopes of creating a super-chip (crisp). There’s potential there. Potential that wasn’t realised today, but potential. By the end of the day we also got a couple of pizzas up and running, which rounded off things in a special way.
You’ve probably noticed that I talk a lot about food. I suppose this is meaningful in a way that might not initially be apparent – i.e., that food will be incredibly important to crew morale over long-term expeditions to Mars, just as it has been to us. There’s something to be said for the joy of recreating a staple meal (or creating a new one) in a restrictive environment where many other luxuries might be unavailable, and especially in growing your own. It brings people together, provides an outlet for creativity and experimentation, and serves as a daily (for some, hourly) motivator.
We conducted two EVAs today, both of which involved a drive out to mineral sites for reconnaissance purposes. Scott also (successfully) used both opportunities to experiment with a theodolite app to help measure angles between geographical features, as well as conventional analogue measurements.
EVA 1 travelled south to Kissing Camels Ridge (another name that never gets old) and found some great samples (as well as ‘weird things in the dakota’… Clare’s words, no further explanation given). From there the team also got a great view of Skyline Ridge.
EVA 2 travelled further north-east to Candor Chasma and found some good samples of their own, as well as some other curiosities: a fossil bed (fossilised worm burrows and more ‘Devil’s Toenails’), lots of cow dung, plus a watering hole (possibly two?) with surrounding hoof-prints. They also found unexpected salt deposits.
Back at the station, Rob got to spend six hours in the station’s observatory studying the sun.
We also had a UFO incursion – i.e., a car drove directly through the station and then encountered our EVA team on the road. Luckily they came in peace.
Highlights of the day: Pizza, EVA 2 returning early, surprise salt, accidentally fossil discovery.
Lowlights of the day: Pre-diabetic improvised breakfasts, EVA 1 returning late and losing a marker pen to Mars, dodgy Greenhab thermometers, UFO incursions are escalating.

– Alexander Tobal, Crew 291.

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