Journalist Report – March 12th

SOL 23: The calm before the storm

“As each day passed I would learn, in our talk, something about the little prince’s planet, his departure from it, his journey. The information would come very slowly, as it might chance to fall from his thoughts.” – The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Today was our last day of mission without performing an EVA! Indeed, from tomorrow to Friday, we planned one EVA per day, for the last week of photogrammetry or to retrieve the atmospheric instruments before the end of the mission. No EVA means a lot of work inside for the Crew, whether on our computers or on equipment for experiment inside the station. For example, this morning, after a magnificent sunrise, Mathurin and I tried to find a solution to a problem we have with our outreach experiment, built with high-school students, to grow plants in Martian soil. Indeed, we noticed yesterday some mold on the red planet’s soil, and even after observing it with the microscope, we can’t understand where the problem comes from! Talking about experiments, Léa continued working on her informatic code which enables her to analyze sunspots on Sun’s pictures taken thanks to the Solar Observatory. Yves and Lise finished preparing the Kissing Camel Ridge 3D map made thanks to photogrammetry during yesterday’s EVA. They located all the checkpoints on the map, for us to find them during our next EVAs! A day inside also means maintaining the station. Leo solved in a few minutes the problem we had with our kitchen sink. Indeed, for a few days, the water was hardly draining. It was becoming complicated to wash dishes : we are using 4 liters of water only each time we wash the dishes for a 7 person meal, so the water becomes dirty really quickly. We are really grateful to our Crew Engineer because thanks to him, we have our functional sink back.

At the end of the morning, Marie and Leo were cooking for us for the last MELiSSA meal of the mission. The recipe was the one with the vegetable gnocchi that we already tested and liked, even though it is not very fast to prepare for a Crew! The end of this experiment made us realize the amount of data we produced during four weeks of mission, and how much productive we were! We can’t wait to give feedback to the researchers about the experiment we conducted, and especially we can’t wait to see the results provided to science thanks to our mission!

At the end of the day, Leo and I prepared our EVA for tomorrow, during which we’ll have to reach checkpoints placed at Kissing Camel Ridge. We relied on the 3D map of the area, and we took notes and drew to be able to find each checkpoint once on site! It will be the first time for Leo to perform an EVA in which he’ll have to search for checkpoints and not to place them! Meanwhile, other Crew members were working on other subjects that are keeping us busy for more than three weeks! Being seven in the Crew enables us to split the tasks and to be efficient on each experiment we brought with us to the station.

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