Journalist Report – March 13th

SOL 24: Mission objective: Save the station!

“The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.” – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

This morning, we headed to the atmospheric instruments’ site to change the batteries and retrieve the data recorded during the past days. The drone, piloted from the inside of the Science Dome, was flying above us to take pictures! Then, Leo, Yves and I went to reach checkpoints chosen on Monday at Kissing Camel Ridge. Yesterday, we prepared our path with the 3D map, and we were very efficient! We found the first seven checkpoints in 30 minutes, but then, we were incapable of finding the eighth one for a long time… Finally, we found 11 out of 12 checkpoints placed on the site. We are proud of our performance, and Leo is very happy to have been able to test the experiment from this side, and to search for checkpoints as quickly as we could. We are impatient to see how Marie and Léa will manage their search with the 2D map, because at the end of the afternoon, they prepared their strategy for tomorrow’s EVA!

In the morning, the rest of the Crew continued working on different experiments or tasks, such as taking care of the GreenHab, performing solar observations for our Crew Astronomer, or trying to fix the EchoFinder equipment. The afternoon resumed the same way, after the EVA: Yves was handling photogrammetry data, Léa and Marie performed an EchoFinder session. I was working on the morning EVA’s pictures, sitting in the Hab, and Lise was also working on her computer next to me. Suddenly, at 16:08, an alarm rang on the AMI interface, so we stopped our activities. We were used to the procedure: we had to check a sensor in the Science Dome. Marie and Léa were already there, so they could check. Contrary to most of our alarms, which are just sensor anomalies, the risk was real this time! The alarm wasn’t a false alarm. One of the tunnels which connects different modules, near the Science Dome, had been damaged and caused a depressurization in a section of the station! After being reunited safely at the Lower Deck of the Hab, we organized ourselves to be efficient in applying the emergency EVA’s protocol: we had to go out in EVA suits to fix the station. Mathurin and I were equipped with our suits and worked on the tunnel from the outside of the station. In parallel, Léa was also equipped for the EVA, but on the inside of the station, in the tunnel. We communicated together by radio, and with Marie, who was the emergency HabCom, to be well coordinated during the operation. We even had a rover with us to maintain the tunnel while doing the necessary manipulations. We fixed the broken part of the tunnel, all in just one hour of EVA! At the end of the outing, we were happy to have fixed our home, and now we are all safe inside the station!

The day was very exhausting for the Crew, as we continued with the Coms window. Two EVAs in one Sol, that never happens ! We enjoyed the evening to rest, but also to coordinate the end of the mission, organize our last tasks and to think about the dismantlement of all our equipment and experiments!

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