Journalist Report – March 15th

SOL 26: A New Chapter

“At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives.” – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

We started the day knowing very well that it would be our last morning in simulation… We took full advantage of our last workout session, during which Lise compiled all of the Crew’s favorite exercises! All Crew members loved the workout. As it had rained all night, and continued throughout the day, the weather conditions didn’t allow us to perform the scheduled EVA. During this EVA, we wanted to dismantle atmospheric instruments and bring them back to the station, but we couldn’t: the conditions were too muddy. In addition, because of the lack of sunlight, the solar panel providing energy to the station was not efficient enough, so we had to spend the day in the dark, to save electricity! The mood was very different than usual: EVA cancelled, lights off, the end of the simulation getting closer and closer… However, we had a lot of things to do to keep our minds occupied! We took advantage of being all together at the station to start and organize our luggage, to store and clean all the modules. We have a lot of equipment, we have to be careful in not forgetting anything!

Despite all of this, the last sessions of the neuroergonomics experiment and the last cognitive tests took place this morning. It is the end of studies and experiments for Crew 293! We are proud of all the experiments we led and all of the data we managed to generate.

We had fixed 4 P.M as the end of simulation time, to retrieve atmospheric instruments. We opened the airlock: we were officially back on Earth! Wearing our black flight suits to be protected from the mud, we could breathe Earth’s air as much as we wanted. We under-estimated the happiness this recovered sensation would create! But we had no time to lose: the atmospheric instruments were waiting to be dismantled! Kneeling in the wet dirt, we dismantled and brought everything back to the station. In the Lower Deck, we cleaned everything (included ourselves!) and continued putting all of equipment safely away.

Even though the simulation is over, atmosphere is joyful in the station between Crewmembers! It is the end of the mission in the station, but we still have a lot of work to do. Ending the simulation doesn’t mean that the research stops! We still have to handle data, give feedback about results and procedures to researchers, and much, much more… In the end, the end of the simulation is just the beginning of a new chapter for Crew 293!

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