After spending our first night in the Hab our crew wakes up refreshed and rested. Surprisingly, the narrow sleeping stations and harsh surfaces did not seem to interfere with our sleep, let us hope this remains the case throughout our stay here on the Red planet. Because of an incoming solar storm, today is the only day where we are able to explore the Martian surface without our heavy protection EVA suits. These suits are heavier and bulkier than the regular EVA suits and significantly restricts the movements of the person wearing it. Hence, we used this opportunity to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings. It is astounding that such a hostile environment can simultaneously be so beautiful. To the East the red Martian soil seems to go on forever, while at the West we are greeted with a chain of majestic auburn-colored mountains. The crew takes time to orient themselves, as well as to get a sense of the level of the physical activity which will be required when wearing our heavier EVA suits. On our way back we decide to inspect our rovers, as they will be used in the days ahead for longer distance EVAs. Everything being in order we slowly make our way back to the Hab. As the outer hatch door closes we can’t help but wonder what this seemingly peaceful place has in store for us.
Lunch goes by rather uneventfully. We take this opportunity to go over the habitat protocol and regulations we will have to abide by during our two week stay. After lunch we decide to work on our networking and communication issues which have been plaguing our exchanges with mission control back on Earth. Because of the distance between Mars and Earth, communications with mission control are few and far between, hence getting our com systems to work properly is of the utmost priority. By late afternoon these issues had yet to be resolved, hopefully mission control will have a fix for us during our next check-in.
Throughout the day, crewmembers inspected the Green Hab and the Observatory station for any structural damage that might have happened during the last 6 month of inactivity. The main section of the Hab was cleaned and organized, making it ready for our multiple research experiments that will take place starting tomorrow and continue until our departure back to Earth in two weeks. Our research areas include: the effect of exercise on stress and mood, the development of a space team assessment measure, usability testing of space suit glove as well as an evaluation of the effectiveness of an aeroponics device. We will provide regular updates on these various research ventures as they become available.