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Commanders Report
Digby Tarvin

Our fifth day on Mars, and I think it is finally starting to feel like we are settling into life on the red planet. At least we have now completed our activation of the hab and initialised all of our experiments, and have established something of a routine, although of course things never seem to go exactly was we envisage at the start of the day.


Last night at the end of the reporting cycle, Cyprian descended the ladder with his towel apparently heading for his shower. A crash was heard a short time later, and we found him lying on the floor with a 'simulated' severed hand and back injury... Just as everyone thought the day was about to wind down, we were into another emergency drill...


Today started earlier than usual, as it was my turn on Kitchen duty, and I had ambitiously decided to attempt an analogue 'egg in a hole'

(what some may know as 'eggs in a basket' or a 'birds nest') using available resources. This involved Carmel demonstrating her bread making skills (and getting up at 6:30 to put the loaf in the oven), mixing some powdered egg, and frying some of our preserved 'beef summer sausage' to simulate bacon. The early rise was compensated by the opportunity that it offered for a picture of the glorous Martian sunrise.


Suitably fueled with breakfast that was hearty if not gormet perfection, our first morning EVA exited the airlock at 10:03. Only three minutes behind schedule, which was a new record for our rotation. Like everything else here, putting on spacesuits always takes longer than you think.


The EVA party split into two pairs, with Christiane and myself continuing the solar cooker experiments at the top of the mound behind the hab, and Cyprian and Dario proceeding further up the rise to select some new sampling sites with the assistance of the airiel drone.


The Solar Cooker were spectacularly successful. By 10:26 we had a litre of boiled water ready to return to the hab, and by 10:38 we had melted our thermometer. So we had to switch from measuring the rate of temperature rise to just measing the time taken to go from ambient temperature to boiling.

And it wasn't long before the plastic jacket used to insulate the water container had started to melt.


While the Cooker experiments were completed, the sampling team had located a number of suitable sites in close proximity, and had acquired data from eight of them by the time we headed back to the airlock.


At this point it was my turn to throw a spanner in the works, and I performed a simulated fall from the solar cooker location. The intention was to test the effectiveness of the carrying techniques we had practiced yesterday when applied to recovering an injured crewman on Mars. My simulated broken leg prevented me from walking, and I feinted from the pain before reaching the airlock. The crew performed admirably, transporting me to the airlock with a two person arm carry, where I was met in the airlock by the HSO who had suited up in the interim. He did his best to provide assistance during the five minute recompression, after which I was carried to the lab area where I was treated and revived in time for lunch.


In the afternoon we conducted a debrief on the exercise, and then caught up on our various daily duties about the hab.


Another routine day on Mars.