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1117-JournalistsReport

Journalist's Report

11/17/14

Anastasiya Stepanova

For most people it is crazy to even think of time when you can go outside only in space suits, not having freedom of movement. But for crew 143 it is the breathtaking first steps into long way to Mars. We all were waiting for days until the simulation started and we were not disappointed. EVA experience makes you realize that human can adapt to any condition and explore new interesting feelings. First of all, preparation was quite exciting and not hard at all. The more equipment we were putting on, the more excited we were getting. Extra vehicle activity (EVA) is  basically going outside the habitation module (hab) for research work, maintenance of the station and ATV’s in space suit. Today the lucky four were Paul Knightly, Paul Solokoff, Ian Silversides and me (Anastasiya Stepanova). Space suits were not as heavy as I expected (around 8 kg) and the only hardest part in them was fogging of the helmets. But nothing could stop us from doing our work. Paul K. and Paul S. were examining the soil for different types of rocks and plants. Ian took care of our station and ATV’s. I was taking pictures of their work for media outreach and helping Ian to check ATV and filling water puddle with regolith. Knowing how to fix things without a technical degree is important in such simulations. Every day we might encounter problems in our hab, which may only be solved out by us. You can try and wait for the help from outside, but on Mars this help might arrive when it is too late. Apart from necessity of it, fixing can be very fun. Imagination is a rich tool that can help you not only in making an art masterpiece or bestseller book, but to repair, invent useful devices.

Spacesuits added the last drop to surreal feeling of being on Mars. Passing by red rock, hearing our breathing and radio communications plays with the mind, which is now confident that we are on real Mars. Only coming across plants brings us back to Earth!