Prepared by Anastasiya Stepanova
It has been a week since we started this extraordinary journey. I have been asked many questions. People want to know the details of domestic life here, and today is the time!
Mars Desert Research Station is a prototype of station on Mars, therefore no indulgences. Rules are rules, especially when simulation starts. Usually each crew consist of six people, have14 days of rotation with 10 days of simulation. Simulation is basically what it is like to live on Mars. There is no other way to go outside than in space suit. There is no other way to cook than from dehydrated food or vegetation from GreenHab. There is no other way to survive than to control water and electricity consumption. Breaking the simulation is only allowed in emergency cases.7 am, wake up call. Breakfast preparation, which can be just simple corn flakes with soluble milk or festive pancakes with bacon, is ready to eat. Sleepy but ready to start an exciting new day, we discuss our plans. Usually our EVA (extra vehicle activity) starts at 10 am every day and preparation for it takes around half an hour, so between breakfast and EVA we have one hour and a half for checking emails, preparing equipment, reading appropriate materials for research projects. One EVA allowed only 4 people in order to leave at the hab, the other 2 crew members need to stay to control the situation over radio. What exactly we should do to get ready for going outside? Put on coveralls, over it gaiters, than special hiking boots, headset, radio, backpack with ventilation system, helmet and finally the clunky glows. Everyone helps each other connecting the ventilation tubes to the helmet, because in space suit you become clumsy. When everyone is ready we enter the airlock for decompression, which takes 5 minutes. One of remaining crew members checks all outside activities using radio. Every steps needed to be told to the hab. The hab tells us when we are allowed to exit the Air Lock and does the checkups every 15 minutes. Outside activities can be: maintenance of the station, water pumping, generator checks, biological, geological projects and exploration of the terrain or any other research projects. Duration of EVA is from two hours to four. By the time crew arrives to the hab, usually lunch is already prepared by the other 2 crew members. Working in space suit consumes a lot of energy and dehydrate people. Therefore, a good amount of water and food should be taken after. Lunch finished, dishes washed and crew continues to conduct their researches. Someone examines with microscope collected plants or cataloging the soil samples, someone writes the journalist reports or just does the cleaning. Activities can be different, depending on each crew, but all should be approved with MDRS. Time flies fast and it is already dinner time. We are lucky to have creative Ian Silversides. He always comes up with great recipes that we couldn’t imagine cooking with dehydrated ingredients. From 7 pm to 9 pm CapCom (Capsule Communication), which is basically the process of sending report, request and questions to MDRS mission support. Every day we need to send: health and safety officer report, biology report, commander report, engineering report, journalist report, executive officer report, geology report, GreehHab report, science report, photo report, EVA plan, EVA summary. Finally when we are off of all the evening duties we go to bed or if still have some energy left have space movie time. That is how our amazing, unique and cognitive daily life here goes on. In the next few days I will tell all about creative cooking on Mars.