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1123-JournalistsReport

Journalist's Report
11/23/2014
Anastasiya Stepanova

Desert wind usually comes to talk to me only at night, but today he is messing with us all day long. Cold front from Canada arrived after midnight. Some of us didn’t sleep well, worrying about station and GreenHab, but in the morning we didn’t see any damage. MDRS was built thoroughly to withstand harsh conditions. Crisp blue sky, cold sun lights and geological diversity were waiting EVA crew. We started the ATV’s and hit the road. Our plan was to examine different areas where we can find meteorites, different types of plants and soil. In order to see the variety of surroundings apart from hab area, we had to travel around 11 km. Here, it used to be a sea 130-150 million years ago, so I won’t be surprised to find an oyster fossil. Geological structure is quite interesting; you can find sandstone, shale outcrops, dry creek beds, alluvial fans, dunes, rocks. Sometimes we can spend half an hour just searching for the prettiest stone beneath our feet. But I had especial assignment to find a meteorite or at least a magnetic rock. Every two days I go for a search and come back with empty hands. Some might think why these meteorites search anyway?  These skills will be needed for crew members on Mars station, during geological explorations of the red planet. Since meteoritic matter on Mars is 99 % identical to the meteoritic matter of Earth, trainings like that are extremely useful to all candidates for the manned mission to Mars. The desert is the best place for meteorites search, since the climate has no major effect on meteorites and they can be found with less difficulties than in other geographical areas. Most meteorites are stony meteorites, classed as chondrites and achondrites. Only about 6% of meteorites are iron meteorites or a blend of rock and metal, the stony-iron meteorites. Since my only tool to determine a meteorite is magnetic stick, my chances are very very low. But iron meteorites are the most interesting to me. They are thought to come from the cores of planetesimals that were once molten. And of course the best present from space to our crew would be if we could find a Martian meteorite. We still have some time to make that miracle happen. On the way back passing by Grand Canyon looking landscapes, feeling embrace of the wind I was singing. Good that it was in helmet, because I’m not the best singer. It wasn’t any particular songs; it was just a song of happiness!