Today I took my first shower on Mars. It lasted exactly 1 minute and
58 seconds; I only had water for half of it. And it was glorious. On
Mars, it’s all about the little things.
Every endeavor requires sacrifice. Living on Mars is no different.
Everything is rationed out, even toilet water. Our food is dehydrated
for the most part, and simple ingredients such as butter and garlic
are hard to come by; if you didn’t bring it on your way here, you
might as well consider it nonexistent. Communication with the outside
world is severely restricted and we only have a small communication
window when we can talk to mission support back on Earth. The habitat
is limited in size so we have to learn to live and work in close
quarters with each other.
What’s more, every time we need to go outside to do engineer or
science work, we have to plan one day ahead and spend an hour or so
putting on our suits and getting depressurized in the airlock. When
we are in our suits, another level of restriction is applied. Our
bulky gloves constrain our hand dexterity, communication is limited to
radio channels only, and you can’t touch your face. That’s right.
You can try right this second and see how long you last without
touching your face. How’s that itch feeling right about now? Is
there something in your nose or mouth? What about your hair? Now try
playing this game for 2+ hours and you’ll start to understand what
it’s like to be in a space suit.
With great sacrifice, comes great rewards. We have the opportunity to
experience and contribute to a very real and tangible cause: sending
humans to Mars. If we get selected for the Mars Arctic 365 mission,
we will be the first people in the world to live in a Mars analog for
a whole year in the Arctic, arguably experiencing the closest thing to
being on Mars itself. The scientific research we are conducting, the
restrictions we are simulating, and the social bonds that we are
establishing, are also every bit as genuine.
As a cohesive team, I can’t believe we’ve only met a week ago and as
we enter the weekend and the beginning of our second week here on
Mars, we’re humbled by the experience so far and we are excited to
bring you more exciting news and discoveries along the way. Thanks
for coming along for the ride.