Journalist's ReportSusan Jewell MD
It is nearing the middle of our simulation and I just can’t believe
how the time is passing by so rapidly. I also cannot believe I have
not taken a shower since the mission started five days ago! I wonder
how long I can last without a steaming hot shower, the smell of clean
lathering soap, and the feeling of fresh shampoo in my hair. It is
moments like this, I really appreciate the small luxuries of life…SOAP
To conserve on our water ration we have implemented a limited amount
of water to be used each day. So creative “out of the box“ thinking
and strict discipline is the key to success. For example, wrapping our
plates and bowls with cling film to reduce washing each time we eat a
meal, or using wet wipes to clean our utensils, or having “dry” baths
each night to keep regular hygiene, or at the very least, to be
sociable and prevent strong body odors.
Future Martian explorers will need to seriously change their behaviors
to adapt to scarcity of resources, such as water and food. Living in
a closed-loop environment poses many challenges on the human condition
and quality of life. Another problem space explorers will need to face
each day are the funny weird odors emanating from our bodies and
strange places. Today the crew had their first major problem that all
earthlings suffer…a block toilet! Imagine the thought of living in a
“small sardine can” with weird smells from a blocked toilet, stagnant
urine, and other indescribable floaters…forget about calling Joe the
Plummer. Here on Mars, you call “McGyver”, aka the crew engineer.
I joined the EVA team today to video document the geological terrain
mapping study. In fact, I have decided to document the entire analog
astronaut experience to show how Martians might live on Mars one day.
The vast expanse of the red terrain is so mesmerizing and
distinctively Martian-like that if it was not for the presence of
gravity imposing on my body, I can easily forget that this is a
simulation. Standing here with my crew team in the vastness of the
remote desert, it is easy to transport oneself to the future. One day,
humans will be walking the surface of the planet with support from a
Curiosity rover and DATA the humanoid robot.
Today, we conduct simulations to build the foundation and test the
technologies in order to turn our vision into reality. No matter the
sacrifices, large or small, personal or professional, we have to make
them to move space exploration forward. Our crew 144 is very proud to
be part of this Human Mission. Onwards to Mars!