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Journalist Report

Susan Jewell

What a beautiful sunny day for a Sunday Sol on Mars! The crew decided to have a Sunday “sleep in” after a busy, hectic week in simulation.

Life as an analog astronaut is extraordinary busy and full of various activities. So a relaxing easy day is welcomed by everyone with breakfast cereals and hot coffee and milk.  Looking around the Hab, I see we are surrounded by many cutting-edge gadgets and modern technology but when you get to the real nuts and bolts of life, it is really the simple things in our lives that count the most.  So, I enjoyed slowly sipping my cup of hot coffee and watching the sunrise out of the Hab porthole window. I can feel the sun rays illuminating the upper deck and casting voluminous “halo-like” glows around the scattered objects and the crew as we all gather around the table eagerly discussing the day’s activities.

Nature is part of our existence on Earth, and the thought of living without Mother Nature on Mars could be a challenge for us humans.

What will it be like never to smell the fragrance of a flower, feel the cool waters of the ocean, or embrace a thousand year old tree?

Yet, as I look out of the window with my binoculars, I am in awe of the sublime rugged beauty and the undulating wide terrain of the Martian landscape silhouetted by the large range mountains framed by the backdrop of the clear blue sky. On Mars we will see a reddish sky.

 It’s really amazing to watch the time lapse film of the crew’s daily activity and to appreciate how much energy we expend. It resembled a sort of “brownian motion” human dance where random movement occurs yet strangely and unconsciously orchestrated and remarkably coordinated.

This, I believe, can be attributed to the crew’s strong cohesion, interconnection and deep bonding that have been established over the past few days. Remarkable for a group of people who were complete strangers just over a week ago!

We conducted another successful geological EVA today.  Our crew team, Toni, whom we lovingly named “Sugar Bear” finally had the opportunity to leave the Hab since his arrival a week ago. Amazing to think a person can live in isolation and confinement and stay so content! He makes everything happy, joyful and life is just that more colorful with him around. We all care about each other’s safety and well-being.

It is so important to be respectful, trusting and open but equally to be funny, silly and humorous.

We had our chance to be Stars this afternoon…well, film stars to be exact since we did some outreach and public relations by shooting videos for the schools and college students.

Yesterday, Heidi and Victor invented a new card game called Spoons.

What a blast. There was so much bellowing, loud belly laughs and everyone having so much fun. Winners could win an extra free shower?

What a free shower? I never thought I would be excited about showers but this is a real luxury here on Mars. If you have never played this game then stay tuned.

As I lay on my hard bed I started counting spoons and wondered how I can win some plastic utensils? Funny what you want on Mars!  Goodnight Earthlings from Mars.