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Commander Report
Greg Leonard

It’s Saturday morning, and this marks the final full day for our crew’s rotation at MDRS; today we are preparing for handover to the next mission rotation, MDRS-145. Some crew members were up early to watch the next-to-last sunrise of our mission. The sunrise however could not materialize behind a thick blanket of grey clouds that clung to the flanks of the surrounding mountains. These clouds also appear to have also dropped some fresh snow on the mountains to the south last night, the snow reaching elevations as low as ~1600m. Nevertheless, Crew Biologist Yusuke Murakami managed to capture a dramatic time-lapse photo series showing the morning clouds streaming over the Hab, and our crew zipping about the MDRS grounds completing last-day organizing and mission tasks. 

We all delighted in a spirited group breakfast, gorging on fresh eggs and bacon that were acquired from the Hanksville market yesterday; and crew Engineer Victor Luo shared with us a new slide show montage of our time and activities here at MDRS-144. We then gave the Hab a very thorough cleaning from the attic loft to the lower decks, and the GreenHab as well. Yusuke documented with photos, the spotless condition of the Hab, including the new 7th stateroom in the loft. We also completed moving the large stack of metal grate material from the south Hab area to the ‘Antarctica pile’ bone-yard, and finalizing cleaning up the space junk piles there. Three piles remain onsite by the Antarctic platform: a pile of junk to be hauled away, a pile of wood to be burned, and the retained wood and supplies stored atop the newly re-leveled platform. 

All crew completed requisite testing measures yesterday, after the end of analog simulation, or otherwise this morning.

Handover of the MDRS facility began at ~1430 with the arrival of MDRS-145 crew from Grand Junction. This crew will be commanded by our very own brilliant and capable, HSO/Journalist Dr. Susan Jewell. We guided the new crew with a tour of the MDRS facilities, and began providing them with instructions for engineering tasks, use of ATVs, our current water issues, the HAL-9000 system, CapCOM communications, etc.. This multinational crew of four researchers has very interesting work planned for their mission; we wish them well.

Tonight we will enjoy the company of the incoming crew, impart as best we can the bits of knowledge we’ve gleaned in our short time at MDRS, and ready ourselves for travel back to our respective homes, families, and friends across the globe. 

To my crew, XO and GreenHab Officer Heidi Beemer, HSO/Co-Journalist Dr. Susan Jewell, Engineer/Co-Journalist Victor Luo, Scientist Juho Vehviläinen, Biologist Yusuke Murakami, and Geologist Antonio de Morais Teles: It has been a true honor to serve with you on this mission; from each of you I have learned much. I thank you for your hard work and dedication to this mission and towards advancing the greater knowledge base of Mars analog astronaut science. Your service is exemplary and extra-ordinary. 

Indeed I believe we have all learned plenty here about Mars analog science, technical matters, protocols, and culture; and importantly we have established a strong interpersonal foundation for moving forward together as a productive, creative, and resilient team. We have benefited tremendously, both professionally and personally from this mission experience, and we are all in some way changed by it, knowing more assuredly that we as individuals, and more importantly as a team, are capable of accomplishing the incredible together. 

Tonight marks MDRS Crew 144’s final mission contacts with CapCOM and we wish to acknowledge MDRS Director Shannon Rupert, DG Lusko, the Mars Society, and all at MDRS Mission Support for their expert and generous support of our mission. 

Signing off. Greg Leonard, Commander MDRS-144