Today was our final EVA! We arose at the normal time (around 7, earlier for some), had breakfast, and immediately started prepping for our EVA. Three crew members left the Hab initially to carry out the daily engineering tasks, and then we performed some more data collection using the Phoenix rover which is here at the hab.
We were then joined by two additional crew members for a hike to the top of the hill behind the Hab, which afforded us fantastic views of the surrounding terrain. The weather was beautiful, clear and sunny - a stark contrast to when we first arrived here and the desert was covered in snow. We lingered at the top for quite a while, taking in the view and reflecting on our time here at MDRS. Tonight we start packing up, and tomorrow crew 148 will arrive and we will perform handover operations.
This has been an incredible experience for all of us. For me, this is the closest I will ever get to going to Mars, although I suspect some of my fellow crew members could be on the first real mission. I’ve experienced the feeling of living in a remote environment, largely isolated from the rest of the world and with restricted communications with my family and friends. I have learnt something of the challenges of working in an EVA suit, and living with restricted resources. We have all learnt that we can in fact live without having a shower every day. And I have learnt what it’s like to be confined to a small building with six other people, unable to step outside and take a breath whenever I like. I have learnt resilience, and that I can live without a lot of things I normally have. I have also learnt that there are some things I simply cannot live without, like coffee. Mostly I have learnt the importance of having the right team. We had an awesome mix of backgrounds, skills, and personalities, and everyone contributed equally to the success of our mission. I am genuinely impressed with how well we all performed on this mission, and that there was nothing of the tension or interpersonal issues that I would have expected in a crew of seven living and working in a confined environment under trying conditions.
I’d like to thank MDRS mission support for all of their help during our rotation, and in particular Shannon Rupert, Director of mission support for meeting us in person at the Hab on our arrival.
This is crew journalist Andrew Henry, signing off for the final time. Wherever you are, and in whatever you’re doing, good luck and Godspeed!