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Yesterday was our first rest day.  We took things slow, waking up a bit later than usual, making repairs and improvements around the Hab, and working on our individual projects.  It’s been quieter in the past few days since Crew 158 took off, but we are adjusting and have a lot of fun regardless.

Today, SOL 8, was our first EVA using ATVs.  After oatmeal and breakfast chatter, Commander Cocchiara and I drove north towards Picard Butte.  We’ve been interested in determining the boundaries of radio contact— finding the points of static, calm, and full contact within our landscape.  It is a sonic map to match the geological processes surrounding us.  I am a radio producer at home in Los Angeles; my home station, KCHUNG Radio, transmits an irregularly shaped AM footprint, and I have explored the boundaries of that signal in a similar way, only through the restaurants and apartment buildings of LA’s Chinatown.  This dovetails neatly with the personal project of HSO Giammona, who will attempt to contact the International Space Station this week via a YAGI antenna, and with the general tendency of Crew 159 to look for the edge of the possible.

After returning to HSO Giammona’s spicy mac-n-cheese, the crew settled into writing reports and bios.  There was a visit from a terrestrial videographer, shooting B-roll for something the Earth people call “tee vee.”  We’re midway through our Mission.  This afternoon, Commander Cocchiara handed over the position to AstroEngineer Stoltz; the rotating Commandership experiment is going well so far.  Perhaps rotating the role of leader would be a potential benefit to other systems which run hierarchically, as well— it does seem to ensure that more emphasis rests on supporting a whole mission than defining the flow of power.  There’s a running gag that all four of us are alphas, but diplomatic ones.  (I wonder whether all the games that we have been playing aren’t also informing this experience.)

LAST MINUTE UPDATE!  We saved enough of our limited internet data that we could watch the SpaceX Return To Flight trial... and we've all covered in chilly goosebumps.  We just watched the first successful reusable rocket trial in human history...  One step closer to Mars!  (which is funny to say, because, you know, we're there? already? whatever. woohoo!)