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SOL 11

Journalist Report

Crew Journalist Adeniyi Adebayo

When you see Mars from Earth from a telescope, it looks so far away, some 70 million km away at the closest. But now, we are here. With 40% less gravity here, it is fairly convenient to walk on Mars as long as you are in the right gear. This morning, we took a very early walk to the Musk observatory led by our wonderful crew astronomer, Captain Marmot (Veronika Shteyngardt). The purpose? To see the International Space Station which was orbiting close to our location. The feeling of Earthlings so close, yet so far capitalized on the dualities of our feelings on Mars: stillness and adventure. Our day so excitedly afterwards with team debrief and breakfast.

Crew engineer, Comrade Lenin (Mikhail Lenin) led a team of four to test the scooping of soil samples by our robot, Marsahod-1. Explaining his aim with Marsahod-1, Comrade Lenin said any autonomous vehicle on Mars should have not only the agility but also be equipped with the essential tools of an explorer and a geologist. An agile design means thoughts should be given to how fast the robot can go, what particular features should it be able to examine etc. For this iteration of Marsahod-1, our crew is tuning the geological tool of scooping, making it as natural for Marsahod-1 to implement tasks that a natural geologist would be able to perform. Today’s test was partly successful and the crew is planning another iteration of robot-testing. Commander Dee (Divya Shankar) collected soil samples from a third region to further study the Martian regolith. The EVA team encountered a problem operating one of the ATVs, which had to be towed back to the HAB. Crew engineer took a preliminary look at the problem and hypothesizes a discharged battery as a reason for this.

Afternoon was devoted to personal research projects: robotics, soil analysis, plant studies. All research projects are nearing completion and the researchers are satisfied with progress that has been made within the short period of our rotation on Mars. We look forward to more productive SOLS ahead.