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0131-JournalistReport

Crew 162 Journalist Report Sol 08
January 31, 2016
Carmen Felix

Lovely Sunday on white Mars. As we start the second part of our mission, we
used this day to work on our deliveries, videos and rest.

Fortunately, the storm calmed down during the night and we slept just fine.
Early this morning our Crew Engineer went out to do the Engineering checks
before the snow started. Around 11:00, we noticed the first snow flakes
falling on Mars. By 18:00 we could see through the windows that the Martian
hills were covered in white. It seems we will be spending more time inside
the hab the next few days due to winter weather.

Mars’ atmosphere is 100 times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere, and it is
made of 95% carbon monoxide. Although the atmosphere is thin, it is capable
to support different weathers like extreme cold or very high temperatures,
which produce strong windstorms that can last for weeks, and those are the
most common weather events that we can find on Mars. They can be quite
strong, and dangerous to future astronauts living on the red planet. If you
saw the movie ´The Martian´, you will remember that it was during a very
strong sand storm that Mark Watney got hurt and was left behind on Mars by
their crew members during their emergency evacuation.

Here at MDRS, we all thought about this during yesterday’s windstorm. We
know that Mars' poles are covered in ice, the South Pole has an 8 meter
permanent ice layer, while the North Pole has a one meter ice layer during
the winter. As today was snowing, it is appropriate to think about snow on
Mars, is that possible? We do know that Mars can form clouds once in a
while, they are usually small and they are formed by carbon dioxide ice.
So, yes, because of this, sometimes-small snowflakes start to fall on Mars,
but we don’t have record of snow ever touching the ground. Interesting,
isn’t it?

Music, movies and Star Trek played in the background while we worked today
together in the Hab’s living quarters. Our Commander also took time to
prepare Martian bread, and we cleaned our spaces.

I look forward to our team building activity at the end of the day. Until
tomorrow