MDRS 164 Journalist Report 24/02/2016
Sol 4. Morning EVA was a great success. Mehdi, Arthur and Jérémy went south, where hills blocked radio communication after only a few minutes. They came back two hours later, exhausted by the heat of the Utah desert and the weight of their space suits, but happy to bring data, pictures and memories back with them in the Hab.
But the afternoon EVA I did with Mohammad was a bit disappointing. We indeed received a very nice refill capsule from Phobos station, filled with yeast and tortillas : we brought it into the station trough the engineering airlock hatch. But the ATV check let me in a bitter despair. The main goal of the EVA was to test which ATVs were fully functional in order to use them for tomorrow’s EVA. Sadly, only one of them is working fine (the one Mohammad used to drive a lapse around the Hab, saturating the radio channel with a very professional and scientific « weeeeeeeeee » scream. I swear he will start building Martian sand castle before the end of the mission) : two others remained desperately silent, one emitted a shy roar after ignition but stubbornly refused to move, and we couldn’t even find the gear stick of the last one. Impossible to drive it backwards, which was kind of annoying as the tunnel to the Musk observatory and the Green Hab was just in front of it. Good thing Mars is not flat : we can still go anywhere behind us as long as we drive long enough following a straight line.
Besides, after having tried a dozen times to turn it on, we ended up totally killing the battery. One more problem on the list. Which, after all, did not really seem to upset the crew. We now are a fully functional crew, and we won’t be bothered by such a small crack in the schedule. Good surprises as well as bad ones are part of this adventure and of the life of an astronaut : what was a problem on Earth is now an opportunity to show adaptability, to develop new procedures or to expand our technical skills in the Hab.
Camille Gontier, Crew Journalist MDRS 164