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0307-JournalistReport

MDRS 165 Journalist Report
Tomoya Mori
Sol 1
Earth date: 07/03/2016

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One does not simply take photos on Mars.

At 10:17AM, three crew members — including myself — got geared up in our spacesuits and ventured out into the infinite horizon that lay ahead of us. As a crew journalist, I took my DSLR camera and a tripod with me, and a GoPro camera tied around my chest. I was all psyched about capturing the magical moments of our first ever EVA.

But things do not go as planned.

Just about 5 minutes into our EVA, I encountered a crucial problem. As I was trying to look through the lens, my helmet got in the way. I was forced to close my left eye and peeked through the lens from 5cm away, as if I was looking through a keyhole. Sure, this problem was easy to foresee — but this was a such a trivial step to using a camera that I had never thought it would cause a problem. Lesson learned.

Another crucial problem stopped my hand. The light reflection on the helmet and the condensation of water vapor of my own breath constantly blurred my vision. It was like driving in rain — except I had no wind shield wiper. This meant that I was not able to get a clear view of the camera screen, making it another challenge to focus on my subject. All I could do was to rely on my obscure vision to quasi-focus on my target, and check back once I take a photo. So much hassle for such a simple task.

So what did I learn? A simple task becomes a challenge during an EVA. Now I have so much more respect towards the Apollo astronauts, who wore heavier and bulkier spacesuits and completed much more complex tasks in 0.16G. When you are preparing to venture out into an unknown planet, you need to challenge the norm and think from scratch.

On Mars, there is no such a thing as a simple task.

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Tomoya Mori
Crew Journalist MDRS 165