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Journalist Report 09 April 2016
Sol 01

Today April 9, 2016 after a long trip from Waco, TX, USA, The McLennan Community College Highlanders second crew, Crew 167B, has finally arrived to MDRS on Mars. The landscape around here is just amazing. It consists of beautiful multicolor mountains and geological formations where you can easily spend minutes just looking at them enjoying their beauty.

We spent part of the afternoon with the Crew 167A which with the company of Shannon Rupert provided a brief orientation. Engineering protocols, entry/exit procedures, use of the observatory, use of water pumps, extra vehicular activity (EVA) missions, all-terrain vehicles (ATV) operation were part of the orientation. Also, crew 167B members got assigned their rooms. During orientation time we had the honor of having some visitors interested in knowing more about MDRS program runs. Shannon Rupert invited both crews and visitors for a walk around the Hab where we had the opportunity to see dinosaurs bones. Awesome! Before arriving MDRS we had the chance of having a nice lunch, out-of-sim, with Crew 167A members where we heard about their stories and experiences. During lunch we welcomed our new crew member Jonathan Beechner. Beechner served as a Geologist and Engineer for Crew 167A. For Crew 167B he will assist Engineer Jaxom Hartman with his engineering duties. So far, everything has been running smoothly and a big part of this is due to our HSO, Drew Canham. He has been doing an excellent job working on our logistics and paying close attention to crew members’ needs.

Right now, the habitat smells great! Freshly baked bread just smells delicious. Our chef, Victoria LaBarre, prepared some bread so we all can enjoy it with some butter and/or Nutella before dinner. At this moment she is working on preparing some pizza from scratch and soup for dinner. It would be interesting seeing how all the dried/dehydrated food magically turns into something eatable.

All members are looking forward to starting their research projects as well as performing their functions as required. We all are super excited and anxious about our first day in sim. We will be having our first experience wearing these space suits and driving these EVAs to complete our tasks. Our commander Karen Rucker has planned two EVAs.

Otsmar J. Villarroel, Crew Journalist, MDRS 167B