Commander’s report Sol 12
Vangelis. The 1492: Conquest of Paradise theme. That is what is going through my head now and has been all day. All week. All mission actually. It all started with Idriss, our crew engineer, playing the song at the start of our mission many sols ago. Then one by one each crew member has been humming the song while working, cooking, in the shower, in the toilet… Basically all the time. Today Roy, our crew geologist, hummed it a number of time into our walkie talkies during his EVA and now my crew are all listening to it while preparing for dinner. This fairly powerful and inspirational music gets to us not just because it’s catchy, but because it resonates within us. It awakens the explorers, the adventurers, the scientists and visionaries in our souls. It symbolises what has united us all in going to Mars in the first place. The music’s power fuels our desires and makes us feel invincible in reaching our dreams.
While I hear my crew singing the song together by the dinner table, it also fills me sorrow and nostalgia. How many more times will be sing the song together? How many more times will we share the “cancer” juice over dinner? How many more times will we start all of our walkie talkie calls with “Bla bla bla, this is Roy” and end them with “over”? I cannot even imagine now not hearing the loud pump go off while I pour water into the kettle to make tea. I will probably spend the next few weeks being paranoid about using the wifi and will turn all my devices on airplane more when it is not time to communicate with Mission Support.
I will definitely not miss praying to the “toilet god”, as we call it, each time we want to flush the toilet, just so that we do not have another toilet-clogging problem. It will be very refreshing to take a shower more than once a week and I cannot wait to bite into a juicy apple. I will also enjoy not checking on the crew all the time and trying to solve the mystery of the Gigabyte Hobgoblin, who has been eating Gigabytes and Gigabytes of our data. My body has been craving a good run and exercise out in the nature. Not to mention my family, friends and colleagues, who have been writing to me almost desperately, barely getting a message from me all the way from Mars.
Nevertheless, none of these things would make me want to leave Mars any sooner or at all to be honest. I have become a Martian and so has my whole crew. We have adapted to our life here and it will be painful for all of us to prepare for the journey back to Earth. We will miss working together, sharing stories, cultural nights, music to hum together and silly walkie talkie conversations. We have all caught some sort of Martian sickness: from regularly making strange animal noises, obsessive-compulsive cooking or cleaning, and simply laughing our heads off all the time. I have not cried from laughter so often, perhaps ever in my life. Our strange way of life may seem crazy to the aliens observing us here or our fellow Earthlings back home. However, for us our laughter has been our source of energy, our medicine and the key to our successful mission here on Mars.
We will be Martians forever in our hearts and the bonds we have created here will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Our experience here will be the fuel for our passions, just like the Vangelis song. We have made the conquest of Mars. Now it is time to achieve the rest of our dreams.
Mars Crew 173 Commander