Journalist Report 20 May 2017
Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist
Last night, we had clear skies and not too much wind. I was eager to get out in the Musk Observatory. A two-star alignment is needed to orient the telescope. Charlie joined me and we opened the dome, set up for the first star alignment, and began rotating the dome into position … when the battery died. As planetary luck would have it, the battery Charlie and I swapped in yesterday also died. Hope to get it working as there are supposed to be clear skies again tonight!
We were all up pretty late last night, Cassie taking photos with her 4 x 5 camera, Juan projecting cool shapes and patterns onto the Hab, and even Avishek fought his jet lag and stayed up working on a new Green Hab design that will have a section simulating Mar’s atmosphere.
I woke up super early to contact Astronomy Support since we had run out of our internet data allotment last night. I decided to stay up since I was scheduled for the morning EVA at 8 am. 8 came and went and no sign movement … not even a mousetranaut or killer Martian moth. We all have the same alarm tone on our phones, which has caused morning chaos and confusion. Not this morning. All alarms were ringing, and no one was waking.
We finally got out the airlock around 9am. Juan, Avishek, and I were on EVA. Juan has been making beautiful drawings in his sketch book. I asked if I could film him drawing out in the Martian landscape. We struck off for a hill behind the Hab with a good view. Juan and Avishek climbed the hill and Juan settled in to draw. Avishek assisted him, taping down the paper when the Martian winds picked up. Plein Martian air drawing! I once watched an artist paint in the Arctic with snow and sleet falling and now I’ve watched someone draw in a full spacesuit on Mars. Art exists everywhere!
Juan was still working on his drawing when I finished filming. I found a hill of my own and sat down to wait. Even with less gravity here on Mars, our air-circulating packs can feel pretty heavy and the Martian sun is hot. I was singing a medley of Bowie songs to myself (as I mentioned, no one can hear you inside a helmet) starting with Major Tom, Heroes, and of course Life on Mars. David Bowie was truly a man who fell to Earth … probably from Mars. Once back at the Hab, Juan showed me the drawing of our station he had made and also a little drawing of me sitting on Mars, singing in my helmet. They are delicate gems, produce on Mars.
We may be out of Red Lobster cheese biscuits, but we have mastered rehydrated grilled cheese sandwiches!!! After lunch, the winds picked up and the game of Catan came out again. Our crew’s true colors are coming out. Mars may not have oceans, but sharks … all of them! Especially our commander!
Tonight’s EVA is Cassie, Avishek, and Juan, heading to White Moon by ATV. Charlie is trying his hand at rehydrated meatballs on spaghetti … and I’m taking a shower!!!!