Journalist Report – May 26th

Journalist Report 26 May 2017

Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist

Sol 13


Sol 13, our final day of sim!  Hard to believe.  It seems like we just got here.  How could it be time to leave Mars already?  I think we are all approaching the end of sim with mixed emotions.  This has been an incredible experience and it’s hard to see it end, but we all miss family and friends and our lives back on Earth. 

So, today is a day of lasts … last day to gather research on Mars, last day to get footage and photographs on Mars, last meals on Mars … but it’s not all panic and gloom, we also have the excitement of planning out next crew mission back to Mars (hint, hint, Mars Society.  You will be hearing from us again soon).

Last night, Juan and Cassie went out on EVA so Juan could work on a project.  He’s planning to build a runway on Mars with lights and an Air Marshall.  He got the lights all set, but the weather didn’t cooperate.  It can change on a dime here on Mars!  I was filming Charlie in the Observatory for my project when we heard Cassie on the radio.  A storm was rolling in and they were heading back.  We hope the weather cooperates tonight and Juan’s runway is cleared for take-off!

This morning I got in one last shoot with Juan walking on Mars.  I wanted a tracking shot and needed to use the rover to pace him.  Still not an easy feat to film in a spacesuit, but after a few weeks doing so, I’m now able to focus and follow.

After our morning EVA, we treated ourselves to a big breakfast … eggs (yes, the real ones), bacon (also not something often found on Mars, but we had a stash), and biscuits (Bisquick sure isn’t Red Lobster, but we finished them off in a Martian minute!)  A few crumbs dropped to the floor, which made us remember our Mousetranauts.  We hope they are doing well out on the surface of the Red Planet, but if they’re considering coming back to us, we got a Hab cat!  Robotic, yes, but seems to do the job (or at least amuse us with its meowing and purring).

We are all busy writing final reports and sharing files.  “Hey, I just gave you some footage shot down Old Faithful (incase you’d don’t remember, Old Faithful is our toilet) when she sprung a leak “.  Ahhh, the memories!  Editing our final report down to under 2,000 words is a heroic endeavor, requiring ruthless slice and dice editing skills.

While this ruthlessness was going on upstairs in the Hab, Juan and Charlie were downstairs trying to recreate the experience of showering on Mars.   Their project generated conversations about Mars gravity and its effect on the arc and density of a stream of water.

We received a radio call from Dr. Shannon wondering when we were going to break sim and mark the end of our mission.  We had been thinking about going to sleep on Mars and waking up tomorrow on Earth (super powerful rocket!), but it seems there were some details to work out on getting us to our respective shuttles back to Earth … so we decided to break sim in the afternoon.  We thought it was a bit anticlimactic to just decide to end, but necessary.  Little did we know.  Nothing anticlimactic about our ending!  Juan needed to film one last project.  He suited up and the rest of us stepped out of the Hab in earthly clothes, but with cameras in hand.  We struck out across the Martian landscape till Juan found the perfect spot.  We set up our cameras (much easier out of sim) and turned them on Juan.  The wind picked up, Juan raised his arm and a kite shaped like the shuttle rose in the air.  A perfect ending to our mission.  Our shuttle home.

Journalist Report – May 25th

Journalist Report 25 May 2017
Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia
Images courtesy of Janet and Juan
Sol 12
The morning started with fully functional pancakes. Charlie and Janet discovered the recipe to solid pancakes was to use real butter from Earth instead of dehydrated butter dust. The pancakes grew large and fluffy with the lower amount of oxygen on this planet.
Charlie and Cassie drove to Green Mars Canyon this morning. A spectacular Mars canyon only 15 miles roundtrip on ATV’s.
The inside of the HAB is spotted with Earth Balloons from Earth Awareness Day yesterday. In order to maintain awareness of our home world, the living quarters of the HAB was decorated with a projection of scenes from Earth. This included waterfalls, sunsets, flowers waving in the wind, and birds flying. I organized a compilation of greetings from family and friends. The event was followed by a screening of Hidden Figures.
Today Charlie had a moment of inspiration. He proposed we use his magnifying loupe and my lasers to explode some balloons left over from Earth Awareness day from yesterday. Of course we would record the experiment in slow motion.
For lunch, Janet was kind enough to prepare mac and cheese and broccoli. Charlie made Chili and bean dip. We played another game of CATAN, to great frustration for too many reasons to describe. Nobody could get clay, and therefore nobody could build roads.
I have been practicing air marshalling signals. These are the specific gestures used with air marshalling wands to direct airplanes. I have been learning ones used to direct airplanes, as well as developing gestures to direct rocket ships landing and taking off from a runway I will build. We had planned to install the runway outside in a flat area in the Mars terrain. For our evening EVA, Cassie and I journeyed into the stormy environment outside of the HAB. We had been waiting for the gray clouds to clear. Cassie brought her medium format camera to capture portraits. While setting up the lights for the runway outside, stormy conditions picked up. Cassie called HAB so we could be notified if the noises we heard were rumbling thunder or the wind because they sound the same from inside our space suits. We packed up in a hurry just as the very dark clouds were swallowing the sky. The hills behind us started to glow in every shade of gold. Pockets of sunlight glowed in a spectacular fashion in the last instances of afternoon light before the storm. For our safety, we made it to the HAB as soon as possible.

Journalist Report – May 24th

Journalist Report 24 May 2017

Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist

Sol 11


After incredible patience, encouragement, and guidance from star man extraordinaire, Peter (my Astronomy Ground Support), we had successful viewing and imaging in the Musk Observatory last night!  Charlie and I opened the dome around 22:40 (10:40 pm) and were able to finally complete a two-star alignment.  It took both of us, one on the telescope and the other using a laser pointer, to identify three calibration stars for the alignment.  Once we were aligned, we slewed the telescope to Jupiter and saw three of Jupiter’s moons!   We were so encouraged that we bravely attached my camera to the telescope to try and get some shots.  We viewed and photographed M81, and Saturn too.  Apparently, we were pretty loud in our excitement as Cassie and Juan showed up. We all took turns viewing and trying different exposures.  Getting a good focus on the camera is challenging, but we’ve got a few more nights to master it.  We closed up the observatory around 1:30 am, trying not to think about the few short hours to our 7 am EVA time.

I got up at 6:40 and groggily struggled into my spacesuit.  Juan and I grabbed our supplies and entered the airlock.  I think we both took a one minute naps during the pressurization.

I had a couple shots around the solar panels that I wanted to get and Juan was a willing astronaut/model.  Then it was my turn to be model, focus dummy, and camera person for Juan.  Dr Shannon had radioed us that a journalist who had not been cleared for landing had made the trip anyway and would we mind if he took photos of us from a distance.  We said sure, but I think the journalist got quite a surprise as Juans’s projects included things like holding an umbrella and spraying bug spray on his spacesuit.  He was visually exploring things that would be futile or fail on Mars.  I can only imagine what the journalist thought.  As if wandering around in an orange spacesuit wasn’t strange enough.

Lunch was mac and cheese again.  Sometimes, on Mars, you just need some comfort food … and since we are out of Red Lobster biscuits, mac and cheese did the job.  Our conversation at lunch was about power structures, power sources, voltage, and eventually digressed into blowing stuff up.

After lunch, the realization that our mission is soon coming to an end hit us.  The need to schedule the next couple of EVAs had an urgency that bordered on frantic.  It would be tough to get back here to Mars if we missed a shot.   But soon we relaxed back into life here on Mars, in our Hab, talking zero Gs and camera equipment.

Cassie is taking pictures of all us, and today she shot Juan in his stateroom.  We are all really respectful of each other’s rooms as it’s the only real privacy we’ve got.  As Cassie was setting up, we got a peek into his room.  He’s been holding out!  It’s so full of cool stuff.  Iridescent paper, airplane marshalling wands, countless lasers … and Cheetos!  Totally holding out!

Hey, in case you were wondering, our Hab is smelling fresh as daisy.  Thanks to the heroic effort of Charlie, who braved the lower depths (remember that scene in the Martian when he was growing potatoes) and Juan, who assisted Charlie in rigging the fan in the ceiling vent above, we are sitting pretty.  Echoing the words of Juan, “We are naming a Martian mountain after Charlie”.

The plan for tonight is an EVA at 18:00 (just Cassie and myself … the women of Mars), followed by a photo shoot at the observatory, followed by a special dinner made by Juan, followed by filing our reports, followed by a movie night (and if the sky clears up, followed by more telescope viewing).  Think we’re gonna need a longer night … maybe we should have gone to Mercury.

Journalist Report – May 23rd

Journalist Report 23 May 2017

Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia

Images courtesy of Cassie and Juan

Sol 10


Avishek’s ship launched from the Green River space center at at 00:50 AM and is currently en route to London, Earth. We are down to four crewmembers.

We made real scrambled eggs, with real bacon. Lunch is pasta with meat sauce, with chicken melt quesadillas. Yes, we are ambitious.

Today is depressurization day. We have not planned any EVA’s for today to catch up on our responsibilities we’ve been falling behind, like sleeping followed by more sleeping.

Yesterday was crazy busy at MDRS. We were out of simulation. The HAB was the site of a media visit with a sizeable army of camera men and television people. They overwhelmed our space toilet facilities.

Janet’s been checking the telescope to see if her and Charlie can get it up and running to see Jupiter this evening. Today the crew filled out a Mars Census/Customs forms. Everyone was out in the observatory. Charlie and Janet are aiming the telescope at Jupiter, and trying to photograph some galaxies. Charlie choses from a list of galaxies on my stargazing app to aim the telescope at. Cassie took some spectacular long exposure photographs of us in the telescope dome at a mind-bending ISO of 25,000! I brought out every color laser I own.


Please enjoy a snippet of our daily banter.

C:  How’s the toilet doing?

J:   She’s fine.


C:  She’s been feeling crappy all morning.

*more laughter*

Journalist Report – May 22nd

Journalist Report 22 May 2017

Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist

Sol 9


You’ll never believe who came to visit us today on Mars … Ozzy Ozbourne and his son Jack!  Who knew that we’d have celebrity guests here on Mars! 

It was a long and arduous journey for them to travel all the way from earth just to visit us, but they did!  And they brought a film crew with them.  We’ve been so isolated up here on Mars that it seemed like suddenly hundreds of people descended upon us.  It was actually just over a dozen and they came with their own catering crew, leaving us to fend for ourselves in our freeze-dried pantry.  They bustled about with honking cameras, boom mikes, asking us to sign stacks of releases, and wiring us and our Hab up for sound and with GoPros.  The amount of equipment made our crew’s tech table of a few days ago seem pretty miniscule.  We’re not supposed to say what this is all for, but suffice it to say that MDRS and Crew 181 may show up on your TV screens sometime in the future.

While it was exciting, it was also disrupting.  We had to go out of sim for the day.  We and the Mars Society are eager to get information out about this amazing experiment being conducted up here on the Red Planet!  PR is part of every mission, so we knew there would probably be a break in sim, but it was eerie stepping out the front airlock without a spacesuit.  Just in the week we’ve spent here on Mars, we’ve become conditioned that no suit outside means no survival! 

Iron Man Ozzy was super nice, as was his son Jack, and they were truly interested in both the science and the art being conducted here.  We even had a private concert on harmonica from the Black Sabbath lead man himself! 

The experience left a lasting effect on us all … including on our toilet.  The history of toilets here on Mars has been a trial and error kind of thing … from wax linings meant to burn each individual deposit, to low flow which required multiple flushing during the act.  Rumor has it one model even exploded!  Ours has a trusty affair, but not necessarily meant to handle a large film crew. We thought it was just an overtaxed odor problem, but we have since learned that it is a leak.  We are all on hold … literally! … until we figure out the problem.  Stay tuned…

Sadly, we have lost one of our crewmembers.  Avishek had to head back to the UK and his PhD program.  He asked Cassie if he could go on one more EVA, so Cassie, Charlie, and Avishek warmed up the AVTs early in the morning and struck off for one last sunrise EVA before the Ozbournes arrived.

After Ozbournes, crew, and caterers were packed up and blasted off back to Earth, Cassie and Juan transported Avisheck to the location of his launch (about an hour and a half away).  We are all sad to see Avishek go.  He has been a great crewmember and friend.  We have all enjoyed his conversation, innovation, research, and cooking!!!  We wish him a safe and speedy return to Earth.

Journalist Report – May 21st

Journalist Report 21 May 2017

Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia

Images courtesy of Janet and Juan

Sol 8

Janet is the inventor of Tuna melt quesadillas on Mars. So we’ve named a mountain range after her in homage.

The morning EVA was an adventure to a spectacular area called Galileo Road according to the crew that went. So spectacular, that Avishek was invested in going back for his final EVA this afternoon.

The inside of the GreenHAB was 188° Fahrenheit. I immediately rushed to tell the crew, where several of us rushed into the GreenHAB to experience the surface of Mars without a space suit. Janet, Cassie, and I turned it into an artist sauna. 188° feels like a pressing yet comfortable heat. It makes one feel sleepy. One could fall asleep and stay asleep permanently in the GreenHAB. One is slowly roasted in the soothing warmth of the concentrated desert sun.

We have rescheduled the evening EVA because a riveting thunderstorm rolled up on the HAB leaving muddy ground not apt for astronaut ATV rides. The sky was invaded by dark gray clouds. The mountains vanished vanished from the sky. The back airlock door became nearly impossible to open with the winds. We certainly became concerned, if Charlie rushes out concerned, then we take the trouble seriously.  The wind pummeled the East side of the HAB, where a panel started making a horrible noise because it had become loose. The tunnels and observatory dome swayed in the wind. The weather is back and forth today, beautiful morning, cloudy 188° in the GreenHAB weather at midday, followed by thunderstorm and howling winds, and now we’re back to beautiful skies in the evening.

The meat of the day was in a 6-hour long marathon of the land building game CATAN. It’s essentially monopoly and Risk combined, but better than both. So invigorating was the game that as soon as we ended the first one, we immediately started a new one. Charlie won both times. After the first game, an alliance was formed between Janet, Cassie and myself to put an end to his tyrannical expansion. At a decisive moment in the game, Cassie laid down roads in a key location on the game board, forever more after that moment the history of the game was split into pre-Cassie and post-Cassie’s colonization.

Janet is the expert on Musk observatory domes on the entire planet. She has been troubleshooting the telescope for days now, with the help of Dave from ground control. Charlie has been troubleshooting the water heater with the greatest effort as well. Fortunately, he did have the pleasure of winning two games of CATAN in a row.

Journalist Report – May 20th

Journalist Report 20 May 2017

Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist

Sol 7

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!!!!


Journalist Report – May 19th

Journalist Report 19 May 2017

Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist

Sol 6

Cassie, Olly, Charlie, and I all woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the sun rise on EVA.  We were suited up and out the airlock by 6 am.  The light was incredible, and for a few short minutes we all basked in the first glow of the sun.  Cameras out and running, the sun made its appearance over the Martian horizon to great fanfare.  And then it all went dark … well, not really dark, but cloudy.  Between the cool temperature outside (which was perfect for Charlie’s thermal imager), and us moving about, our breath caused intense condensation inside the helmets.  For all intents and purposes, we were blind.  If someone moved more than 5 to 10 feet away from you, even in our bright orange spacesuits, they would vanish from sight.  We all valiantly kept filming and shooting, just pointing our cameras in different directions, hoping another crewmember or a stunning view was out there.  Lucky for us, the Martian landscape presents a wealth of stunning views, so we all came back with at least a couple good shots.

The early rise was especially hard as we’ve been enjoying movies at night.  Last night was Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind … none of us remember it being quite that long.  Post-EVA, Cassie and I crept back into our staterooms for a little more shut eye, leaving Charlie and Olly to solve the problems of the worlds, our new one and the one we left behind on Earth.

Once everyone was up and moving (for the second time, for some of us) we settled into our projects while Juan wrestled up something in the kitchen (after wrestling yet another massive Martian bug in his stateroom!)  We have found winged extraterrestrials that like to dwell in our staterooms.  We also discovered that we had some stowaways on our spaceship.  Our fellow mousetranauts took up residence in the Hab alongside us, but eventually (with a bit of convincing from crew 181) have moved on to settle a new Mousetian colony of their own.

Before lunch, the Hab filled with the smell of cut wood … and then the smell of burning wood.  Avishek was constructing a model.  Unfortunately, many of the tools here at the Hab are showing their end of the season usage and burn through the wood rather than cut it.

After lunch (from Juan … mac and cheese, rehydrated peas) we participated in one of Avishek’s projects.  He’s interested in designing an ideal Martian habitat.  We were all too willing to contribute ideas, everything from sound proofing insulation between the staterooms and gray water recycling systems, to goats and a swimming pool. 

I’ve been dying to use the observatory!  It was no easy feat to pass the test required to become crew Astronomer so I now want to flex my astronomy muscles.  It’s been so windy and cloudy that I haven’t been able to try any viewing and imaging.  Yesterday, during a calm moment, I went out to familiarize myself with the observatory.  I opened the top of the observatory, which slides open to reveal the sky, and then tried the rotating mechanism.  It clicked and clicked, but no movement.  I restarted the power and tried again, still to no avail.  I emailed Peter, my astronomy ground support back on earth.  He thought it sounded like a dead battery.  Charlie brought the voltage checker out and after checking voltage and consideration of the two replacement batteries that were both low, we swapped the stronger one in and let it charge for a bit.  We now have a rotating dome!  Now we just need a clear, calm night.

Avishek, Cassie, and I had an interesting discussion about the relationship between art and science and interdisciplinary approaches to space as well as to problem solving in general.  Avishek is creative and worries that a life in the sciences will not fulfill him the way a life in the arts might.  He wants to find a way to combine both the left and right sides of his brain.  Cassie and I talked about personal rewards and the freedom art gives you, the ability to pursue, really, whatever you want.  Both of us accept our role of being outsiders or witnesses, but strongly appreciate opportunities like MDRS where we are active participants and can engage in differing methods of research and implementation.

This evenings EVA was an all artist event.  We were on foot and willing models for each other.  Very productive for all.  Sadly, our honorary crew member, Olly will be leaving us, heading back to the UK (which is a long journey from Mars).  We look forward to keeping in touch with him upon his return to Earth … in about seven months.

Journalist Report – May 18th

Journalist Report 16 May 2017

Prepared by Janet Biggs, Crew Co-Journalist

Sol 5


After our pep talk from Dr. Shannon and our own crew heart to heart yesterday, we woke up with a renewed sense of purpose … and then settled into our usual spots around the Hab living quarters to read and write (perhaps a bit deflated when we discovered that there are no more Red Lobster biscuits).  While we are all completely committed to our individual projects, it is hard not to feel like you’re waiting for the next EVA.  The EVAs are so extraordinary and incredible!  But for now, there’s are pancakes!!!

Ok, pancakes are gone so back to what I was saying … We’ve been talking about the trajectory of our mission, what we want to accomplish, and also about the third quarter effect.  Applicable to sports games, academia, marriage, and even Mars, you come in bursting with enthusiasm and then about two thirds of the way through it starts to feel like work.  Happily, we are nowhere close to the third quarter yet so we are enjoying our Martian honeymoon. 

Because our crew is heavy on the arts, ground support is allowing us to schedule two EVAs today so we get more time out in the Martian landscape to film, shoot, and draw.  But for now, we are over the moon as we just received our mission patches!!!  We have had temporary patches until now.  It seems that there was a manufacturing delay on earth, and then the time to travel to Mars (Mars seems to be a new delivery destination for UPS), but they’re here and they’re super cool!  

More pancakes … got to go!

OK, back.  Our morning EVA was Cassie, Juan, and Avishek.  They struck off on foot at 11:00 for URC South Site.   The EVA was scheduled until 12:30.   By the time they got back, they were soaked and exhausted. Inside the spacesuits, Mars was hot today!  After lots of hydration and lunch all three EVA crewmembers tucked into their staterooms for naps.

Before she crashed, Cassie showed us some images of the University Rover Competition that’s held here at MRDS and run by the Mars Society.  Teams from all over the world put their rover designs through their paces, including obstacle courses and bringing tools to an astronaut, to picking up a fuel can and refilling another rover.  Some crashed and burned (literally), but most rolled to the challenge.  The designs and

We have a MRDS schedule posted that shows EVA times and our chores rotation (including days off which means a day with a shower!!!  Although still no hot water).  While half the crew slept, the rest of us, did dishes, swept, and mopped.  Martian dust gets into everything so you’ve got to keep on top of it.

We just got back from my first EVA on ATVs.  It is the most fun I’ve ever had … and serious research of course … but the most fun!!!  Just incredible to be in full suit (no one can hear you when you’re yelling YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH in shear joy) in this most beautiful Martian landscape, as the light changes and we turn from the sun.  A memory to hold forever!

Journalist Report – May 17th

Journalist Report 15 May 2017
Prepared by Juan Jose Garcia
Images courtesy of Juan and Avishek
Sol 4
We have officially run out of Red lobster biscuits. Capcom will parachute us more in the coming days.
Today marks a change in the mission of crew 181. Shannon came by to give a planet-sized pep talk. She has returned from getting her PhD. She has also recently discovered yet another dinosaur fossil. Possibly the Utah velociraptor.
Shannon delighted us with her anecdotes and history on MDRS. How to identify a rattlesnake by its diamond shaped head. Informed us that there are plenty more snakes by the dinosaur pit. Apparently this area is littered with dinosaur remains. She told us about the future plans of the HAB, including converting a helicopter body into a parking area for the all terrain vehicles. When using the ATV’s, that we should not do like previous crews who park too close to each other on missions, “you’ve got the whole damn planet” to park.
Last night we saw the film Alien. It was interesting to see how our experiences here at the base resemble the Communications between the captain and the crew, the airlock system, how the characters in the film shared their futuristic-looking meals together, the similarities of their suits to ours and the dynamics of their Extra Vehicular Activities.
It’s interesting to see how the characters rely on the computer for questions, like us. One of the characters asks the Siri-like computer, “what are my chances of surviving?” (the alien of course) and the computer replied, does not compute.
As a group we definitely have more clarity on the opportunities here and have more freedom to structure our mission in pursuit of our goals.
Then came our EVA.
It was absolutely exceptional. Charlie, Cassie, Juan and Avishek took the ATV’s an hour long drive passing through every variety of terrain. Hills of dirt, plains of rock, curving roads between jagged boulders. Video games aspire to do what we experienced today. Too many scenic moments to stop and take a photo.  
At one point, the horizon went forever both left and right only to be interrupted by an astronaut on a rover and a snowy peaked mountain dominating the distance.
We looked like we were on horsebacks with headlights in between red hills. I wish someone recorded my reaction, just pure laughter and delight on the rover. Pictures cannot do the experience justice. In this desert terrain, our reliance on each other as a team becomes even more apparent. The red dirt, the dramatic jagged rock formations the more one felt to be absolutely roving on Mars. The bone chilling wind numbed our fingers.
Riding back to the HAB was much faster because we all had more experience on the rovers. The white dome peaked through the terrain eventually. Olly’s voice upon our arrival made the communications with the HAB upon our approach seem very official. Like the control tower at an airport. Our expedition concluded with a very healthy dinner prepared by Olly and Janet.