Sol 25 – Let’s (pretend to) save the station!
“Behind the door, the stove was making pancakes which filled the house with a rich baked odor and the scent of maple syrup.”
Chapter 25 of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Only two more Sols! Trying to make the most of them is the crew’s ambition. Each crewmember is working hard to wrap up their experiments, gathering and organizing the last bits of data. Despite our starting to feel quite tired, the inexorable approach of the end of the mission has not affected our enthusiasm. Nevertheless, a few signs that we’re nearing the end are showing through: we talk of what comes next, of our next adventures back on Earth, of our families and friends that we’re anxious to see again.
This morning, we prepared Alice, Adrien, and Jérémy for their last EVA in the Martian desert. Although we have gotten “used” to perform extravehicular activities, and are now more efficient than ever in preparing our crewmates to exit the station, Quentin, Alexandre, and I reminded each other of the importance of taking these EVAs extremely seriously. As we saw the two rovers disappear behind a hill, and as I gradually lost radio contact due to the growing distance, we realized once again how isolated and vulnerable we could feel, especially with half the crew missing from the Hab, and even if only two Sols remain. The Martian environment outside the Hab remains hostile, no matter how efficient and accustomed we have become.
After our explorers returned, we had a relaxing lunch, listening to and talking about the music Jérémy was playing on the speaker. What we had forgotten was that it would not be playing music very much longer… Just as Corentin and Quentin were wrapping up an EchoFinder session, and Adrien was returning from the GreenHab, the depressurization alarm resounded. Immediately, we gathered in the Lower Deck to begin simulating an emergency procedure, designed to identify how AI4U could help future astronauts follow a complex procedure. Two crewmembers toured the station to check “sensors” to find the source of the leak. The emergency EVA crew could then proceed to “repair” the station from the outside. Thanks to them, the Science Dome has been saved!
After the 30-minute operation, everyone returned to their tasks. Pancakes and bread were baked by Alice and Quentin, while I sorted and edited the many beautiful shots taken during this morning’s EVA. Quite foolishly, I was taking my time to write this report, a bit more than usual, when Jérémy reminded us all that tonight was our last evening on Mars… officially. I felt a rush of adrenaline: let us make the most of it!