March 1st, 2020
Sol 0 – Crew 223 : Out with the old, in with the new!
How lucky it is to wake up among friends! As we had taken our new quarters in the Hab’s bedrooms, our fellow students from Crew 222 spent their last night in the MDRS on the Lower Deck, and it does look like a good night of sleep was had by all. It’s hard to imagine the level of excitement from both crews: one satisfied to have completed their mission, and one eager to finally start living on Mars. Alas, while we had spent a year planning our missions with Crew 222, it was time for them to go. After a great many hugs and sweet goodbyes, they took off as the sun rose on the Martian desert. As the soft roar of the CrewCar began to quiet down in the distance, it dawned on us that we would be on our own for the two coming weeks. Farewell, Crew 222! We wish you a safe trip back to Earth, and we promise we’ll take good care of the Station.
There was only one final step before we could finally be in isolation. We needed to be briefed and trained by Shannon, the Station Director, on how to operate the space suits and the vehicles available to us for EVAs. Driving with the desert wind in our hair was a pleasant experience – sadly for us, we will all be wearing cumbersome suits from now on. After a quick look through the GreenHab, the training was done. And, as simply as that, we were ready to go.
We spent our last moments of freedom on a quick run near the Hab, enjoying for the last
time the touch of the sun and the bite of the freshening air on our bare skin. Finally, with the metallic clang of the heavy airlock door, the simulation began. There was little time for us to ponder over our newfound confinement, as it also meant there was much work to be done. Valentin was busy at the GreenHab, making his first harvests for tonight’s meal; Luc, our Crew Engineer, had to make his first EVA to check on the Station’s support systems. Meanwhile, in the Hab, the sounds of EVA comms clash with the clacks of our many keyboards, working in unison to type up the many reports needed by the Mission Support.
Soon enough all of today’s work will be done, and we will have dinner and some rest as a crew in the solitude of the Martian desert. A comforting thought crosses my mind: on Mars, the sun sets just the same as it does on Earth.
Author: Clément Plagne, Crew Journalist