Sol -1 - Arrival Day
It would be way too long to detail all of the adventures that we had to live to reach Grand Junction, Colorado, the closest city to the MDRS to have an airport. Let me just bring up some of it from different members of the crew: a luggage was forgotten by the airline company in London, then taken to Charlotte (at the opposite of the country to be clear), so that we only were able to pick it up 2 hours before leaving. A flight was delayed by 6 hours due to an air cooling system failure, ending up by the missing of the next flight and in an unexpected night in Phoenix alone. A 24 hours’ bus trip from San Francisco, besides a woman, persuaded that Queen Elisabeth was a reptilian eating children and controlling people amongst with other leaders with a red gas, extended by 6 hours because of an engine failure in the middle of the desert. An arrival at 5 p.m. after a 4 hours’ night…
Anyway, at noon, we were able to share our first meal in Grand Junction together, before leaving for Hanksville and its Mars Desert Research Station. Filling up the SUV with all the seven of us and our luggage was the funny part, spending 3 hours in it was less comfortable: the poor car was crowded to the top and we were all -except the driver- having stuff on or between our knees. But the landscape was for sure worth it. After 1 hour straight, we started to discover western movies like landscapes, with single hills surrounded by desert plains. The road we were following being the only thing reminding us somebody once came here before.
At last, we reached it: the station appeared at the very last moment from beyond a hill, almost unexpected in such a natural landscape. The ‘big’ hab, surrounding its little brothers: the science dome, the greenhab, and the telescope. Then, we spend the end of the day meeting the crew 174, made of 5 welcoming Indian marsonauts, that briefed us about our different tasks, depending on our roles. We will now spend the evening and the night together, then tomorrow, have a whole day off to settle and prepare before the closure of the airlock, on Sunday evening.