12th March, 2020
Sol 12: Closing in
It’s weird to wake up knowing that that heavy airlock door you heard shut such a short time ago was going to open just that evening. Honestly, while knowing that it’s over will be a relief, I think all of us would also like it to last just a little longer. It’s part of the experience to know that you can never do everything you intend to, and that you will face challenges that will slow you down. The job is as much about dealing with these challenges as it is doing what you came here to do. And challenges we had to face, even today. We had so many great days early on, I think that the MDRS gods decided to punish us before the end.
We awoke not only to the thought of that door, but also to pouring rain. A bad situation on clean-up day. The corridors between buildings in the station are insulated, but we still walk on the ground, or, as we had to today, the mud. Wind was howling even after rain had stopped, and the EVA that we had already moved to the afternoon was becoming even more perilous. After four weeks of loyal services to our two crews, the weather station for the LOAC experiment finally lost against the wind and fell over, mere hours before being dismantled. Nevertheless, the EVA was a great demonstration of all we’d learned during our previous expeditions. In hostile conditions of strong winds and loose, muddy terrain, we managed to perform all intended procedures quickly, safely and efficiently. The conclusion of a job well done on all EVAs.
And, some time later, the experiments were all packed up and ready to go back home. We’d been entrusted with them, and we hope we did a great job of gathering data. Everyone in the station did their best, that is, excellent work, so we have high hopes for the results to be valuable. We were just counting minutes until we could say the simulation was broken, and there it was: the outside, not seen through a glass helmet. We all ran around in the mud like children, and waited for Shannon, whom we’d invited over for dinner, to come inside the Hab. She’s done a fantastic job of helping us throughout the mission, and we are all grateful to have her here.
I’m writing these last few lines while she’s here: she has far too many good stories about her tenure at MDRS, and I’m finding myself hurriedly doing my best to finish up before missing the comms window. Tomorrow will be my last report, and there’s a lot to think about and a good look back to do.
Author: Clément Plagne, Crew Journalist