March 14th, 2019
Sol 18: Meaningful thoughts
Even more than yesterday, we are feeling the end of the mission approaching, today we cleaned the entire station to prepare the arrival of crew 207, filmed answers to questions asked by French middle and high school students on our mission, and explored for the first time the Eastern part of the MDRS campus. It was a special EVA since it was the last of the mission for Cerise and Jérémy, and if Cerise may be back as a Commander next year, it was for Jérémy the last EVA on Martian soil as a member of an ISAE-SUPAERO crew, which gave a particular flavor to the exploration. We visited the surroundings of the Candor Chasma canyon and its majestic and unknown landscapes for all of us. We took the time to admire what we had in front of our eyes and Jérémy was able to take his last shots of the Red Planet.
I especially want to thank him for what he did for the crew and the Club MARS (our association); Green-Hab Officer of mission 189 and Commander of this mission 206, he was actively involved in the smooth running of these missions and the development of scientific experiments. In parallel he also participated in the diversification of the activities of the association, by getting involved in particular in the social opening activities of the program OSE L’ISAE-SUPAERO. On behalf of the rest of the crew, I wish him well in the exciting internship that awaits him and for his graduation, with the certainty that the three weeks we spent together here have forged links that go beyond the distance that will cause our dispersion throughout the world for our different internships and courses.
After these three busy weeks of mission, which will end tomorrow, we begin to make the balance of this adventure. Everyone came here with goals, whether individual or collective, and we are starting to get the answers. How are we going to live in confinement? How will relationships within the crew evolve? What scientific results are we going to get? These are the reasons of this human and scientific mission. We have prepared for a year this mission together in parallel with other actions such as interventions in middle schools and high schools. This is what makes us a welded and unflappable crew and founds all the human dimension of the mission : we learned a lot about ourselves and the life of a crew.
But we’re doing this mission first and foremost to advance science and bring Man to Mars. We spent three weeks in confinement, participating in and deploying many experiments. These had the goal to study the influence of confinement on our behavior, performance, motivation, but also to establish experimental reproducible protocols in the perspective of a scientific mission to Mars.
While Neil Armstrong made the first leap on the Moon for Humanity, the first step on Mars will be made by humanity. The key to the success of this great human building is collaboration: be it international collaboration or collaboration between national and private actors. Indeed, the exploration of Mars can not be the work of a single nation, of an isolated company, but of a group of organizations and people. And if a small number of people will first reach the red planet, this will be the result of the work of many people before them. Engineers working in agencies and companies on the production of technical resources, scientists involved in the development of concepts and processes to improve human space flight, diplomats acting to promote space exploration, students who participate in their scale to the foundations of modern space flight, teachers giving to the young population the passion of science, the people passionate about space that speak around them about this passion and the advances that it generates, etc…
In the last days of this mission, I have a special thought for my high school physics teacher, Pascal Martin, who tragically died of a car accident. This fascinating man has always impressed me with the passion and heart he put into the teaching of science, and so much more. He also had the ability to adapt to the needs of each student that allowed everyone to make progress, whether they were a little genius of physics or a student in difficulty. In particular, he transmitted to me, in addition to knowledge of the school program, a big part of his curiosity for science, his desire to discover things, while working to share knowledge. I recognize him particularly in the two vocations of the Club MARS: research and scientific popularization. To him who wanted the success and happiness of all of his students, in and out of school, in private and professional life, I can assure you that today I am living a wonderful adventure that contributes to an even greater goal. And for that and on behalf of all my classmates he has participated in the success and accomplishment: Thank you!
Author: Benjamin Auzou, Journalist