March 15th, 2019
Sol 19 : The end of an adventure but not the end of the story
On the 24th February, we closed the airlock of the station and started our mission. Three weeks after, we opened the airlock and ended our rotation in the MDRS. These 20 Sols on Mars were intense and unprecedented for us. At 18:01 we opened the main airlock door and ran on the Earth’s ground without a suit for the first time since the beginning of the simulation. Even if we were happy in the Hab, it’s good to be back on Earth and breathe the fresh air. Feeling the atmosphere, or walking on the ground, things appearing to be basic on everyday life was something unique tonight.
Mars is an ambitious goal for humanity, but Earth is our cradle and feeling it again was more than a simple pleasure. We realized that humanity needs Earth to survive and that we have to take care of our Pale Blue Dot. These three weeks here taught us that our lives don’t need as much comfort as they have. A shower everyday, overconnections, and overconsumption don’t give us as much pleasure as we consume and destroy our planet to have it.
Living here on Mars showed us what was really essential to live and what is important in human relationships. A bit of cooking, nice friendships, great experiments and pétanque seem enough. However, Earth calls us back ; we will soon come back to our daily routines in France, but we will never forget what happened in the last weeks.
We met on August 2017 in Toulouse, Jérémy was in second year of ISAE-SUPAERO and the rest of the crew arrived for its first year. Then we started working together around the projects of the student association Club MARS. Our group that became crew 206 gets stronger days after days, as we were working together with a same goal, this mission. After more than a year to prepare it, facing many issues, joy, difficulties, we have achieved our mission. We are all very happy for what has been done, for the moments all together, and the science we have made. If the mission is over, what we have achieved is just starting.
Aurélien, Norbert and I were the last marswalkers of our mission. We walked through Candor Chasma, enjoying our last steps and our last views of Mars. We lived a wonderful adventure here and participated actively to overcome the scientific challenges of the exploration of Mars and we warmly thank the Mars Society, Robert Zubrin, Shanon Ruppert, Atila Mezsaros and all the team of CapCom to make this possible.
We spent three extraordinary weeks that we will never forget and that taught us a lot of things. We are more than a crew; we are six friends with strong links that are even bigger than this mission.
Authors: Benjamin Auzou, Journalist & Norbert Pouzin, Greenhab Officer