Canyon Candor Chasma
Hi everyone! Welcome back to this new report for the second episode of « Interview with ». In today’s episode, we are going to talk with Julie Levita, our HSO about her and her role in the crew.
But first, let me talk to you a bit about our Sol 5 on Mars.
First, I think it is worth noting that this morning we didn’t workout to, I quote our HSO: « let our bodies rest until the beginning of a new week of workouts ».
I think it was a good call and everyone truly appreciated waking up a little later. In fact, this week was quite exhausting for everyone and we were all quite tired lately (at least I was).
Moreover, it was important to rest to be ready for today’s EVA, which was long and physically demanding. Maxime, François, Marion, and Clément went for an exploration of Candor Chasma, a big canyon in the surroundings of the station. On Earth, someone would probably call that EVA a hike, a hard one maybe. But on Mars, with the spacesuit and all the constraints we have already talked about in previous reports, it was a real challenge. They have spent 3 hours and a half outside, exploring the maze inside the canyon. When they came back, they were exhausted and everyone went for a nap after lunch. Despite all of that, I would have wanted to go with them so bad. I’m sure you will understand if you take a look at the pictures they took there, the canyon looks so good! But there has to be someone at the Hab just in case something happens to them. I really hope I will have the opportunity to see this canyon with my own eyes next time.
This afternoon despite how tired they were, Francois and Maxime spent all their time in the RAM trying to make the 3D printer work. Remember last time I told you that we needed this 3D printer working to print a custom funnel to allow Julie to recycle water. While I was interviewing Julie at the lower deck of the Hab, they worked very hard and in the end, their perseverance paid off. They succeeded. They managed to print their first test piece. Tomorrow, they will be able to print the piece for Julie, which will make her task of recycling water way easier.
François and Maxime working on the 3D printer
In fact, Julie has no time to lose, she is very busy creating workouts and activities for the crew as a good HSO. Talking about that, let’s see what we talked about this afternoon:
“-Hi Julie! How are you today?
-Super good, thank you! I’m glad to do this interview with you!
-Me too! Can you introduce yourself briefly for those who don’t know you yet?
-Ok let’s do this. My name is Julie Levita, I’m an engineering student at ISAE-SUPAERO. During my gap year, I have performed two internships in the Space Surveillance Awareness domain. I’ve been very fond of team sports for a long time and I’ve played handball at a national level. Currently, I’m the crew’s 240 HSO (Health and Safety Officer).
-Yes, regarding that, can you explain a bit what is the role of the HSO in a crew?
-For me, the HSO role has three main components.
The first one deals with the physical health of the crew. I have to take care of injuries, symptoms and those kinds of things. At MDRS, the motto is “Safety first”. Most injuries occur because of lack of sleep, dehydration, or low sugar. A good HSO has to make sure everyone takes care of themselves. Due to Covid I also have to monitor the crew members' temperature and oxygen rate.
The second component is related to the mental health of the crew. We live in a station without contact with the outside world, with limited resources in water and food which can be hard for some people to deal with. It is important to implement good habits that make us feel better. Every day, I organize workouts, meditation sessions, and team-building games. A good HSO also has to listen to his crewmates and be there for them if they feel bad.
And last but not least, safety is the most important task for an HSO. Security is the priority at MDRS, even more important than the simulation. This task is shared with the crew’s engineer who makes sure very often that every alarm in the station is working properly, that we have enough water and enough energy. The procedures are here to avoid dangerous situations as much as possible. I, with the help of the commander, have to make sure that we follow them well. But sometimes unexpected situations occur and we have to decide whether or not to break the simulation because the situation is no longer under control. Those are hard questions to answer and we have to agree as a crew on what to do before the situation even occurs.
-And why did you want to be the crew’s HSO?
-There are many reasons.
First, I have a first aid certification and this training taught me how to react quickly in case of an emergency.
At the time I was playing handball, I witnessed many injuries that are typical of what could occur during an EVA. With time, I have learned to evaluate the gravity of an injury and in some cases, I learned how to cure it or make it hurt less.
I think the main reason is the human aspect of the job. I care for people and I like to listen to them and try to understand how they feel. Moreover, I feel close to every member of that crew so it is all the more important for me that everyone feels good.
-Ok last question. What is your favorite part of the job?
-As I told you before, my main job is to prepare the activities for the day. I love workouts, it is a good way of starting the day feeling energized. Moreover, it is important to do sport when you have to live in small spaces like in the station. I also like when we do relaxation all together at the upper deck. I definitely feel the positive impact on how I feel and my crewmates make the experience even cooler by taking it very seriously. But what I like the most are the games we play together at night. Those are really pleasant moments and I like to think that the crew is becoming more of a team each time. And to be perfectly honest, the positive feedback from my crewmates make me very happy.
-Those feedback are well deserved Julie; you do an excellent job as HSO. I love all the activities you make us do and I want to thank you personally for the energy you put in making us feel better each day.“
This concluded this cool interview with Julie. I hope you enjoyed it! The interviews from the other crew members are coming soon so stay tuned!