Journalist Report – July 24th
Written by Anastasiya Stepanova
The man with a big heart and an alien mind
Today is a birthday of an extraordinary crew member! We are in a bind – how to make a birthday party with limited resources and for a very creative man? The cake and nice dinner from dehydrated food? Toasting with a cup of tea? Stones, fossil shells and corals brought from outside as a presents?
This is how you might celebrate a birthday on Mars! I always was puzzled by the question “how old will you be on Mars?”. Which calendar will the crew use?
Yusuke Murakami, our Executive Officer from Japan, is turning 39 today, but on Mars he is just 19 years old. When I reminded Yusuke of his Martian age, all of the sudden he cheered up and said that this is how he really feels. Young and bold! By looking to his biography you can’t agree more.
Yusuke’s main profession is an architect, but this is just the first layer of his complex personality and lifestyle. One year and a half at Japanese Syowa station at the east of Antarctica as crew geophysicist. One month at Everest bas camp as mechanic and maintenance specialist. Three weeks every year in the last three years at mountain Fuji weather station with own architect project. Two weeks at mountain Shishapangma, Tibet as base camp engineer. Ten days in isolation chamber at Tsukuba research center (JAXA) in four-person experiment.
And just when you think this is enough for one person, the list of Yusuke’s skills continues. When you are in Tokyo turn on the radio JFN on Wednesday midnight and you will be just right at the start of Yusuke’s radio program “On the planet”. If you pass a bookstore, you might find Yusuke’s book “Bound for Space via Antarctica”. He also saves lives as local volunteer fireman and tracking guide in Japan and some of Nepal mountains. At last, he is a lecturer of literature and liberal arts at university of Bunka Gakuin and university of Shirayuri.
At the first part of Mars 160 mission at MDRS Yusuke had several projects, such as building the shelter dome in spacesuit, 3D model of habitat, 3D model of human scale. At FMARS he started new project 3D archives, which is: 3D scan of the habitat, field sites, human scale of the crew in spacesuits, 360 degrees photo mapping. The purpose of it is to help Mars research science team to receive accurate data by easy and quick way of converting 3D data from Mars to 2D data send to Earth. Yusuke always thinks outside of the box. For him Space, Mars or the Moon is the new way to understand a human’s mind and soul. The heart and the spirit of people in every expeditions that he took were the motives to expand his exploring horizons.
Today Yusuke celebrates his birthday at FMARS with a bunch of Martians. He just got married in May and finds it challenging to spend his birthday away from his beautiful wife. But we did our best to make this day as happy as it can get here! The Carbonara pasta cooked by crew commander Alexandre Mangeot, Indian ice cream by crew biologist Anushree Srivastava, few balloons and candles found in the hab, birthday songs, small bouquet of arctic flowers, wishes, hugs and good laugh.
The next step can only be to celebrate his Earthy 50th birthday on Mars, where he will be just 25 years old – a good age to start the exploration of Red planet.