English Dispatch – August 7th
English Dispatch from Alexandre Mangeot
What is an alien place to you? To me, Arctic is an alien world. Aside for the air I am breathing, everything else is unusual to my senses.
There is no tree, no green. Well there are flowers here and there. But nothing that can overcome the harshness of the stones. Sometimes, the top of a boulder is colored by an intense orange layer, like if a giant brush touched only the highest part of the landscape. This orange layer are lichens… Some kind of flowers onto a graveyard. Probably an Arctic fox lives here, there is dried white excrements and bones everywhere. It seems that over here, in a sort of sacrificial ritual, life flourishes where others have died.
We are exploring an impact crater, even rocks do not look like they belong to this planet. They follow no recognizable pattern. Most of the rocks are rough. Their aspect is similar to sponges but without walking naked feet, I can easily imagine that they would feel like pieces of splinter glass glued together. Even their color does not follow any of my unconscious rules of what bed rock should look like. Most of them are greyish, but there are many intruders: one can find bright yellow even orange, soft white stone with tones of dark blue or rough white with smaller stones inclusion, like concrete.
FMARS sits 20 meters away from the edge of the crater. Some days the fog would not leave it. The fog is so thick that I cannot see the bottom of the crater. From the window downstairs it seems that the bedrock is flying into the air, like if we were travelling among the clouds. When the fog clears up, the crater looks like a swamp.
Everything is wet. Where stones have given up the place to sands, there is mud. Finally something soft and smooth but most of it is saturated with cold water. Where there are stones, I can see they are lying into water. It feels like this whole place is floating on top of a lake. Keep your feet on the stones, because they are stable. Some muddy places would feel that there is no bottom and the lake could swallow me at any moment.
Some microorganisms have colonized long alleys on the slope of the crater. These colonies form black streaks like very hot melted asphalt would flow on slopes. These cyanobacteria coat themselves with a black substance to protect from the high UV radiation from the Sun… But where is the sun? I have not seen it for almost a month now.
I wanted to go to Mars…