Journalist Report – July 30th

 In Journalist Report

Anastasiya Stepanova

Living the dream of space explorers

After two weeks of on and off rain with snow, clouds and fog, today we saw it. The sun! “It exists” – says Jon with a laugh to commander’s happy face. Alexandre announced in the morning that we can’t waste such a good weather for our day off and we postponed our “Sunday” for tomorrow, as the forecast promised the snow.

Alexandre, Yusuke and I were assigned for a geological scouting EVA at Haughton crater. The guys checked the backpack’s ventilation system, helmets and overalls, whereas I counted the bullets and placed them in stock of our gun, a Mossberg 12 gauge. Today I’m the polar bear watcher or as in simulation we name it “the Martian robot, which carries the gun”. Depending on our mood and taste, we choose to be called by famous robot characters: Wall-e, Bender, Atom, Robita, R2-D2, K-2SO, TARS and so on.

Today felt like K-2SO from the movie “Star Wars: Rough One”, who is sarcastic and always protects the crew. I went out first, surveyed the surroundings and sent on the radio “EVA crew the area is clear. You are good to go”. Yusuke and Alex started their decompression and in five minutes came out of the Hab. We tied down our gear, First Aid Kit and the gun to ATVs gear rack, checked the fuel level and hit the road! Driving in arctic terrain is hard to call “driving”, it is actually conquering the sharp stone, “quick” mud, small rivers and always watching for the polar bears. As we got deeper into crater, we soaked in the landscape. By the time we reached eight kilometers, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The canyon looked just like one from the planets in “Star Wars: Rough One”. Grey and orange big hills with ice islands on a side, little lakes at bottom, green grass, purple and yellow flowers, bones and teeth of small unknown animals. We switched off the engines and started to scout. Two astronauts in spacesuits walking in front of me next to the huge grey hill. I’m in black motorcycle helmet (protection gear for ATV) holding the gun and scanning the area for danger. The whole scenery was too unreal to believe I am on Earth. I was aware that if a white dot somewhere far suddenly starts moving to be prepared for a bear. But my imagination was alarmed to expect an Imperial storm troopers or locals from this hostile planet. Right then an overwhelming feeling struck me: what a lucky person I am to be chosen as part of Mars 160 crew. We drove 11 km and turned back for our way home. Safe and sound, crew approached the Hab. The robot K-2SO was happy today; no threats were seen and the geological scouting was successfully accomplished.

As I walked into our cozy station, unloaded the gun, placed it safe, I smiled and thought: This one day of exploring at the crater was worth of one month of waiting in a tuna can!

This one day of a true feeling of a space explorer will always stay in my heart!

This one day is just a start!

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