Journalist Report – August 11th

 In Journalist Report

Anastasiya Stepanova

The daily life of Arctic Martians

Just as at MDRS my sleeping quarter is opposite one of the big portholes. Every morning I wake up with the view of this window to an alien world. But not always can you actually see anything beyond the transparent glass. The condensation inside the Hab makes all the portholes foggy. Several times per day, we wipe the glass from all the moisture. Our geologist Jon is the early bird. He wakes up first, goes out and turns on the generator, put the water to boil, turns on the heaters and checks his emails. The generator sound is as if an alarm for the rest of the crew and one by one people get out of their cozy bunks. The queue downstairs to the toilet, shaking from cold people, yawns and salutes of the “Good morning” – usual everyday morning procedures. Coffee and breakfast with dehydrated milk, cereals and quick oats brings people to life. Only then, people can start the briefing, which is work, cooking and doing the dishes schedule for the day.

The daily routine consists of many awkward and rare for the civilized world procedures. Disposing of the grey water, which is waste from washing the dishes and showers, means emptying the special barrel outside into a pit some distance away. Usually at least two people do it, since the barrel is heavy. Burning the trash and our excrements in the incinerator is another exciting moment of our day. Yes, I can feel your question: “Burning the excrements?” Well, here we do our “number one and two” very differently than on Earth. Due to preserving the wild nature on this island, we have to follow these steps: pee into special funnel, which connected to another barrel outside. When the barrel is full, it will be loaded on the plane and flown out of the island. To prepare for the “number two” first take out small plastic garbage bag, place it in the toilet bowl, do the business, tie up the plastic bag with the goodies inside and put it into special poop barrel. From there we take it to the incinerator for burning. Easy right? Not as gross as it seems! On Mars manned missions might use urine for extracting water and excrements for fertilizer. We didn’t go that far!

Where do we get the water from? We fetch it from melt water rivers few hundred meters away from the Hab. Firstly the gun person or bear watcher goes out, checks if the area is clear, than we attach the trailer to one of the ATVs and hit the road. While two people fill the jerry cans with water, third one looks around for the danger – a bear. When water brought to the Hab, we place it to the barrel and from there it pumped to kitchen and bathroom. Just imagine where else you can say that you take shower and wash clothes in the pure arctic water. Don’t know if my skin rejuvenate after that, but it is good and clean!

The EVA’s take the grand part of our day and usually last from two to five hours. Few hours each for cooking, writing reports, articles, and working in the science laboratory. We still have a little time left for ourselves. We watch twice a week a one hour TV series “Expanse” and a movie on our day off. Some read books, work with photographs and even sing. As for me, cheerful music in my headphones, feet on the wheel of the bicycle, which located in front of big porthole with amazing view to the Haughton crater. Where else in the world you can work out and observe the 39 million year old crater? Only here, the grand Devon island, the unique FMARS!