Day 13 - Friday 19 April

Cougar tracks
Cougar tracks found close to the Hab
19 April 2002

Martian greetings, Earthlings!

This is our last day of isolation. Tomorrow, we will have visitors as we have an Open House. I will be the DGO tomorrow and I will have to find a way to feed 14 or 15 people with whatever I find in the cupboard, leftovers and tinned tuna.

Today was a big clean up day. The morning was reserved for finishing up all work and reports. So I watered the plants, talked to them nicely (as we will eat them tomorrow), measured them up (11 cm for the tallest radish stem in the living room). I finished a Science Summary report, and the report on yesterday’s EVA (both will be accessible on the web at http://www.marssociety.org/mdrs/2002Dispatches). I filled in a psychological survey questionnaire. And in the afternoon I mastered the ‘Shop-vac’, the industrial vacuum cleaner. It took about two and half hours but the place is now clean and there is no dust or sand. You do get used to having sand in your teeth, ears and eyes, but once in a while, it is nice to clean the place up.

Plants in greenhouse
Plants growing in the greenhouse

Once the cleaning was done, Nancy and I went by foot to retrieve some of her vials that she placed in the sand not too far from the Hab. On our way, we found the tracks of a cougar - a mountain lion - and judging by the size of its tracks, it was a big one. The desert is not so deserted after all!

And then, before we knew it, it was already evening - a busy last day had passed us by.

Collecting samples
Collecting samples in the sand close to the hab

Today’s chef-DGO Andrea prepared Nectaris Fossae pot with rice. Again, don't ask what it was. I do not know the secret. All I can say is that there was meat and vegetables, but which ones? All our supplies of fresh vegetables are long since finished. There was also some dried fruits and garlic, this I did recognize. All the same, it was good!

We also watched a DVD together this evening - it was the animated film ‘Titan A.E.’. Much better than ‘Starship Troopers’ from last night, which really was bad.

This will probably be my last message to you from the Mars Desert Research Station. I will try to write again tomorrow but most likely I will only be able to send it on Sunday while in transit from Salt Lake City Interplanetary Airport on Earth. I enjoyed telling you all about what happened to us here over the last two weeks while we were simulating this Martian mission in the desert of Utah. I hope that it gave you some positive ideas about going to Mars as well.

So, it is goodbye from the Hab, goodbye from Mars, and goodbye from me.

On to Mars!

Vladimir

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