Day 6 - Friday 12 April

Toast to Yuri
A toast to Yuri
12 April 2002

Martian greetings, Earthlings!

Today is a special day. On this day several decades ago, an intrepid young man braved the laws of nature and embarked on the first extra-terrestrial trip. We are all somehow following in his footsteps and preparing for mankind to expand its vision, knowledge and presence on other worlds.

Tonight, we celebrated ‘Yuri's night’. We had a toast to Yuri and other space travellers who gave their life in opening this new frontier, to all accomplishments of cosmonauts and astronauts in the past 41 years and to the future of mankind on other planets.

We had a special meal this evening, prepared by today's DGO Nancy. Special in several ways, as, for the first time, Nancy used some herbs harvested in our greenhouse, thyme, lavender, and chives, to accompany our feast of Olympus Mons daube de boeuf. Evenings like these are unique among people sharing the same interest and enthusiasm for space exploration. We also watched a ‘spacey’ movie and felt our choice of '2001: A Space Odyssey' was the most appropriate for this special evening.

Henry Hills
View of the Henry Hills

Well, the rest of the day went well. The weather was cloudy today and relatively chilly, around 15 deg. C, and the forecast is for worse weather in a few days (someone even mention the words sleet and snow). We will see.

Good news of our various plants. The radishes and alfalfa are growing fast in our Hab living room. Last night, we sampled just a few of them – some were clustered too close to each other to grow to full maturity. The other plants in the lab downstairs are growing nicely. But surprisingly, their cousins in the greenhouse are not doing so well. Most likely environmental conditions in the greenhouse are not as optimal as they are in the Hab.

Oyster field
Oyster field of the Cretaceous ancient seabed

We also had some technical surprises today - some good, some bad. The good one is that Andrea's computer is now connected and working. But, this morning, tragedy struck at breakfast: one of the fuses blew on the generator and the two people on duty, that is Andrea and me, had to go and reset it while still half asleep (that was the tragedy!). And then, the ‘biolet’ was blocked (Roses are red, Biolets are blue...). But you don't want to hear that story. It happened last year in the Arctic, but it is still unpleasant. Luckily, our Health and Safety Officer Jan Osburg sorted things out.

Geologist Andrea Fori observes sedimentary erosional features
Geologist Andrea Fori observes sedimentary erosional features

On a brighter note, today's EVA was once again successful. Commander Bill Clancey, geologist Andrea Fori, and journalist David Real took the ATVs on a multipurpose mission. First, they retrieved the airborne sample collection devices installed yesterday by biologist Nancy Wood, second, they took photos of interesting geological locations, and third they observed fossilized oysters in an ancient seabed dating back to the Cretaceous period, 140 million years ago. Many photos were taken, these are now available on the Mars Society Desert Research Station website (

As I was not involved in this EVA, I took the chance to catch up with some reports. I prepared a Science summary report on biology, astronomy and geophysics activities for these first four days of our mission. So I had a quiet day before this evening's party.

Signing off from a peaceful desert spot reminding us of future Mars,

With Martian greetings

On to Mars!


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