Monday, January 11, 2010

And One Small Step

Oatmeal and de-hydrated fruit for breakfast. I knew it was gonna be a great day from the get-go. The one worry that was unyielding was the question of whether the generator would turn on after we powered it down to check the oil. That wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying my human powered quaker oats for breakfast.

Onward we went. The first activity of the day was to conduct the biological sampling research. The goal of the experiment is to gauge the constraint that the EVA suit, or space suit, place on an astronaut while retrieving and categorizing samples. Today we gathered samples from a few different Martian locations and tagged and bagged 'em. This was not all that hard, just time consuming. The highlight was the ride back on the rovers. With less gravity the rovers really are the king of the road.

Now was time to see if murphy likes us or not. Was anything that could go wrong gonna go wrong? As Laksen and myself were making our engineering rounds, we filled up the various different water tanks needed for drinking, cooking, and the all important flushing. None of us wanted to do it, but it had to be done! Commander Steve, Laksen, and myself went to go check the oil on the generator. We switched to backup power. David radios in "We have lost power in the hab." This isn't right, this was suppose to be fixed, the batteries should be working. Please not again. Laksen and I have one job here, to keep the hab running, and as of now this damn generator is not allowing us to do that. Alright, we checked the oil, all good. So just start the generator back up, right. Wrong! Its not starting again. That's when I stepped in and acted like I knew what I was doing. I jumped the battery for the generator and Laksen stared the generator while simultaneously eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Where did he get that crunchy peanut butter?

Much to my amazement, with the generator running and online, the hab still was not powered. Laksen then pulled off his shirt and revealed his blue suit and cape with a big "S" on his chest. Without hesitation the "L-Man", as Laksen likes to be called when he's in character, ran in the hab. Three seconds later he's standing in front of me with his fist on his hips and his chest full off air smiling from ear to ear. Reminded me of a childhood superhero here to save the day. L-Man humbly said "Desperate circumstances call for desperate measures!" I still don’t know what he meant by that, however he did manage to get all the life support systems back online and the hab fully functional. Thanks L-Man!

The day had gone so well that Daring David wanted to try our luck and take the first steps on Mars! I was speechless. This is the guy who disappears into the sunset on a high performance rover and goes about the whole situation nonchalantly. Now I'm suppose to follow him out to new horizons. I didn't have a choice in the matter. Commander Steve told me I knew what I signed up for, so "Do what you were destined to do!" I now felt invincible. Myself and David entered the room to put on out EVA suits for the mission. He could hear my heart racing, but he kept cool and didn't mention the fact that he knew I was nervous.

We suited up and entered the airlock. The decompression light went off after what seemed like an eternity. Here I was, about to be one of the first to step out on this desert landscape. All I could think about was something witty to say to David as we stepped out. I knew this would be the moment that kids dream about and people write about, so I didn't want to screw it up. We took the first step and I was opening my windpipes to say the heroic line that will be uttered for eternity. And what comes out, "Paul, I have to urinate". David thought the door was closed and was trying to inform me that he was not ready, instead, he uttered the first words ever heard on the Martian soil. "Paul I have to urinate!"

After this brief debacle, David and I continued on our majestic hike through the mountains and valleys southwest of our living habitat. After climbing for awhile, we realized there were only two peaks within sight that were above us now. We could see for miles it seemed. All colors in the spectrum were represented. In the distance I could see what looked like a log cabin. I looked at David, he had a gaze in his eyes. We proceeded to descend the rocky cliff that we had worked so hard to scale. When we reached the bottom, we saw that there was no more log cabin. Maybe we were seeing things, maybe its that wacky food we've been eating. Wow I have a terrific itch on my nose that I cannot reach in my spacesuit! It was time to take the rovers off of the test track and into the environment that fate had made them for. We scouted the area around the hab, raced each-other, and then headed back home. As we're entering the airlock I remembered what I wanted to say. I told Dave "It is in our blood to wonder and explore, today we ask even more questions, but this shows the great will and accomplishment of our human race." I was still ticked at David for stealing my thunder with his urination line, so I locked him in the airlock for the night to watch some Dharma Initiative videos. All in good fun Daring Dave!

Once Again,
Astro Paul


  1. That's one... small leak for man... one... giant stream for mankind

  2. Thats a good one, the crew is laughing hysterically. Thanks for stopping bye!