Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Rovin' Around

So I thought I've seen snow before. Well I was wrong. We wake up and there's at least three inches of snow outside. This time the snow was so thick that there was no chance of it melting away by mid-afternoon, and we knew that. We knew all the planned EVA's were off for the day. We knew we were most likely going to be stuck in that hab for the better art of the next 24 hours. Some might of thought of this as a blessing in disguise; it would have been a great chance to get caught up on some report writing, or do some house keeping.

The engineer in me said I should spend the day downstairs getting caught up on some research or analyze all the geological samples that I have brought back to the hab. But the Martian in me told me other wise. Sometimes destiny comes a callin' and you have no choice in the matter. Such was the case this morning. The rovers needed to be warmed up even if we weren't going to use them today.

We actually planned on warming up the rovers, we went out to the rover garage. And there it was, a white blanket of glistening snow over everything for as long as the eye could see. This is more snow than I have ever seen before, it was just asking for a snowball fight or a snow angel. So we did all of the above. The reports, the research, everything could wait for an hour, this was our time to run-a-muck, and that’s exactly what we did.

Some of the crew members were still inside the hab when the fun began. They thought we were just going to be in the rover garage for a few minutes. So I decided to start throwing some fluffy snow-ball s by the second floor windows of the hab to see if that would catch anyone's attention, and it did. I saw Diego grin from ear to ear as he looked at the porthole. He must have ran downstairs because he was outside before I could throw the next snow-ball. I decided to start chucking the oddly shaped blocks of snow at the entire crew; some laughed, others threw some back, and others made snow angels.

It was a heck of a time that could only get better. We then turned on the rovers and got the idea of taking them out for a morning warm-up, like we do every other day. Except today was different, it was not the mundane warm-up that we usually do, there was nothing usual about this mornings rover rides. They were invigorating. Everyone got in on the action, Daring Dave, the Latin Lover Boy, Bianca, Laksen, the rover rides were a free for all. The rovers had little control in the snowy terrain, so helmets were needed, but man those things would spin like a top. Everyone stayed safe and stayed on the trails, we had fun and did it responsibly, the Martian way.

We have just been notified that one of the three satellites that are orbiting Mars is having a major throughput problem. This means that our internet and communications are down for the day. Mission support say the problem will be taken care of in the morning. Who really needs to surf the web, when your daily activities are analogous to the guy in the Dos Equis commercials. I may not be the most interesting man in the world. I'm not even close, but you show me someone who had as much fun as we did today, and I will tell you that they didn't have that fun on Mars.

I know its been two days without any real scientific reporting, that’s because we are trying to finish the documentation for our projects and get everything situated for the next crew. Hopefully tomorrow we have steaks on the Great Mesa, if it doesn’t snow. I don’t always go exploring other planets, but when I do I prefer Mars!

Stay Thirsty My Friends,

Astro Paul