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George James, Personal Journal, Mars Society Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station - 8 Aug 2001

Status Report From: Mars Society
Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2001

I got out of bed in Houston in time to get to the airport. However, I had to spend 30 minutes of unexpected time completing the virus scan on the computer and shedding a little more weight from my gear. That coupled some unexpected traffic and construction at the airport, which had closed terminal parking, burned up enough time that I missed the plane to Denver at 7:18 am. They put me on a 9:30 flight but said that my luggage might not make the connection in Denver, as I would only have 30 minutes. I checked on alternative flights from Denver to Edmonton and called the Zubrins. It was decided that I should focus on getting to Edmonton and we would try and ship the remote station boxes through to Resolute. Bob Zubrin also gave me another task during my rotation. I was to make sure that all of the hab module guy cables were reattached before leaving the island.

I had packed my carry on with the minimum required for being on the island in case that was all I had. The entire trip to Denver, I was sorting out how to improve that contingency. My thoughts included the same situation on a Mars mission. Since important equipment might be lost, worn out, or unplanned, it reinforces the idea of having some early manufacturing capability on the planet. However, I made it to the connecting flight and was told that my luggage had already made it. In Edmonton I made it through customs and called my voice mail. Zubrin had FedExed the remote station to Resolute to arrive on Saturday. He gave me the tracking number and told me to contact Ozzie in Resolute to get it sent up to the island should it arrive on Saturday. I had a six-hour layover in Edmonton, which I spent reading, walking, resting, and making phone calls. I was given the wrong gate number for my flight to Yellowknife but caught it in time. We were told that the weather in Resolute might preclude a landing.

On the plane I heard someone describing the simulation mission and introduced myself to Eric Tilenius. The sun went down about 10:00 during our flight. At Yellowknife we got on the plane with a reduced set of passengers and more cargo. I was able to catch a little sleep but the sun came up at 1:45 am. It was the shortest night I had ever had. When we got to Resolute the sky was clear and it was a beautiful crisp day. I met Colleen and Ozzie. We were to fly to the island at 7:00 that evening after heading over to the South Camp Inn with Ozzie. I felt glad to be there (especially since I had my gear).

There was not a tree and only very rare patches of vegetation. The bay had some floating ice which reinforced the idea that I was now in a new environment. The airport and town were all neater than I would expect. I drew comparisons to the Texas Panhandle (no trees) where I grew up, to Indian reservations in New Mexico (small isolated settlements), and to California (desert areas). However, I felt tired because of two weeks of late nights, the limited sleep from the night before, the adrenalin rush of the morning travel issues, and the hours in a plane.

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