From: Mars Society
Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2001
Finally this afternoon, we got the word to head for the Hab. But just as we were heading out on ATV's, an urgent medical situation cropped up that needed immediate attention. It was an hour before I was able to leave, and thus my entrance was delayed even further. But I was finally able to enter this icon of the Mars Society, and my home for the next week.
Walking through the airlock, the circular door closes ponderously with a metallic 'clunk' that leaves no question that you've stepped into an artificial environment. In fact, the Hab and all activities reflect an environment of 8.3 psi, 30% Oxygen and 70% Nitrogen: for example, all EVA crews spend 1/2 hour in the airlock before exiting, representing the 100% Oxygen prebreathing which would be necessary to safely avoid decompression sickness (boil-off of the blood's Nitrogen).
Numerous mission parameters are measured here, to try to better understand how humans will live and work on Mars: water consumption is recorded, activities are charted (have *you* ever tried to account for every 30-minute period of your day?), and reports are made twice daily, to Base Camp in the morning and to Mission Support each evening.
In addition, each of us has jobs we're here to do. George James, for instance, is here from Johnson Space Center in Texas: he's here to set up a wind-powered weather station/motion detector/day-night cycle tracker, and also to study how we will utilize natural resources in places where the resources aren't 'natural' to us! The other crew members are Rocky Persaud, our crew geologist; Eric Tilenius, Computer Engineering; Tam Czarnik, Medical Officer; Charles Cockell, crew microbiologist, and Pascal Lee, our Base Commander.
So far the hardest thing to get used to here are the three webcams. I *have* used them to say hello to my wife Patt (who is coordinating the volunteer efforts at Hab #2, the Mars Desert Research Station at Kennedy Space Center), but they're *always* watching! At one point I was going to rearrange my long underwear, and was in the process of dropping my pants when I realized I was DIRECTLY in front of webcam #1!
There's LOTS more to tell, as you might well imagine; but it's 2:15 a.m., and I *have* to sleep sometime! More tomorrow; look for me on the Hab webcams, at www.arctic-mars.com!
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