Sol Journal – October 27th
The journalist on Mars?
Anastasiya Stepanova- Crew Journalist
Why the heck do we need journalists on Mars? Yes, I understand your concerns, but here is the story!
The year 2013, cold Moscow. I arrived to the Space museum for Robert’s Zubrin speech. Few hours later the world has changed for me. I had an opportunity to drive Robert back to the hotel and while we were stuck in terrible Moscow traffic, we talked about, of course, space. Back than I was simple PR manager, who was dreaming about space but thought it is impossible to tie it in my life fully. Robert told me about Mars Desert Research and Flashline Stations and the coming call for volunteers for Mars Arctic 365 mission.
“Oh, I wish I could go there, but I’m not a scientist or an engineer, what is the use of me!” – I said, with regrets of having just one Master’s degree in Space Journalism. Robert’s reply was very surprising. “It is also important to be able to tell the story of sea or, now days, space travel adventures. All those great space engineers and astronauts fail madly in love with space after reading Ray Bradbury, Arthur Clarke, Robert Heinlein and etc. Back in the old days when explorers were opening new lands, they were writing diaries. Some of them just put on the dry data, but many wrote detailed narratives, which made our understanding of the past so rich. So, if you really want to become one of the Mars Arctic mission crew members, you should apply and we will see how bad you want it!”
And so did I. First, I got into semi-finals and spent 2 weeks at Mars Desert Research Station in 2014, then to finals and now, here I am, being a part of unique Mars 160 mission. I’m proud to be a crew journalist and to see how our stories about living on Mars has influenced, inspired and enlightened the readers. Many people are interested in space, but can’t be bothered reading long scientific papers. They don’t want to go into dry data, they want simple explanations that can be sometimes implemented in their own lives. People want to understand: why we are living in can box in the middle of desert for several months; how this can help get humans to Mars; how this can help people here on Earth? I absorb all information that I get here from our talented scientists and engineers, from the experience living in simulation, from the experience of living in the constraints and transform it to the public through my stories.
Of course, the first crew, which lands on Mars will not have the journalist, but it will have scientists or engineer, who will write beautiful narratives of the biggest adventures in human history. And guess what, now I’m getting my second degree in Robotics. An engineer-journalist crew member might be the next future profession on Mars!