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Sol Journal – November 23rd

November 24, 2016

Renewed station

My first acquaintance with Mars Desert Research Station happened in 2014. Back then, it consisted of the habitat, observatory and green house. Our crew 143 just started the construction of the tunnels to connect the modules. Two years passed and now the tunnels are not only finished but also spread further and covered with white tarpaulin.

I am on the EVA, standing at the top of the hill, catching up my breath and look from the distance to our renewed station. The feeling of being on real Mars is so strong, therefore, your mind tries to find an explanation and came up with the idea of being in sci-fi movie decorations.

Big solar panels, capable of 15 kilowatt shining brightly under the Utah sun. White dome 10 meters in diameter is the second home for crew scientists. The new science dome was built just several months ago and we can still sense a little bit of paint. It is connected to solar panels for the power supply and has the coolest door with a small porthole and wheel lock just like in submarine. Inside the dome, there is a 4 meters long window, which opens to an amazing view to the red hills and inspires scientists at their tough hours of work. Some of us love to come here without a reason, just to enjoy new facility and grasp the view of beautiful landscape. Behind the science dome door starts the tunnel, which connects all MDRS modules. After a fire in the greenhouse in 2014, new home for plants was built. The new greenhouse is bigger and has a climate control and aquaponics, which basically is the use of fish poops to fertilize the plants. The Elon Musk foundation observatory didn’t have any changes, still functional and good looking. The habitat is still there since the year 2000 but the inner part has had several changes. All the walls repainted into white color, which adds a more spacy feeling. Additional room for 7th crew member was built in the attic level, on top of two rooms. The lower deck, emptied from science shelves, tables and equipment, became the space for exercise and engineering projects. In the living room there are new comfortable earthy colored (green and beige) sofas and white spacy looking table. The kitchen has a brand new oven, which allows us to cook much faster than before. And the favorite part, we received a new electric ATV for two astronauts.

The renovation will not stop. A new ladder for the habitat, new equipment for the science laboratory, a new sink for the bathroom – all these will arrive soon. Next year the Mars Society will continue to add new facilities to MDRS and new crews will have a breathtaking experience living in such a real simulation.