Again, all the crew of Mars 500 joins me in thanking you for all the evidence and all messages of support that you sent us.
We have followed all the festivities of May 1, but 8 of 9 May and also thanks to news that have been uploaded on our server. It seems that the sun shines all over Europe and we could feel some of that warm spring thanks to you!
Since April 12 and our evening celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first flight of Yuri Gagarin, our days have once again become routine until Monday, April 18. That day, we learned that an opposition between the spacecraft and the Earth from the Sun would deprive us of all our communications (private messages, news and video messages with the base). For a full week, we had no contacts with the outside. We have adapted fairly well at this time that I could almost be described as « vacation ». Indeed, we always do our experiments, but we receive more video messages or written by the scientists are imposing strict time slots or requesting additional information for certain operations. The atmosphere was so relaxed and, in parallel, work was progressing well.
With my two companions and Wang Yue Alexey, we used this particular time to make a bet that we had discussed several times during our trip. In mid-April, half of the crew became bald! I am attaching a picture to prove it. 🙂
At the end of this insulation in the insulation, we had fun with all the accumulated news of our families, our friends and the world.
Our last weeks were peaceful and without surprises. The next two events that will brighten our day is the birthday of Diego (May 22) and our « one year » for insulated modules Mars 500!
We have no « celestial horizon simulator » in our modules but Diego took in our path in the software Celestia. Through this program and work of Diego, we can get an idea of sight that presented itself to us if we were in space. For future studies of insulation with a duration longer than 3 months, I strongly advise to add a virtual window.
Our greenhouse starts to fill out. We eat from time to time some products derived from them but I look forward to the next harvest. In fact, we now have tomatoes, radishes and herbs that grow more peppers and salad.
Even if we were not consulted in the selection of seeds to grow in our greenhouse, I’m pretty happy with what is available. During the training period to IBMP, scientists dealing with plants we have already shown the plants grown in space (the space station Mir and the ISS). The choice was made on that basis.
We have officially left the orbit of Mars on March 2. For several months we will travel towards the Earth. It was not until September that we will be close enough to it to resume direct talks with the base. Our arrival on Earth is scheduled Nov. 5, 2011.
Most of our experiments remain unchanged during the 520 days of isolation. We will, however, some new experiments to be performed in the months to come. For example, we will conduct a study on the effect of blue light on our circadian rhythm. The idea is to get our clock « on time » before seeing daylight.
Once the excitement of November 5 last, the crew of Mars 500 remain in Moscow for all examinations post-flight. « This observation period will be quite intense, but we do not know exactly how long it will last. Indeed, planning of scientists responsible for 100 experiments of the mission will have a significant impact on the duration of these tests.
I loved the recording of « Big Heads » we received the letter 11. I think everybody understands that the nose had aphrodisiac properties! 🙂
After more than 345 days together, the atmosphere in the modules is always good. With my 5 companions we had without any conflicts during this long period and we look forward to continue until the end of 520 days.
As we do physical exercises every day, we all have a good shape.
When there is a manned trip to Titan (or to any other place in the solar system), I hope that the means of propelling spacecraft have evolved and it will not take more than a few months to go and return. By cons, hibernation will certainly be needed for interstellar travel.
It would be nice to receive the song of birds in our modules. Right now, the only thing that I can hear is the low rumbling from the ventilation (and my mp3 player on the other ear! J ).
Enjoy your holidays!
Kate, Stefania & Heather,
I don’t know which kind of format Steve uses on his website but on his letter 11, everybody has his/her name in a dark red color except for you three who have a sweet pink color. J
Even in our distant modules we could admire the beautiful bride with her great dress and her royal bridegroom. How is London now that this big event is finished? You still say « hello » to everybody on the street?
This simulated communications’ blackout fell upon us on Monday the 18th of April, like solar winds would do . We had 90 minutes to digest the information received and to prepare some last minute messages for our family, friends and for the base. I must admit that those 90 minutes were quite frustrating for me because I didn’t have enough time to do all the things that I wanted. Therefore I prioritize the most important ones. When the countdown was over and the communications were out, the pressure just disappeared and we all gathered in the kitchen to talk about the coming week. After one hour, the ambience inside our modules was good and relaxed. We kept it like that until the end of this simulation one week later. The next Monday evening, we received a lot of messages from the mission control center: our quiet period was over! J
Thank you for promoting the Mars 500 mission in the USA. When will you walk on Mars with your crewmates from the AFSC? Are you going to Utah for that?