This late into the mission, things are still running smoothly for the most part. All of us have been working diligently on our planned projects, plus a few more, and we’ve all meshed really well over the almost two weeks we’ve spent together so far. In two days, we’ll be on our way back to Grand Junction for some real food and real showers, leaving the Hab in the hands of Crew 90 from Belgium. I almost can’t picture sleeping in a normal bed again, or being able to stand on our balcony without waiting by the door for five minutes, or having fresh bread more frequently than every other day.
I’ve gotten so used to living in the Hab that I don’t think I fully realize exactly what is happening. I’m stuck in an eight-by-ten-meter cylinder with five other people, sleep in a sleeping bag, and can’t watch TV or fully browse the internet, yet I don’t even mind. Maybe the seclusion from the rest of the world changed me more than I realize, but if it did, it’s for the better. I don’t need to be constantly “plugged in” or always be in contact with everyone I know, but in some cases I’m still very muck linked to the world I left behind. I worked for a few hours on homework, most of which was due earlier in the mission, so that I can try to start off the rest of my semester on even footing (once I get past the first two weeks back, of course).
Getting close to the end of the road, the crew’s conversations have shifted away from EVAs and what to do that night and toward what the first real food we’ll eat once we leave the Hab is (bacon double cheeseburger for me). We’re already sensing that we’ll be back in civilization soon, and our minds are already starting to revert back to their old selves. It would be quite the psychological experiment to sign a crew up for two weeks, then at the end declare that they must stay a further two weeks… And now I need to go knock on some wood to make sure that doesn’t happen to us.
Similarly to yesterday, I spent the entire day in the Hab, with a few small exceptions: I returned our EVA rescue sled to the engineering/generator bay, adjusted the guy lines for the radio telescope, and snapped a few pictures of the scenery, since the snow had cleared considerably during the day and from days previous. It will be strange going back to a place where there are trees instead of sedimentary outcrops, cars instead of ATVs, people instead of rocks, and doors that are simply by themselves. I’m definitely looking forward to having sidewalks instead of muddy trails, if only for the fact that I don’t get completely covered in mud when walking or doing anything outside.
Michigan State will have undoubtably changed while I was gone. The snow might not be covering the group anymore my friends will have gotten used to the fact that I’m not there to hang out, and my roommates will have gotten used to having an empty bedroom (and no french toast). Even some of my classmates will have noticed my absence, especially in my smaller classes. Of course my professors will have, since I’ve been communicating with them briefly during my time here and informed them months ago about being gone for two weeks. Seeing my family, even if its just my dad, will definitely be welcome, and I’m ready for my dad’s comments about eating squirrels when he sees my unshaven face.
Pretty boring day again for me, with just a few MDRS-related things completed today, but that also means that tomorrow can just be focused on schoolwork (and a possible last EVA) and answering questions from a visiting blogger to get an impression on what simulating Mars is all about. He’s also bringing along his twin sons, who just recently turned nine, so it should be cool showing them all the cool things we do here… like sit around on our computers… I’ll show them the ATVs. Or the radio telescope and Musk, since I am the astronomer of this crew… Or just the scenery.
Right now, I’m just getting ready for our EVA team to get back (Brian, Kiri, and Luís have been out since 1240 and it’s 1812 right now) before starting dinner and getting the team out of their suits. After that, it’s either MDRS CLUE or Guesstures, both of which should make for a great night.