It is a frequent question we’re asked, what an analog astronaut day looks like? How it is to be an analog astronaut? How it is to live inside the isolated space, with the same group of people, with almost no communication with the outside world?
How do I feel as an analog astronaut? I feel good!
Our everyday life is governed by the schedule, which is prepared daily by the Mission Control. Sometimes, the MCC wakes us up with a song, when the LED light system simulates the sunrise. Or we wake up by ourselves. Usually, we want to sleep much more than scheduled, you know, but, anyway, we are allowed to have a nap during the day, so, I think, it is not a big problem for us.
By the way, I’m not the most sleeper in this habitat.
Once we’re woken up, we perform basic medical check, such as body temperature, weight and heart rate. During this mission we also conduct the subjective time perception experiment test. We also have to measure our urine, and guess what, we have a procedure for that…
Anyway, we note the results to our notebooks, and then, we start preparing the breakfast.
We try to eat together, it is also the time we can spent talking about the mission-related stuff, like schedule, or any issues we have (there are not a lot of them, but still). We also found out (as for other meals as well), that we could improve the provided rations, and starting from the middle of the mission, I think, we learned how to prepare some specialities using what we have. Especially Joanna, Dorota and Grzegorz came up with brilliant food ideas, and we managed to survive untill now… Ok, actually the food is not that bad, and the technical cargo with the pudding inside was the best cargo this mission.
After the morning briefing we look at our schedules and try to do our job in the habitat. From my perspective, we managed to be very efficient as a whole team, even if each of us works on different tasks. This is difficult to work together during the experiments, since they were designed for a single person. But, even that, sometimes I was a helping hand for Joanna when she was weighting the cockroaches, sometimes, I was the helping hand taking pictures of the rock and plant samples, which were used then for further analysis in other experiments. Ok, the notable exception from this rule is the EVA, when three people are involved at least: two astronauts and operator. EVAs are the most dangerous part of our everyday life in the habitat (apart from doing experiments in the microwave…), and also the most exhausting one.
Today, for the first time during this mission, we had a joined EVA of two teams, the first one of me and Grzegorz, the second one of Piotr and Joanna. The difficulty of this task (not covered by the mission manual, and this is why analogs are useful), is that no more than two astronauts are allowed to be outside (also for safety reasons), on the other side, we had to do some job both with the lander and the rover, and for that reason, we had to exchange the astronauts one by one… This lead us to leaving a single astronaut alone outside the base…
This was maybe not as much demanding EVA as one of the previous one, with fixing the power issue of the Modernity, but anyway, we had to try to power up the lander and connect to it remotely (which we almost did), and we had some Modernity interaction as well. Well, it seems that the lander electronics is broken, and we took the heart (main circuit board) of the lander to the base for the investigation (hey, we try our bests here). This marked also the longest EVA during the mission, with more than four and a half hours spent outside, having two astronauts alone on the lunar surface, me first, and then, Piotr. After that you even don’t think about doing anymore training, just eat the dinner, write the log and go to sleep.
Ok, actually, it’s not that easy.
We still have the debriefing, and we discuss the tomorrow’s activities. We need to do some training and preferably yoga as well.. this time I will skip the training, yoga, and go directly to the evening medical check, subjective time perception test and sleep.
Good night. Feel good. Another lunar sunday tomorrow.