It’s just another lunar Sunday afternoon, as we sit altogether in the Atrium, having a while for reading emails, digesting social media, and finishing geological reports for this mission. Well, it is the 12th day of the simulation, and we are looking forward for the lift-off home, to meet our families and friends.
Isolation, it is a key word of this mission, and it is a new experience for all of us. Living with five other people in the limited space of the habitat, could be not a pleasent experience for most of the time, but as a whole team, we somehow managed that for this period of time we have here. We used to think of it like a two-week trip, so this is far from long-duration flights, but anyway, have you ever been in such a place, isolated from the direct sunlight, outside world noise (and problems, too…), with limited communication, where your direct help is more than one thousand kilometers away? I’ve not.
This isolation is easier to handle, because we still have a plenty of space for any of us, and we can easily disappear from sight of other crew members. Starting from a small private space everyone of us has in the sleeping container, the most space-like part of the habitat, up to the Operations or Analytic Lab containers, occupied usually by one person only. In fact, during this mission, Atrium became Operations room, and Operations became photo and spectroscopy lab, a little kingdom of my own. I call it “The Light Lab”. Grzegorz spents most of his time in the Analytics, doing 3D printing (or, a least trying to fix the printer again). Analytic lab is connected directly with the EVA preparation room, where suits and tools required for spacewalks are located. It is also partially a medical room, as we do there our medical pre-EVA and post-EVA checkup. Fortunately, no one has been injured that much during the mission, so we would have to use the medical equipment.
If you want to meet Joanna, you’d better go directly to the end of the BioLab, where cockroaches and other living creatures are located, as well as some lab equipment. You’ll pass via the hydroponic line, maintained by Matt, with some experiments conducted by Dorota (like growing onions). Piotr usually spents his time in the Atrium, taking care of the overall team performance. He also has a lot of organizing work within the habitat, and sadly, biological experiments he was supposed to conduct were scrubbed. Instead, he is taking care of the social experiment, which constantly maps our in-crew interaction during the mission.
We have two more containers, Kitchen and Storage, which become a gym every evening. Kitchen is also our second (and obvious) place where we can sit together, talk and eat.
Being here for almost two weeks — I didn’t feel bad, to be honest, sometimes a little bit bored or tired (and preventing this is another reason why analogs are important), but in some way happy I can participate in this mission. And I think, that other crew members feel similarly. Maybe one day we will spent such a Sunday on the Moon, doing an EVA, like me and Piotr today. It will not be boring or usual, for sure (as you can easily think its already routine for us, no it’s not), maybe we will wonder about the blue sky of the rising Earth, who knows… and I wonder…
I wonder how, I wonder why Yesterday you told me ‘bout the blue blue sky But all that I can see, is just another lunar sea I’m turning my head up and down I’m jumping jumping here, and I’m lookin’ around And all that I can see, is just another lunar sea