As our mission on Mars comes to an end, we share our summary!

“Coming from universities around the globe, six individuals were selected to represent their different fields of specialty to conduct research on Mars. The Campus Martius Crew was formed and tasked with the important mission to determine if it would be possible to live and conduct field science in such a harsh isolated environment.”

Commander John Reynolds

Executive Officer/Journalist Derek Pelland

Geologist/Scientist April Davis

Engineer Erick Tijerino

Physicist/HSO Nora Swisher

Astronomer Diane Turnshek

Social Media and Public Outreach-

Public outreach began long before arriving at MDRS, as Derek was able to leverage fundraising and social media to build relationships with community and corporate sponsors in Los Angeles to cover all his expenses and secure gear for the crew. Some of the donated gear included personally embroidered crew polo shirts and professionally made patches, custom Skechers M-Run athletic shoes, pocket utility knives, and fleece pullovers. This was assisted by the creation of a Crew website and blog, which communicated daily reports and the experiences he had with Crew 120. This later scaled up to include the blogs of the entire crew and convenient method to share current photos. This was a learning experience as our crew had to manage a small Internet bandwidth allotment. Despite the limit on Internet usage, he was able to use less than 1% of daily allowance to operate the website, daily blog feeds and picture sharing components. This served as the main hub for our outreach.

As the amount of online followers grew, we began to notice that more and more media sources wanted to feature our story and share our blogs. In the two-week “Mission to Mars” we have had thousands of people read about our work and experience with The Mars Society.  Some of the included platforms include Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Weebly, Mashable, SlashDot, The Verge, Whatever, SF Signal, I-09, Livejournal, and also 365 Days of Now that we are winding down, local and online newspapers are responding in volume about requesting interviews with the crew to share our story. Pepperdine University and Carnegie Mellon University have been conducting internal and external publicity about their faculty and students participating in the Mars simulation. The results have been overwhelmingly positive publicity for the individual crewmembers and for The Mars Society, with potential for more to come. Several crewmembers are scheduled to visit and speak to elementary schools and high school science classes about how our work with MDRS relates to space exploration and future goals of sending manned missions to Mars.

EVA’s and Geologic Science Expeditions-

We were isolated five days inside the Habitat due to harsh weather conditions of snow and ice. Under Commander Reynolds supervision, we planned and executed ten EVA missions, covering up to ten kilometers in all directions outside the Hab. During these EVA’s the crew worked with our scientist to chart and analyze the geologic features in this part of simulated Mars. April was able to test the functionality of various geological tools that are currently being used in field research. This research is being used to make recommendations for new tool design and development.

On our scientific EVA missions; the crew was able to navigate to extremely secluded research sites by using USCG maps, handheld GPS unit, and personal scouting visuals. We combined all this information to correlate with the supplementary reports of previous MDRS crews who have charted much of the immediate area. The majority of these missions were pedestrian EVA’s, though we were able to send three mounted ATV EVA missions at the end of our rotation. The mobility added was extremely useful to us as we were able to cover a much larger distance, and conserve energy as we did not have to walk out to the sites and then explore on foot.

The Campus Martius Crew spent most of their research time looking for highly metamorphosed minerals, petrified wood, and mottled fossil soils. In respect to the field science, we focused on The Dakota Sandstone and Morrison Formation. April led the crew to collect mollusk shells from the Gryphaeidae family, which shows indicators of an ancient seabed in the Dakota Sandstone region. This area is estimated at an age ranging between 66-100 million years ago. We also discovered many fossilized feeding burrows and worm tubes. The Habitat rests on the Morrison Formation, dating back roughly 150 million years (+-5Ma). It was here that we collected many minerals such as jasper, quartz, various types of petrified wood and interesting fossil soils. Other notable research sites we visited include the Curtis Formation, Summerville Formation and the Entrada Sandstone.

In the laboratory we recorded the variance in strata; noting the changes in substrate characteristics. We also used the microscope to analyze the rock samples from EVA missions and view their morphological structure.



During the mission, we have had to make many repairs and manage the day to day routine operation systems which includes: Controlling water levels, monitoring fuel consumption, and keeping a daily monitoring of the HVAC system, in order to maintain a pleasant temperature inside the Hab. Erick frequently defrosted frozen water pipes to sustain a hot water supply.

We operated the NorCal Rover, inspecting the Habitat exterior; providing live feeds of outside conditions. Erick and Derek successfully mounted a Rescue EVA to retrieve the Rover and then determined the cause of battery failure.

Erick worked constantly with the EVA packs, troubleshooting the internal components when failures arose. He mended multiple charging ports, repaired the soldering on many connections, replaced hoses and fixed two battery brackets. He managed to keep the ATV’s operational, starting them in the mornings despite the freezing outdoor temperatures, ice, snow and wind!



Diane and Nora were able to use the Musk Observatory and 14” Cassegrain Telescope to navigate the night sky. During the nightly star gazing we located and showed the crew: Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, Andromeda Galaxy, Alberio (a double star), the Pleiades, the Orion Nebula, the Ring Nebula, and Mizar and Alcor (a double-double star). We were able to take an image of the Andromeda Galaxy with the CCD camera, testing the functionality and operation ability of the device.

We worked out the procedure of how to observe eclipsing binary stars, identifying which stars needed further study above tenth magnitude. We determined the times and durations of eclipses, noting RA’s and Dec’s to print star charts (fifteen minutes of arc). Diane was able to use the sky condition chart from Goblin State Park to plan observation times and schedule data collection. We involved the AAVSO and were grateful to all the amateur astronomers who gave Nora advice on astrophotography with her new digital single lens reflex camera, capturing images of lunar craters. We designed and refitted the closing sensors on the dome shutter of the observatory. Erick pointed the main telescope to Mirafak, and aligned the viewfinder by gradually turning the adjustment screw; enabling full function ability of the Musk Observatory. 

Merry Christmas Guatemala!
Erick hoists a baby lion cub sized rock over the ledge
Diane, Derek, Nora and I were happy to wake up to favorable weather
for our EVA this morning; this was the first ATV EVA for Derek and
myself, so to say we were “very excited” would be an understatement!
Our primary destination was the canyon east of Teetering Rock; we were interested in this location because water flowing through this canyon has cut into the rock revealing rock formations underneath the ground surface. We hopped on our ATVs at 9:55AM and proceeded south on the BLM main road. The outside temperature was quite cold for driving ATVs even at the low speeds we drove. Luckily we learned what to wear under our space suits from the previous ATV EVA that took place yesterday so none of us was extremely cold. We reached the first crossroad (UTM 12s 520000E 4248000N) and turned back up north. This was a less transited road so we had to be cautious about not leaving the road by mistake.

As we drove north, we were impressed by the escarpment located on the left of the road so we decided to make it our first stop (UTM 12s
520210E 4250490N). This is a location were the soil stratification can
be appreciated and suited for sample gathering. We collected many
interesting samples to bring back for April, our geologist. To our
dislike we found refuse onsite, among the waste were antique beer cans and more contemporary soda cans embedded to sand rocks. The last ones had small holes most likely from being shot with a BB gun, it’s such a shame that people come out to this beauty and disgrace it with their trash. We collected as much as we could but the great amount of soda cans and the depth at which some of them were embedded into the rock kept us from recollecting all of them.

While exploring the site we found a gradual ascent that we could take
safely to the top. One we reached the summit we were flabbergasted by the sheer beauty of the landscape. One of the rocks evoked the opening scene of The Lion King so I picked up a lion cub sized rock and
presented it to its kingdom (the background song of that scene just
played in your head, just admit it). Nora took a good picture to capture my silliness.  From that vantage point Nora spotted our main destination, a canyon formed by thousands of years of water flowing
through it. After catching up our breath back from that view, we made
out descent back to the ATVs and we were back on our way.
We finally reached our destination (UTM 12s 520000E 4251000N) were
thousands of years of earth history are exposed like pages on a book.

Dina and Nora went on to explore the interior of the canyon and Derek
and I climbed up a birm overlooking the canyon.  The canyon rich with
geological history, Nora said that the site was filled with
interesting rocks worth studying thus making it the objective of
tomorrow’s EVA which will include our geologist, April. Derek and I
were able to spot our route back to the station from the top of the
hill. During my ascent I spotted a snake trail on the snow, something
strange this time of year. The snake trail closed in to a mouse trail,
only one remained after they intersected.  A remainder that this place
is as lethal as it is beautiful.

After filling a couple of bags with rock samples, we started making
out way back home. What kind of samples were in the bag? You might
ask…  I’m going to leave our geologist explain it in her science
report; I am just an Aerospace Engineer, for crying out loud! On the
route back to the habitat we spotted a peculiar rock formation in the
shape of an anthill (UTM 12s 518922E 4251219N), and as you might have already figured out, we decided to stop and give it a closer look.
Nora and I discussed the probable formation mechanism of this sand
rock.  Given my background in thermofluidics, I went ahead and
attributed it to water erosion; Nora contributed by pointing out the
most probable direction of the flow.

Our stomachs reminded us it was time to wrap it up and go home to a
hot lunch. We closed the hatch at 1:50PM making the duration five
minutes under the four hour mark. Huge smiles filled our faces during
the five minute airlock pressure equalization. April had cleaned and
categorized must of the samples collected on previous EVAs by the time we entered the habitat just to be loaded with more rocks to look at
from our latest outing. It was a good day today.

Erick Tijerino
Crew 120 Mission Engineer
¨Folks who have no vices have very few virtues¨
Abraham Lincoln

#1 XO Derek Pelland, "Hey I think I popped a fuse" Can you fix it? #2 Engineer Erick Tijerino "Of course I can, but can you start my atv for me?"

1) EVA pack #1 blew another fuse, only one spare fuse remains.

2) Its difficult to start ATV 4 (the new ATV) when the weather is
very cold outside, all the other ATVs start almost effortlessly. 

3) It might be because the engine compression ratio is lower on ATV4
compared to the other Yamaha ATVs.

4) We have noticed internet data usage even when all out personal
computers are turned off (the highest we have noticed is 50Mb). The data used during remote log-ins is typically quantified by the IT team.

It was another day of smooth operations in Mars. Cheers!

Erick Tijerino
Crew 120 Mission Engineer

¨Folks who have no vices have very few virtues¨- Abraham Lincoln

Derek and Diane on EVA 009
Erick and Derek approve these patches!
Erick and Diane look to chisel out some rock samples on a geological excavation
Mounted Up
Crew Physicist and HSO Nora Swisher discovered some fossilized wood
Derek and April scout the Gateway near Kissing Camel Ridge
Santa left me a note saying that he could not fit my gift under the tree. So he sent me G.P.S. coordinates and said "enjoy"
December, 25 2012

Woke up at 07:00 and made coffee, then I woke up Erick and we prepared a huge Christmas breakfast for the crew. Scrambled eggs with cheese, onions, spinach and ham. Cinnamon pancakes with strawberries, blackberries, and maple syrup. “We Mars Baby” is all I can say about that, and this basically means that we know how to take care of business, as long as we still have a kitchen.

After we feasted on the hot chow, we started suiting up for EVA 007. Nora, April, Erick and I got out our Santa hats and set off for a Christmas adventure. Santa left me a note stating that he could not fit my gift under our inflatable tree, instead leaving me with GPS coordinates and instructions to go find my present! “Game on Santa”

The weather was cooperating today, "Merry Christmas" the snow has been melting the past two days and temperatures feeling comfortable under the space suit.  This meant that we got to move forward with EVA 007. We suited up, put on our new crew patches and departed at 11:05. Everyone was excited to go out in the snow this Christmas. April and Nora wanted to find petrified wood, and Erick and Derek asked Santa for an incredible view, it seemed promising.

April had advised us that Kissing Camel Ridge would be a good location to collect rock samples, look for petrified wood, and observe highly metamorphose minerals. Before we could even reach the Gateway, we spotted a great snow covered ridge that quickly caught our attention. We spent approximately forty-five minutes in this area collecting samples, and then proceeded towards the Gateway where the film crew was set up with a Mars flag. After the four of us surveyed the area for samples, the film crew arrived and began filming April and Nora as they excavated rock samples and chiseled some frozen pieces of a substance yet to be determined.

The physical conditions of the area were much warmer than previous days, the sun was out and the snow was only around in certain patches. Some crewmembers had difficulty with the fogging inside the helmets, but this has become something that we are getting used to. The temperature was nice enough to walk at a gentle pace, take the time to gather samples and not worry about wind. The only downside was that the light ice made it difficult to visually penetrate and observe the soil and rocks. We made due and managed to dig around the ice and gather many beautiful samples of petrified wood, quartz, and many other gorgeously colored rocks that will keep April busy all night. This is what we and she were hoping for, as it will give all of us a great learning experience and an opportunity to become more educated on what lies outside the Hab.

We spent about 4.5 hours traversing through the snowdrifts and muddy red dirt, which led us to the ridgeline and spectacular views of white mountain peaks in every direction. I cannot explain how majestic this was; the Sun beating down on us actually gave me a suntan. We were stunned at the colors on Kissing Camel (a steep rock formation about 3kilometers from the capsule)

Erick and I scouted the ridge and found amazing views of the valley below. April and Nora continued to collect samples in the trapeze entwined canyon. The results were too cool, I found three samples of petrified wood and Nora found an entire petrified stick that was a goldmine find for our crew geologist April. They were able to measure, document and study the fossilized remains of what could have been an ancient forest line.

As Erick and I scouted the immediate area around the perimeter of the ridge, we proceeded to move up along the base. About half way around we discovered that we could now get solid radio communication with the Hab, and checked in. The radios are spotty in this area, but we were still able to keep contact. From the side of the ridge, Erick and I could spot April and Nora working with the film crew, along with a giant red, green, and blue Mars flag. They marched across the ravine to the red rock and raised the flag at the top.

After about 1.5 hours, Erick and I returned to the base of the ridge line and rendezvoused with April and Nora near the Gateway, and made the push back towards the Hab. The road was much clearer than in the days past, most of the ice was gone and snow remained only on the peaks and few places where the sun did not yet get a chance to melt. Aside from a little mud, the route was relatively easy to maneuver today. We were able to cover more ground quickly, and return to the general Hab proximity in time to help the film crew shoot their final frames. April

Erick and I had our flags on the EVA today, and had the opportunity to make the final push on the ridge line hoisting each OTHER's flags. This was a great experience for us. I was holding the beautiful sky blue and white flag of Guatemala (representing Erick's home town of Guatemala City) and Erick hoisted the Stars and Stripes (representing my home town of Detroit, Michigan) The film crew was set up with a mobile crane, and captured the shot through the washout and the ravine, to stand on the ridge behind the Hab.

As the film crew captured the last frames, they had one last request from the Campus Martius Crew. They had a ping pong table set up on hillside, where Erick and Derek competed in a friendly game of Mars Pong! What is Mars Pong? Imagine two astronauts in space suits, silhouetted against the red rock and rolling flowing hills of Mars...playing ping pong! Despite our initial thoughts, it was a relatively high quality match.

Even though I forgot the score, we were told the shot looked amazing and certainly will not forget this Christmas EVA on Mars!

We returned through the airlock to find a wonderful home cooked dinner prepared by Diane and John. We had beef stew, Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin, salami and crackers, sparkling cider, and I prepared a creamy cheese and roasted red pepper with sundried tomato and garlic sauce to accompany pasta. Diane had other goodies for us, chocolate brownies and sweet potato crisps.

Thanks to Nora we had some sweet candy canes, and strapped on neon glow bands to celebrate Christmas on Mars. We were glowing with excitement and neon colors! Our Internet was down so we could not talk to our families, but we could certainly feel the support and love of all our friends, family, and loved ones. We could not be here without them!

Christmas at the Hab. Erick Tijerino, April Davis, Derek Pelland
#6 April Davis, #2 Erick Tijerino, #5 Derek Pelland
Erick Tijerino & Derek Pelland
Campus Martius Crew

December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve was a blast, we had an amazing EVA experience that allowed me to venture to new places, wide spaces, and share this day with all too familiar faces. Our crew has become quite close in these weeks living together at the Hab. We can even recognize each other in our space suits by the way we walk, stand, and STOP….to look at every rock that is ;) Just joking April. This EVA was cool because it was to a new region, out past Hab Ridge to the flowing ravines half covered in snow, with ripe red stripes protruding through the sandy ridges. You could barely see the beautiful rocks beneath the snow, but that’s why we have a geologist.

Maybe it’s the Marine in me; but every time I strap on that bubble helmet and space suit, I feel the exhilaration and growing confidence that exudes from every step. “Welcome to Mars” In the Marines I have traveled around the World, recognized natural beauty and certainly suffered exhaustion beyond belief. None of this compares to what it feels like running the red landscape with an oxygen tank, fogging helmet and frigid cold. Just so we are clear, I am NOT complaining…this is my gift from Santa. My parents would understand, which is part of my fueled motivation and personal requirement to proceed with caution. Everyone knows that we are only as strong as our teammates; we each have important roles and reinforce each other by playing on our strengths.

One of my skillsets is that I can move…period. I can scout a ridge, move across a difficult terrain with ease, traverse obstacles, and most importantly not get lost.

EVA 006 was a four man pedestrian EVA, which engaged a new sector of which we were not too familiar. Working with my crew, I was able to quickly move across the snowy terrain of washouts, ridges, flat prairie and onto the canyon like peaks off the western corridor of where our capsule lies. AKA “the middle of nowhere” perhaps some of the prehistoric footpaths taken by ancient species of dinosaurs. I admit I was slightly winded, but this view certainly stole my breath, well at least part of it!

I moved from one top to the other, discovering many different types of rocks and colorful stones, including fossilized shells…thousands of them! This must have been a seabed at some point in world history. This is part of the fascination I have of Mars, we all wonder if there is water but how do we know? Here in the middle of the desert, no signs of life, no Christmas stirring, not even a mouse. Really, nothing!

After we returned from the EVA I was floored that this is how I get to spend my holiday, so going to bed was not an option. It was even speculated that I might pass out in my food, haha not even close. I had dinner to prepare, stories to tell, and stars to sight. Diane and Erick invited me to the observatory for a late night Christmas star gaze, using our high-powered telescope to scavenge the sky. We were able to look up and find Jupiter, Orion’s Belt and our closest neighbor…the Moon.

The Moon was so bright, I could hardly contain myself after realizing how majestic it really is when you can see the dips and dots, flowing craters and experience it’s glowing comforts. Diane and Erick worked through the cold (-1 degrees F) to align the scope for April and myself. The observatory has to be equal in temperature to the outside so not to affect the air refraction index. This is what happens when you see ripples on concrete during a hot summer day, speaking of which further reminds me of home in California.

I love the commonality that comes with the celebration of Christmas. I was up until about 01:30 in the tiny observatory with three new friends. Diane said that I talked so much that she simply forgot that it was cold outside. I am a social entrepreneur and talking is a big part of that. I explained the functionality of government role in NGO funding, how to raise capital for self sustaining proprietary and how I was able to talk to thousands of people back in L.A. about MDRS, our project and most importantly “how to not sound crazy when telling them your going to Mars.” Diane talked about aliens, and we all laughed, haha! We eventually came in and everyone went to bed, except me, I was too excited for the EVA in the morning. I stayed up and replied to some of the online media posts and looked through our pictures that day.

Landscape of Mars. EVA V. 23 December 2012

“It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane.”

-Charles Lindbergh

So if felt like a Superhero kind of day, everything was zooming…and still is at 04:01. I find comfort in the peacefulness of the night, well at least I have my IPod to keep me company!

I woke abruptly by a roaring laughter this morning! WELCOME to MARS!

“I’m on Fire” by Ludacris. Looks I make my own decisions, learn from my own mistakes. You would have thought we were in a fire, because the hab seemed to transform into a firehouse as soon as we got word that we were sending a scouting EVA to perform reconnaissance on a route and surveillance of  Teetering Rock and the adjacent butte and wash outs beyond the ridgeline. This was to determine if we were able to later deploy a long duty mission EVA. Speaking of the Firehouse Dash, 5yrs experience Firefighter Erick Tijerino maybe took one step to get down the flight of stairs to check his gear. He has tons of real life experience getting ready in a hurry; this is instinct and reflex for him. The rest of us moved at a slightly slower speed, but hurried through breakfast (mostly quick grabs: bread and Nutella/peanut butter, oatmeal, and even Erick managed to eat a dozen dehydrated strawberries which everyone enjoys) Coffee is not recommended when you plan on spending an extended amount of time in the space suits, they are not restroom equipped. “Ain’t nobody got time for that” –Sweet Brown (Some of you will get that one, haha)

“Light my Way” by Audioslave. the bullet is a man from time to time he strays I compare my life to theirs April and Erick were assigned to EVA Mission IV, designated scouting orders to commence a pedestrian extravehicular activity to a plateau region with clear view of Teetering Rock. The entire crew worked together to suit them up, always, this gives extra eyes to check equipment and fittings before sending out any mission. April and Erick used hand/toe warmers this morning to prevent their extremities from falling to the cold. By the time they returned, they were both warm as can be, Hello Sun! Welcome Back.

“Ziggy Stardust” performed by Mr. David Bowie. He may understand what I feel if I said we were smiling all day. Ziggy played guitar, jammin' good with Weird and Gilly. The spiders from Mars, he played it left hand.

EVA V was scheduled to commence a four person, pedestrian extravehicular activity to Teetering Rock, and circle the outlying rock shelf and canyon-like caverns. I led the expeditionary portion, April directed the science team and geological collection. Erick navigated while Diane recorded our observations and collected geologic samples to be analyzed later in the lab.

“Learning to Fly” By Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Well, I started out down a dirty road. I started out all alone; and the sun went down as I crossed the hill. And the town lit up, the world got still. I'm learning to fly but I ain't got wings; coming down is the hardest thing. I went up and got some hard to reach rocks for April, I’m not going to lie, I enjoy the challenge and appreciate being part of the excitement after we determine what exactly we found. We brought back two full canvas bags of soil, rock and earth specimens. Beautiful red rocks paling against each other, like shavings off of a purple pencil, rotating swirls of red and burgundy hues. If you want to change the channel, walk five minutes and there is another remarkable view, of muddy red canals flowing into the horizon.

“Maybe You Baby” by my man Stevie Wonder.

Nothing personally intended, hah, Merry Christmas Giulia! “Ti Amo” (My girlfriend in Milano Italy, Planet Earth.) We have our inflatable Christmas tree with solar powered lights, Santa hats, and I have a big menu planned to cook Christmas Dinner for the Campus Martius Crew and visiting European Boy Band mates and their Hollywood producer. It’s a good thing that these lads primary profession is film making, because singing is not their strong suit, even though Nico played in the Swiss Army Band. They are shooting on location, and are doing a truly stellar job capturing our EVA’s and Hablife.

Souling through the night on an adrenaline kick leftover from my killer EVA this morning/afternoon/evening. None of us wanted to go back, but one crew member had severe condensation in the mask, and we had to return to the hab. Safety first. But… put it this way, it almost took one of those fancy NASA tow winches, where they anchor pull you back to the capsule. Kinda like you mom pulling you off the playground before you finished playing. “Carolina Blues” by Blues Traveler. I am up all night here reminiscing about our full day of adventure. Trying to make a train by sunrise, gonna have to run a red light. Tangling with my Carolina, you know the girl kept me up all night. Maybe the coffee at 2200 is still active, or maybe its still the rush of what we are doing here, I would not trade this experience for anything.

“In the Evening” by Led Zeppelin. What is considered evening on Mars? 5 maybe… Well we were home in time for hot dinner. We had Chipotle Turkey Pasta with cheese, with vegetables and leftover chicken tuna noodle soup. Speaking of leftovers, we still have beef fajitas, potato soup, and pasta in the refrigerator.

“Lost” by Coldplay. You might be a big fish in a little pond but that doesn't mean you've won; 'Cause along may come a bigger one. There were footprints in the fresh in snow and fossils in the rocks. Who was here before us? This is why we are here, Geologist April Davis lead the research to collect fossilized rocks to determine what may have left a footprint weathered into the stones of the past. No getting lost today, I was on the radio. I operated Hab Com for EVA IV, and ran field communications for EVA V. We had excellent contact on both missions, relaying information to support the expedition and coordinate the locations of our research sites.

“Lucky Man” by the Verve. Happiness more or less, it's just a change in me something in my liberty. I sure felt free up on Teetering Rock, which is pretty accurate to its name, random scattering of previous fell rocks all around, with others towering above; waiting for their imminent descent. I love nothing more than to explore around the beautiful nature, appreciating the natural beauty and spectacular wonders that captivate the curiosity of Man and drive us to make way for the future.

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac playing now. “You say you want your freedom, well who am I to keep you down. I feel like I am in a dream today, especially earlier on our EVA as Erick and I traversed the rocky terrain of Teetering Rock. We helped each other around the tough spots and I found the best route up. We had a long coming mission to recognize an important portion of our goals. We have had extensive conversations about our individual crew perspective on the colonization and exploration of Mars. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” By Tom Petty. Well, I don't know, but I've been told, you never slow down, you never grow old. I'm tired of screwin' up, tired of going down, tired of myself, tired of this town. Our Crew has been put together from talent pools around the Globe. We are from different backgrounds, different cultures, and varying motivations. We are here to lay groundwork for future missions to Mars, we want to get outa here.

“Brand New Day” By Sting. One thing that we all agree on is simple, that we must look past the individual nations that have been working for scientific space research. This mission has allowed Erick and I to work together on planning, projects, missions, and anything else you could imagine living in a space capsule. Erick represents his home country of Guatemala, and myself hail from Los Angeles, CA by way of Detroit, MI. Both of us are 28, from similar backgrounds 3000 miles away from each other. We are so proud to be representing our countries here on Mars, but more importantly are proud to represent the next stage of conscious people who believe in working together for the common good of science. Today we hoisted up two giant flags on Mars’ Teetering Rock. At 01:35 on 23 December, you could look up and see the Blue and White colors of Guatemala and the Stars and Stripes of the United States of America, flying equally high overlooking the valley below. Symbolic of future goals of our countries Erick and I stood tall saluting each others’ flag on the Field of Mars.

Everyone is sound asleep, me…..I’m  jamming with my headphones, rockin out. Trying to sort out the fantastic memories from today, we did a lot.

“No sleep till Brooklyn” By the Beastie Boys. Engine running hotter than a boiling kettle. My job ain't a job; It's a damn good time. That’s how I feel being able to step off in a space suit, go explore the geologic sites and help facilitate live simulation of a Mars Expeditionary Team in the Desert for Christmas, sign me up twice!

Thanks Santa, I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas. Holiday on Mars!

Signing off from my bunk at 04:01

I will be up at 07:00 cooking breakfast, bacon and eggs, with onion focaccia, fresh coffee and hot tea. We don’t go hungry around here.

Derek Pelland

MDRS 120

Campus Martius Crew

Executive Officer

New Astronaut on the Block! Erick Tijerino

We don't have an ambient thermometer down stairs in the Lab but I took
a surface infraread thermometer (the instrument is set to an
emissivity of 0.95) and I took the wall temperatures. The outside wall
temperature average is 50F and the interior wall average is 60F. The
thermometer on the second floor by the external wall indicates 65F.

We have experienced fluctuating temperatures in our rooms, as I have
reported before, this is due to the lack of insulation on the heating
ducts. We have maintained overall comfortable temperatures in the hab
but there is room for improvement of thermal management in the hab.


Erick Tijerino

Part of my fundraising and corporate sponsor building was to get a mission patch for the Campus Martius Crew. We thought that it would be too difficult to get this organized in time, but I was finally able to get a patch creator to work with me. The Studio: out of South Pasadena, Calif. and their stellar Manager Jehan Loren who must have talked to me on the phone at least 

I made over 75 phone calls, and easily that many emails to different patch makers. They all wanted a lot of money, try $47.50 each patch.The final result was free fifty, aka $0.00. We are so thankful for their generosity, and will wear them with pride.

The Studio custom made these patches, and sent them to us here at MDRS, delivered by the Swiss version of Nick Carter...Nicholas Steiner and his film crew.

This is the result! The white thread is Glow in the Dark :)