Thoughts on Leaving Mars

We are down to less than a week in the dome; we get out Saturday morning. Hard to believe we’ve been here for eight months, the time has mostly flown by. It’s been a fantastic experience and I’m so happy I got the opportunity to do it. My first post was about things I was looking forward to and things I was expecting to miss (or not). I revisited the list with half the mission complete, now with just a few days remaining I’ll share my thoughts again.

As I did at the mid point, few statistics to cover my time on “Mars”:

Workouts: Days without a workout 18 (out of 235 and counting). I lost about 5lb in the first couple months and then have remained fairly steady since. I’m in as good a shape as I’ve ever been.
Runs: 33 covering 124.5 miles in 16.3 hours
EVAs: 32 for a total of about 21.5 hours spent outside
Meals: 48 group meals cooked
Photos taken: 6,913
Emails: 1,609 sent, 12,430 received
Words journaled: 76,462 (this includes many emails to family and friends as well as blog posts and journaling required as part of one of the studies)
3D prints: 22.9 lbs of ABS used to print 716 parts

Things on the outside I’m looking forward to: 
Friends, family and people in general – It is a pretty strange experience to only see the same 5 people for 8 months. I’m looking forward to some “new” faces.
Sunshine and wind – weird to not experience this for eight months
Green things/seeing plants
A run outside
Long showers – Even a normal shower (where I don’t turn the water off while I’m there) would be awesome.
Normal food – Salad, fresh fruit, real milk, cheese, a large piece of meat, beer, etc. Also being able to go to the store and pick out what I want rather than everything. Restaurants.
Normal internet – Also a bit worried about the huge opportunity for wasting time.

Things about the dome I expect to to miss:
Getting a taste of what living on Mars might be like – This has been interesting and has helped convince me not only that I would still like to go to Mars that I think I could handle it as well.
Fun/Smart/Interesting roommates – Always someone down for a movie or board game. Everyone is working on interesting projects.
Working on independent research – 3D printing has been really enjoyable. Nice to be able to work on whatever I want on a given day (or nothing if I feel like it).
Having a workout buddy all the time – This is what got me working out almost everyday. I hope I manage to find some on the outside and/or keep it up on my own.
Having someone cook me dinner most nights of the week – As I’ve mentioned a number of times the food here is generally great. The ingredients take some getting used to and lack of fresh stuff can be hard, but food was much less of an issue than I expected.
Some of the food – For some things freeze dried food it super convenient. One of my favorite fast meals is instant ramen with freeze dried chicken and veggies, it takes the same time to cook as a packet of instant ramen but has some actual body to it. No cutting or real cooking required.

Things that are going to be weird:
Flushing a toilet.
Cutting meat and vegetables

Things I’m not looking forward to: 
Paying for food/rent – Having almost no expenses is pretty awesome.
Getting sick – never got sick while I was here


One comment

  1. looking forward to seeing you Zak! Have fun in the sky when returning to ‘earth’.


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