Date and time: 29 April 2012
Written by: Mike Bodnar, Crew 118, First Officer
Every exploration team needs a day off. Even on the International Space Station the crew gets days off, and why not? Wo wants to work non-stop day in, day out? It would be bad for morale, counterproductive and would likely result in mutiny.
The Mission Commander therefore declared today a day of rest for KiwiMars 2012 which meant different things to different people. For one it meant wrestling with one of the airlock doors trying to make it swing closed more easily than it does. For others it was doing some art work, or photography, taking the ATVs on an EVA to go and visit nearby landforms, or strolling across the Martian landscape looking for fossils.
I took the opportunity to shoot some more video, take photographs, and read a Michael Crichton sci-fi novel called 'Sphere', about an alien craft discovered under the sea. I haven't finished it yet, but the book does raise some interesting issues about alien life. For example, many, many sci-fi books and movies portray aliens as being basically humanoid in shape- two arms, two legs, a head, etc.
In reality, life that develops in an alien environment will be the product of that environment, and not ours. If their world happens to be earth like then yes, maybe they could look like us, but what if their planet has virtually no light, very little gravity, or no solid surface? Hmmm. The aliens could actually be pure thought with no physical form. Something to think about (get it?).
As for life on Mars, well, at least the Red Planet has a rocky terrain, an atmosphere (of sorts), gravity, wind, and clouds occasionally. It might even have sub-surface water ice. A quick glance around the Habitat here in the Utah desert and you would think this environment is devoid of life, but on closer examination there is plenty of it. Cacti, shrubby grasses, flowers, lichens on rocks, and lizards, desert rodents, the odd bird, and occasional snake. But you could send a remote control rover around here and potentially not find any evidence of life, yet how wrong you would be!
Even more reason to send people to explore Mars.