SOL 12 – A Bittersweet Day on Mars

As the final countdown began, mixed feelings filled the crew on their last hours on Mars. Hypatia I is returning to Earth after spending 12 SOLs on Mars. Despite the fact that a Martian day lasts 39 minutes longer than an Earth day, time seemed to have flown by at the Mars Research Desert Station (MDRS). 

At around 4PM, the crew saw the first human in days. Sergii Iakymov, assistant director at the MDRS, had been supporting the crew as Mission Control throughout their Martian journey.

On the one hand, the crew members are excited to return to their families and loved ones, to feel the Earth’s gravity, and to enjoy a hot shower. On the other hand, they feel a sense of nostalgia as they say goodbye to the Red Planet that has been their home. It is bittersweet to leave behind the place where they have conducted experiments, made discoveries, and shared unforgettable experiences.

After their mission on Mars, the Hypatia I crew members prepared the station for the arrival of the next crew, who were scheduled to arrive the following day. They cleaned up the station for the incoming ones to continue. They also conducted a thorough check of all systems and equipment to ensure everything was in good working order for the next team.

Before leaving the MDRS, the crew members took a moment to reflect on their mission and the memories they made during their time on Mars. Two golden laurel branches, as if they were astronaut wings, adorn their shoulders after completing the mission. 

It’s an emotional moment for the crew as they are as excited to return home but also sad to leave the Red Planet and end their mission. This experience was a turning point for all of them that they will cherish as they look up to the skies.