Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Pictures first this time, words at the end. Stick around.

This is the best picture I've taken this summer

James making "engine degreaser"

Me working the runway

Kim and Kathy Pose for their Amazing Race Entry

A Twin Landing
(And just FYI, I've changed my mind. If I ever get wealthy, screw the Lear or the Gulf. I want one of these!)

My "room"

Ryan on EVA

Kathy does limnology

Kathy finished with limno

Matt the Zombie Engineer

Count, as in countdown. August for us is the countdown to reentry into the real world. At the rate I've been posting to this blog lately this might well be my last post from Devon. I am at least as busy now as when Paul and I were heading out in April. I was able to post then in my few breaks. I hope I can get out a few more, but we will have to see. We are scheduled to leave the island in the 22nd - 24th time frame. Some will leave early, Mel, Ryan and Simon on the 22nd or 23rd. Then Kim and Kathy on the first flight on the 24th and Matt and I as the final two. As always the engineers are first in and last out. Hopefully the last two flights will be same day, but as we have seen the weather here rules all and August is supposed to be especially tricky.

Sometime between now and then (actually the 13th...) will be the first sunset of the winter. Paul Graham and I celebrated the last sunrise. The rest of the crew and I will celebrate the first sunset in almost four months. I think when we leave I will have been on Devon longer than any human this field season. I already, according to Robert, hold the Mars Society record for the longest stay in the FMARS habitat. I will be just short of the overall record for time spent in a Mars Society Hab. That record will be transfered to our commander Mel. She will have me in that metric by virtue of a couple of weeks at MDRS. Hopefully I'll get to present her the Tuna Can Award since both of us passed the previous holder this season.

On the subject of the crew, let me just say the cliche and get it over with: "This is absolutely the finest group I have ever worked with." There I said it, now seriously, I do expect we have at least two future astronauts here, maybe as many as four or five. I'm sad to say I probably won't be one of those, even though I did meet my goal of at least making the weight. For those that can't see from the photos, I lost 30 lbs this summer and am in the best shape I've been in for 15 or 20 years.

We were also just talking about what it takes to live with each other for this long in such tight quarters. This one is for y'all, Mom, Pat, and Patti, one of the biggies - selective hearing. Who'd of thought, even my lack of hearing potentially makes me a better astronaut candidate. Now I just need the graduate degree from MIT to go with it... I might have found the fortitude here that I need for that part too. I've also reacquainted myself with some of the important figures from my past who taught me so much. I've tried to highlight some of those, as I was able, in this blog. Maybe when I write this up for my chapter in the FMARS 2007 book I'll list them and what exactly they taught me that helped make me ready for this. That makes it worth missing my 20 year high school reunion.

As for our travel plans, the crew will head back home via Resolute of course and eventually to LA where we will be the guests of honor at this year's Mars Society Convention. I'm sacrificing my usual trip to DKR Texas Memorial Stadium this year for the 'Horns home opener, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the bigger goal. (Privately, if anyone knows somewhere in LA to catch the game on PPV let me know! I'm looking at the LA TexasExes website, but it has the schedule from 2005 up right now).


Paul said...

Well well, look who shows back up!! Glad you "made weight", that's definitely cool!! Now the hard part will be keeping it off. I have faith in you though!!

Things here and good, my surgery Friday went off without a hitch. I'm not hurting nearly as bad as they said I would be. Going back to work tomorrow is gonna be a different story though, we'll see!!!

Looking forward to having you back home!!

Dad said...

Jim, You do look very good and I also hope that you can keep it off. I was very glad to hear that you have extra incenive to go ahead and finist your Degree. Just, stick to it. Well, take care these last few days,don't get into too much ahead of yourself and make a mistake- you are too close now. Looking forward to seeing you in Sept.. Paul and I talked this afternoon about you return date, and it looks like we should be able to get into Pidcoke around the last weekend in Sept. We'll nail it down when you get home, looking forward to that. Oh, also, you didn't have to point out that that was your "Room', it was very evident for anyone that knows you,that that had to be your room(ha-ha). Take care, Son and have a safe trip home(That goes for you and all of your fellow Martians-Which I hope someday to meet in person) Have a safe trip home,all of you. Well, son I should close for now, see you soom. Love, Dad

Linda said...

I have really enjoyed your adventure, but will be glad to have you back in Texas soon. I'm looking forward to a big hug from a skinny man.