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Endings, beginnings and endings

by Deborah Bass

April 30, 2008 - We're in the middle of our final dress rehearsal before landing.  This is a morale-builder--a "nominal" simulation where things go well so that the team has a good feeling of what a "good day" on Mars would be like.

That means we're close to the end of this pre-mission phase.  Folks are really ready to land--everyone wants to get there already, and are excited and raring to go.  

So here we are, in this final ORT in Tucson, Denver and Pasadena.  

I'm in Tucson, at the SOC.  It is 2:58 AM, and I've been awake 23 hours so far.  That's because I flew in from Pasadena this morning and silly me, thought I could work a full day.

Now, I'm suffering a bit.  I'm also absolutely freezing because the SOC is really really well-air conditioned.  

I was thinking that this is probably much like Phoenix will feel after 150 sols or so on the surface of Mars.  Getting colder and colder until the electronics can't operate any more as the sun sets and winter comes.  I'm really cold too.

But I must put that aside for now, because at the moment, we are poised for a thrilling and wonderous time.  PHX is almost at Mars and a new chapter is the beginning.