PERSEVERING THROUGH SPACE

Fiction Apr 19, 2020

Day 13
Today is Day 13 of our 41 day journey to Ceres for our interplanetary exploration mission. I report to you from Perseverance at 1331 hours EDT in my free time. My day so far has consisted of performing regular system checks and adding in new trajectory co-ordinates that were sent in today.

The Psych team back home has started requesting more personal video logs to get a good idea of how we are, you know mentally. Honestly this just reminds me of the intensive psych evals that I went through during the selection procedure. I am fine. Which is something the docs back home would never buy. Not to freak anyone out, but I am feeling a little space sick today. I got a little tired working my way up the dock bay and my head was spinning. But I got to work, and now I don’t feel any of it.

The isolation feeling hasn’t hit yet. But then again, it still hasn’t hit me that I am actually in space. Other than that, I’m doing well.


Day 17
Living and working here has made me realize how critical the 3 years of training have been. I remember what it was like, when I came back to my apartment in Texas, every night after what seemed like an eternity of lectures, survival training and workouts. The minute the door opened, I was on the bed. I would wake up the next morning in the same clothes with my shoes still on. That’s how intense the training period was. Today, I realize how essential it is. ANSA left no loopholes anywhere. From maintenance of the ECLSS system to using a restroom while travelling at 30,000 kmph. No matter the situation, our crew is prepared with effective solutions, because we have been trained for every possible thing that can go south. Today I am so thankful for all those hours spent in the learning room.


Day 22
I miss my mom’s food.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

Giving a TED talk has been on my bucket list for a while now. Well so was going into space, so…


Day 26
In my regular email dump today, I got an email from my Dad. He sent in a picture of me proudly holding my LEGO model Saturn V, in our living room in Kansas. That photo was clicked 23 years ago on today’s date. I am officially crying in space.


Day 29
It is day 29 onboard the Perseverance. The excitement has finally faded as my fellow crewmates settle into the monotonous routine checks that ANSA sends us. It’s hard to believe that I was back home riding my horse through the farm, waiting for what were definitely going to be the most exhilarating and memorable 6 months of my life. Now I’m here, with nothing but the deep expanse of the final frontier spread in front of my eyes. Some days it just feels surreal. I cannot believe that I am actually here. This is my job. This is my life.


Day 32 (1)
Feeling a little anxious today as we are about to perform the Trans-Cerian injection. This is really happening. I had just come to terms with the fact that I was a Space Explorer, when they threw in ‘Oh! you’re going to set foot on a planet’ right in my face.’ I mean of course 17 people have done it before me, so there is no way I am going to be Paula Clarkson on the Moon. Infact I am going to be number 21, as I will step on the surface solely to inspect the ascent vehicle to ensure that it is in working condition. Being a mechanical engineer, my only job is to make sure that stuff isn’t broken.

Day 32 (2)
Trans injection was a success. We are officially orbiting Ceres.


Day 37
As we prepare for the final stretch of Perseverance’s journey, spirits are starting to get tense on board. Our pilot ran two tests on the Descent Module today, and everything seems to be in place. It’s weird to think about leaving this metal canister that has hosted us for the past month and half, especially when I
have no idea what wait’s for us down there. As the psych would say that separation anxiety is ok and very natural. I assumed she was talking about my parents, not this ship that has been keeping me warm and safe in this cold world.


Day 40
This is officially the last break I get before it’s time for all hands on deck. The descent vehicle is ready to commence it’s journey. So it’s time to bid adieu to good old Persevearance. This journey has been surreal. I have been simultaneously feeling scared and excited. Kinda like the time I asked Walter out, or the day I presented my paper at the International Astronautical Conference or when I submitted my ANSA astronaut application. I know what lies ahead is this surreal,literally out of the world experience that I have worked for all my life. I know it’s going to change me and my perspective towards everything. And this probably gonna be one hell of story for the grandkids some day

“Don’t talk to me that way Steven, I have been to space!” hahaha.

So I better make this good.

Astronaut Christie Meir out.


-Savri Gandhi

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