[Version française sur le site de La Recherche]
What makes you feel like Christmas is coming? Christmas lights in the streets? Music and advertisements? Chaos in shopping malls? Markets with smells of gingerbread and hot wine ? Days getting shorter? For me, it is the date at the bottom right corner of my computer screen.
In our dome, the closest we have to Christmas lights is the strip of LEDs we installed because, as days get shorter, our solar panels cannot power the main lights. Music and advertisements do not reach us, as we do not have radio or magazines, or even Internet access. There is of course no mall or market, and the smell of the food we rehydrate does not really evoke Christmas. And as we are never outside, except for occasional EVAs, we do not really sense that days are getting shorter – besides the fact that we are generating little solar-based power.
However, in a mission where the crew is isolated for a long period of time, celebrating holidays is important to break monotony, tighten the bonds between crewmates and boost the crew’s morale. It is coming at the right time, as some of my crewmates ...