Sol 13 | Our Last Day On Mars

Final Communication to Earth from Mars, Crew 173 on the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), Utah.

That’s it folks- we are finally on our last Sol here on Mars. Crew 174 arrived a few hours ago and are settling in nicely. We have completed all our mission objectives and it’s time to pack bags and handover to the incoming crew in the morning.

So what did I do here on Mars, as that ‘artist’ you might ask?  Well, to summarise, I managed the Art Outreach project and with the crew we documented our entire experience here using audio, video, timelapse, 360 cameras and photography – some of which have been published on HeadStuff (see links below). But we began this project about a month before we arrived at MDRS, by making videos pre-mission to reflect the time and effort expended in preparation for our mission. During the mission, we captured every EVA in photography and video and conducted time lapse videos of our experiments and daily life during our mission. And then post-mission we will continue our project and capture further reflections about our experience at MDRS using questions that I set each of the crew. I will summarise our experience in the coming weeks and will share it with you all on our social media pages. For my own personal art, I gathered content while at MDRS and am really excited to look at everything when I get back to make a multimedia piece, which I hope will reflect the human story of our mission.

Muddy Boots
Muddy boots at the Airlock of the Mars Desert Research Station. Photo: Niamh Shaw

I also brought the Irish doll ‘Stargazer Lottie’ on mission and recorded special Mars-related and MDRS content exclusively for her, to inspire young Irish girls to consider careers in Space.


sol 8 doll
Lottie at the Airlock. Photo: Niamh Shaw

Idriss worked with French online learning company ‘Teach on Mars’ and provided daily content about Mars and MDRS for them. Roy sent additional Mars & MDRS-related content to the Weizmann Institute. In all cases, this content was posted on the social media/online channels of these institutes/companies, respectively.

If you were following us on Facebook and Twitter you would probably know that we shared a summary of our daily activities on social media and on blogposts in our native countries using this content. We received a number of questions from our followers, which we answered and posted online and created short 90 second tutorial videos for school children to inspire them to consider careers in STEM, especially in the space industry. We communicated with a number of schools during our time here in Israel and France and both Michaela and Roy conducted experiments for their students as part of our outreach mission objectives. In addition to the extensive media interest we all received in our home countries pre-mission, we also participated in group interviews as part of our mission, with Slovakia’s Radio Express and the Sunday Times in the UK.

Our last morning at MDRS before Crew 174 arrived:

My time here has been a surreal and exhilarating experience that is difficult for me to express in words (hence why I work in multimedia!).  But for all of us, the next chapter of our experience begins and we look forward to sharing our mission with you when we all get back home. Thank you Crew 173 for everything you have given me, most especially your friendship, care and love. Thank you readers for following our progress, it has been a privilege to share our story with you every day. I hope that you enjoyed reading about our adventures on Mars, as much as we enjoyed experiencing them.

Crew 173 and Crew 174 Mar Desert Research Station
Crew 173 & Crew 174 at the Mars Desert Research Station. Photo: Niamh Shaw

Good luck to Crew 174. They are a really lovely bunch of people and I think you are all in for a treat hearing about their mission over the coming Sols. This is Crew 173 Journalist officially signing off.

Over and Out.

Niamh Shaw
Journalist & Artist.
Crew 173.




If you want to read more about Niamh Shaw’s adventures simulating Mars in the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah the full series of 13 Martian Days is on HeadStuff Science, links below:

Sol 0 | Mars Simulation in the Utah Desert
Sol 1 | The First EVA
Sol 2 | Celebrating Mars Israeli Culture Night
Sol 3 | Trouble Sleeping & Freeze Dried Food on Mars
Sol 4 | Snow on Mars
Sol 5 | How Do You Celebrate Irish Night On Mars?
Sol 6 | What Do We Do With Money On Mars?
Sol 7 | The Inspirational Power Of Mars
Sol 8 & 9 | This Is Mars Calling The Children Of Earth
Sol 10 | A Short Screen Play Set On Mars
Sol 11 | A Thousand Photographs Of Mars
Sol 12 | The Curse Of The Gigabyte Hobgoblin

Images: Niamh Shaw