Sol 6 | What Do We Do With Money On Mars?

Is it really Saturday already? It’s hard to imagine that only a week ago we arrived at the Mars Desert Research Station, and that we are halfway through our time here. It’s all going too fast and yet in other ways, it feels like we have always been here. Our lives back on Earth seem a lifetime away now. Roy went looking for something in his room last night and came across some US currency and brought it out to show us.

Money. So strange now, when you look at money on Mars. Only seven days ago back on Earth, we couldn’t do anything without money. Breakfast $10.00. Batteries $4.00. Coffee to go $3.00. Now we can do nothing with it. Except perhaps rub some mud off your boots as you re-enter the airlock post Extra Vehicular Activities.

Seeds sprouting
Seeds sprouting from Slovakian Student experiments carried out by crew 173 on Mars Desert Research Station. Photo: Niamh Shaw

That’s the interesting thing about being here on Mars. When you strip your daily routine back to simply surviving the elements and completing daily tasks, life gets a whole lot easier. And you can’t help but reflect on life back on Earth. And all the stuff. The hoards of books, that I probably haven’t opened in years, the wardrobe of clothes, shoes, and odds and sods, bedlinen, bed, towels, carpets, cushions, throws, scented candles, bicycles, houses, cafes, office blocks, buses, trains. All useless here.

High value products on Mars: thermals, boots, camera, internet, ATV’s, heat, the solar generator, water, a functioning toilet, food, chocolate, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Tinfoil, to cover our plates at mealtimes and cut down on washing up, movie night, sunrise, sunsets, the spice drawer, laughter, sharing stories, the crew – These are our currency now.

Mars Desert Research station
Mars Desert Research station Habitat Photo: Niamh Shaw

Irish culture night went alright. The Shepherds pie got eaten, which is a good sign I think. We had a guessing game about pronouncing some Irish names, which is always difficult. And ‘Pass the Pigs’ continues to entertain, or frustrate in equal measure!

I hope our next 7 days ahead are just as challenging and rewarding as the week we just put down. And then it will be time to return to Earth. Back to money. And bedlinen, and carpets, and buses and office blocks. And also to family.

By Niamh Shaw
Crew Artist & Journalist Crew 173

If you’ve missed the earlier journal entries from Niamh Shaw’s adventures simulating life on Mars last January as the crew artist and journalist on the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, you can read them right here on HeadStuff:
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?

Main Image: HeadStuff & NASA JPL