As Executive Officer, one of my responsibilities was to make sure the ATVs were operational: batteries charged, fuel tanks full, tires inflated. During the two week tour of duty, we supported several science missions.
Kathryn Bywaters, our crew biochemist, was searching for extremophiles, tiny creatures that can live in extreme environmental conditions. We traveled around the desert looking for them.
One morning we woke to find cat tracks thru our camp. BIG cat tracks. That was about the only sign of life we encountered during our simulation.
On the last day, I was prepping the ATVs when a flock of large birds flew over. I had to stop and watch. What a sight! Other living creatures!
When we left the simulation, we decided to visit Goblin Valley State Park as tourists. I asked the park ranger what kind of birds those
might have been.
She said that if they were blackbirds, they would go “Caw-Caw.” If they were ravens they would go “Nevermore! Nevermore!”
John Aittama, Commander
Dennis Hands, Executive Officer and Crew Astronomer