It’s impossible to fully appreciate something at the moment it’s happening. That’s particularly true for an experience like this. Since we arrived at the HI-SEAS hab, every day has been a whirlwind of activity. For myself, this included setting up and troubleshooting computers and in-hab networking, organizing medical supplies and geology gear, conducting a safety assessment, installing fixtures, participating in inventorying and storing four months worth of food, printing out dozens of labels, unpacking and organizing a dizzying array of devices and appliances, learning to use new equipment, planning our first EVA, reviewing protocols and procedures for the dozen or so studies we’ll be carrying out, and starting work on my personal research, as well as routine activities like cooking, cleaning, and exercising.

Whew! It’s been a busy week. Today is Sunday, our “low-activity day”, which allows us some personal time to rest and reflect. I have a feeling that after this experience is over, I will be looking back at it with a lot of fondness and pride, but for now, most of my thoughts are on the massive “to-do” list for the upcoming week, and how to best tackle those challenges.

In between all these tasks, though, I always try to take a few minutes here and there to enjoy and appreciate our new home. It still has that “new spaceship smell”, and everything is brand new: fresh paint, gleaming polished aluminum and stainless steel. It’s both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. The outer shell is translucent, making excellent use of ambient light, and the layout creates a feeling of spaciousness. The kitchen is equipped with everything you can imagine — bread maker, rice maker, pressure cookers, a high-tech stove and oven, and countless appliances and utensils. There is an impressive climate control system managed by computers based on data from a network of temperature, humidity, and CO2 sensors. All in all, it is a very comfortable and pleasant place to live and work, and I look forward to spending the next four months here.