On my way to Mars

The final count down has started with the New Year. I am very excited to participate in the RoMars 2011, the first Romanian expedition to the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, USA and it's all I can think of all day long. The expedition is sponsored by the Romanian Space Agency and consists in two weeks of intensive research under simulation conditions. We will be opening the 2011 season, followed by the ESA (European Space Agency), NASA and NASA Academy crews and several others. Which feels good with Romania being newly accepted full member of ESA starting from this year, 2011. I still have the post card with the original signature of Dumitru Prunariu, our first astronaut who flew into space in 1981. Now it's my time to dream about going there.

Whilst making the last preparations, learning about the Musk Observatoryhttp://desert.marssociety.org/musk/ and applying the final touches to the resumes of my research proposals that will go to the press conference in Romania, I'm also trying to compute what to pack http://mdrs.marssociety.org/home/the-mdrs-team/personal-packing-lists

What would I pack if I were to go to Mars for real? It takes about 9 months in average to reach it and the one thing I can't get off my mind is cake. How can you survive without it for 9 + 9 + whatever the waiting time in months for the next launch window would be? Argh, all these compromises that we have to make in the name of science!

I always wanted to do something, always wanted to be able to ask myself: If I were to go to space (on Mars), what would I take with me from Earth? Now it almost makes sense to do this. Well, drum roll ...  I'd take the "Songs of Distant Earth" and Oceanic so that at least I can listen to the songs of the seas as it seems that water will be scarce. We are being told that the simulation is so real, it deals with the lack of water too. After all, we are going in the middle of the desert.

How about you?

What would they be, the ten things you would take with you on Mars? And since I would also love to see Kiwi Mars next year we'd better start thinking in advance. So please e-mail me your replies and I will add them to the list (I'll make one). :) And whilst I will be waiting for them, I will also think of a prize for the best letter and how to vote for it. And remember, it's ten things YOU cannot part with if you have to go to Mars :).

And if "Clear skies" is what you say for astronomers, what would that translate into for terraformers? Terra-what?