This is our first day at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS in short). It is a fantastic place in unbelievable surroundings. The rest of the crew at the base is great. But let me start from the beginning. Arriving here was much easier than last year in the Arctic. It only took 24 hours, door-to-door. Having left Amsterdam Saturday morning, I arrived in Atlanta 9 hours later. In Atlanta I had a two-hour wait for the connection to Salt Lake City. I was picked out at random by security for a strip search (even my shoes were examined). Another 4 hours and I was at Salt Lake City where I met the rest of crew. Bill Clancey, with whom I spent one week at the Mars Station in Devon last year and who will be our Commander for these two weeks. Andrea Fori, planetary geologist from California, was with Bill to greet me at the airport. The rest of the crew was doing the last bit of shopping for the next two weeks. Nancy Wood, a biologist from Chicago, David Real, a journalist from Dallas, and Jan Osburg, an aerospace engineer from Stuttgart, Germany. Jan was actually involved in the student competition to propose alternative redesign of the ISS at the Concurrent Design Facility in ESTEC in February this year.