David Levine spoke last night at Powell's Technical Books on his recent trip to Mars. David is a science fiction writer, and was chosen to be the crew journalist on mission 88.
Wait? What? Mars?
David went on a simulated Mars expedition run by the Mars Society. He wore a space suit, did science, wrote a blog from Mars, and fixed leaky toilets. The site of the Mars landing is really in Utah, far away from anything. The "astronauts" use only what they bring with them into "space" and have to constantly improvise repairs and workarounds.
One of his takeaways is how much of a "protagonist" he and the five other crewmembers became. If something went wrong, they fixed it right there. No waiting, hoping someone else would take care of it. That's part of the simulation, since Earth is a long way away, and repairman won't come visit.
It was obvious he and his crew mates bonded. Which was well, as the shower wasn't working. Sponge baths only.