Polaris Station – Novelette Part 1

Kendall Parker retreated from the podium, conceding the remainder of the speech to his colleague at the 2027 International Space Environments Conference. He sat down, silent, probing each face in the audience, desperate to know their reaction, anxious for Katya to effectively reinforce their proposal, and secure the sponsorship for which they had worked five long years.

“Re-capping ladies and gentlemen,” Katya said, “our research conclusively shows that events like the five-day global internet failure of 2022, can be prevented by placing our system in space above the North and South Poles, bringing continuous 3D, multi-spectral imaging of the sun 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Kendall felt positive energy in the room. He sat tall in the wooden chair on the rostrum. You’re doing great Katya, he thought. Now drive it home.

All eyes raised from Katya to the large overhead monitor as compelling images of catastrophic events flickered including a plane crash, traffic jams, food lines, poverty, idle workers…

“Every day, every moment,” she said, “our lives are dependent on energy, communication, and internet systems. Air traffic collision avoidance, movement of global food supplies, all forms of navigation, national defense, education and entertainment, not to mention the wireless cloud many of you are using this very moment.”

Several people in the audience looked up from their hand-held devices.

“The global cost of productivity loss in the solar event of 2022 was estimated in the trillions.”

Then on the monitor, a nighttime image of the entire Earth appeared with the sun barely visible beyond. Distant stars on a black background framed the scene. Night-time lights of North America glowed in the upper left of the Earth’s sphere. The lights of Brazil were visible to the southeast. The image included two small space stations, one positioned directly above the Arctic, and the other directly opposite above the Antarctic, each just outside the atmosphere. A continuous series of dots, in a circle around the planet connected both stations. The dots moved slowly clock-wise from one station around to the other, and then back again.

“With these twin stations, we will see deep into the sun’s core. We will finally grasp the physics at work which give us life and at the same time threaten that life. We will characterize the radiation as it emanates from the sun, passes around the Earth, and propagates out into space, capturing its full effect. We will use this knowledge from space to re-engineer cyberspace on Earth, making it impenetrable by solar storms.”

“In conclusion, distinguished colleagues,” Katya looked from one end of the audience to the other, then pointed above her head, “as illustrated in this simulation, two polar geostationary observatories, supported by a continuous procession of a hundred thousand orbiting satellites, and equipped with the latest sensor technologies, will give us unprecedented awareness of our nearest star. In addition, deep space galactic telescopes will gather light from the most distant stars. These capabilities will enhance, and save our way of life. Thank you.”

The audience applauded.

Katya stepped back from the podium. Kendall rose quickly to stand next to his colleague.

“Excuse me.” A tall woman on the forth row stood. The clapping stopped. “We already understand that improved non-interrupted high-def sensing of sun activity can help to predict and characterize solar events that wreak havoc on the ozone and power grid, but seriously Mr. Parker, and Miss Smirnov, how will you raise the necessary funds? The cost of your system would single-handedly gridlock the world’s banks.” The woman sat back down and mumbled, “A hundred thousand satellites? You’ve got to be kidding.”

Katya’s eyes narrowed, her head tilted down.

(Continue at Part 2. Please share this post with your family, friends, and colleagues)

About Kenneth Richard Hardman

AncestorClips are very short stories about very real people. Each clip nurtures awareness of a time, a place, and the character of a man or woman who cultivated a path for our life. The reader feels the good, the obstacles, the happiness, the sadness, and the overcoming. They cheer us, make us resilient when challenged, give us purpose, and connect us to our multi-generational family. Each story is followed by reflections from the author and readers sharing how the story strengthened or inspired them. Ken Hardman is a son, a brother, a grandson, a great-grandson… He is also a husband, father and grand-father. Ken is a professional engineer, engineering mentor, technical writer, and associate technical fellow at a major aerospace company. He is a writer of engineering and family history stories. Please join Ken in reading, reflecting upon, or writing #AncestorClips
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1 Response to Polaris Station – Novelette Part 1

  1. Pingback: Polaris Station – Novelette Part 2 | Engineering Stories

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