Polaris Station (Scene PS:1A:S1)


P1A_S1R1_Fotor(Year 2049 – The Lunar Marius Hills)

Was it made by man, or by the universe? Was it reflective, clear-through, or opaque? Was it friendly, or filled with death? What ever it was, it approached from deep space and passed along the lunar horizon reflecting the sun toward the astronauts at the Marius Hills volcanic domes.

“Site Comm?”

“Yes, commander?”

“Notify the crew. Shut down the 3D Hab Printers. Take a break and invite all to the surface to see…”

“To see what, sir?”

“Just get everyone to the surface. And send up the rocket-drone to get an elevated video.”

Those already on the surface became suddenly still in wonder at the piercing light that crossed the black sky, adding contrast to the rilles on the Oceanus Procellarum. Worker radio traffic saturated with word of the object, then went silent, replaced by heart beats, and an unfamiliar faint static. Some captured the sight with their personal helmet cams, others just lowered their solar visors and took in the moment. Construction astronauts in the lava tube cavern emerged on the crane elevator. Like star gazers on Earth admiring the diamond glow of their first solar eclipse at totality, the construction site stood nearly motionless as the object passed toward the inner solar system. When the static was gone and the object disappeared into the brightness of the sun, workers eyes drifted a few degrees to the Earth, nearly invisible within it’s own shadow, the night lights illuminating from Brazil, New York, and London.

One worker was heard to say, “What if it hits Earth?”

Another replied, “Can they see it from home?”

And yet another, “What if it had hit the Moon?”

“Site Comm?”

“Yes commander?”

“Make and entry in the space weather log.”

“Will do sir.”

“And ask NASA if that was a refuse canister from Mars, or another comet.”

“Already looked it up sir. Astronomers are speculating it’s another Kreutz sun-grazer. Just like the one 3 months ago, it likely orbits the sun every several hundred years and is expected to pass within a few thousand kilometers of the sun.”

Like they had done over and over, each took advantage of the moment on the surface, admired the majesty of Earth, and the singularity of their situation, then they returned to work on the subterranean lunar habitats. The commander lingered for a moment, his eyes settling on Earth’s Pacific Coast where the sun was setting and darkness moved ever slowly across the sphere, west from Nevada to California. Standing on the lava tube rim, a few hundred feed above the base of the cavern, hand on a safety railing, the commander looked again at Earth, imagined standing on the top of one of his favorite places, Yosemite’s Half Dome, imagining the view from there, the sun setting to the west, and the nearly full moon rising in the East, the very moon on which he now stood.

(To be continued)

STEM and Science Fiction Prototyping (#SciFiProto) Questions:

1) What is a Kreutz sun grazer?

2) What are the benefits and dangers of using lunar lava tubes as human habitats?

3) What personal and commercial technologies might exist in 2049 for use by construction astronauts?

4) What changes would you make to this scene?

(Story and illustration by Kenneth R. Hardman. “REC” overlay on illustration by Fodor Photo Editor)

#EngineerClips #NASA #Boeing #STEM #themartian #SciFiProto (science fiction prototyping)

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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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