Logbook #84

Jean worked through all the containers from the supply ship. There was a match between them and the manifest. Yet something felt wrong. As if the presents at a birthday party were all boxes with very little on the inside. There was enough food, water and fuel. But compared to previous shipments, there was very little in the way of scientific equipment. And almost nothing that would expand their infrastructure.

“Say Xu, were we expecting another path sinterer?” he asked over the intercom.

“Maybe in another shipment” she replied.

“Does this mean that we’re not going to build a path to the new landing site beside the horticulture bulb?”

“Something like that. Priorities have been changed. We’re going to focus upon strengthening our existing capability rather than enlarging the infrastructure. Seems that the maintenance factor has gotten too high. So unless you like spending all day, every day fixing robots then we need to get that factor down.”

Jean didn’t like the sound of that. He wasn’t one to question authority. Actually he seldom paid much attention to authority. He just liked doing his stuff. Give him a list and he’d happily whistle the day away while completing everything on that list. And so far everyone’s been very happy with his work. And his workload didn’t seem to have grown. He wondered what Xu was driving at.

“OK” he continued. “But once the horticulture bulb gets into production it’s going to take a lot more effort to get the food from it and the waste to it.”

He knew that. Everyone else knew it as well. The idea of fresh produce had been on everyone’s mind for quite some time. The idea of a fresh salad every two weeks had made them almost giddy. And Aditya had an almost dreamy look in his eyes when told he’d have to go inside the bulb regularly to make sure the plants were content. Aditya had even contemplated piping in music to improve the mood and thus improve the growing conditions. The sintered pathway was to be a simple addition. First the pathway was going to be smoothed out. Then, as needed, the route would get conditioned by the sinterer to ensure a safe, solid pathway for both humans and machines. The capability and benefit had been shown many times before. It was dawning upon Jean that maybe something had changed.

Maybe there was a redirection from the Lunar Colony Fund’s board. Maybe they were indeed going to put more emphasis upon shoring up their existing infra structure. But the contents of the manifest and the somewhat vague response from Xu had gotten him thinking.

“Xu” he started, “what’s the chance that the sinterer will be on the next supply ship?”

A pause ensued. Quite an unusual event from Xu.

“Perhaps” she began. “The board has been rethinking the focus of the colony. And of us. They seems to think that the support from Earth may not be sufficient to make us sustainable in the short term. They’re balancing cost, effort and value. The cost of acquiring capability; the effort to use and maintain the capability; and the value of that capability. In short, they’re wanting to start seeing some return on their investment up here.”

It was Jean’s turn to pause. He was, in a sense, dumbfounded. Xu’s statement implied that the colony would have to start paying its way. They’d have to generate a product of some sort and sell it to the terrans. This went against all their initial plans. The Moon was pretty much a wasteland when compared to the Earth. There was nothing really marketable. Even the super-rich don’t think it much of a tourist destination. After all, they couldn’t do anything. They couldn’t swim, couldn’t ski, and couldn’t sunbathe. Jean was lost as to what could possibly be sold.

Slowly he queried “And how much of a return are they demanding?”

“It’s a good question. Apparently there’s a strong groundswell demanding the ending of capricious efforts so that the challenges on Earth can be completely addressed.”

Jean let this sink in. All the colonists had been through the theory. They had all accepted that there was no solution to fix all of humankind’s problems. No global panacea. They believed that the lunar colony was to provide that most precious of all human commodities. Hope. Hope in the future. Hope that humanity did have a future even after all they’d done to the Earth. Jean wondered what had changed.

Luna 9

Logbook #83

Zara relaxed and let her mind float out to meet the stars overhead. It was night time on the Moon’s surface and the Sun’s glare didn’t obstruct or confuse. Her eyes reached up. Darting from one constellation to the next. Skipping from one asterism to the next. Her mind remembering nights spent lying in the backyard with her mother. Learning about stars. The real lessons of fusion reactors and powerful bursts of radiation. Learning from her about the basic elements. Atoms. And that stars and people all came from the same stuff. Coming from something that might have had a beginning. Creating substance out of raw energy. Transfiguring to the current time. Perhaps a linear transformation. Perhaps transforming but with all moments in time and space connected by strings. And her mind floated further into possibilities.

She loved thinking of the possibilities. Perhaps one day, people could visit another star. Maybe only as a consciousness in a machine. An arrangement of bits and bytes that somehow represented a person. Or at least a person at a certain moment in time. A person as defined by a collection of characteristics of strings. Strings that had given substance to a personality. Which at a particular instant people would have duplicated exactly. And then installed into mechanical memory. Then that installation had been encoded and put into flight. To fly to another star. Perhaps one just above her right now. Funny thing how stars seemed a bit boring when they didn’t twinkle.

She though it also odd that her interest in rocks had brought her to the Moon. Maybe it had come from watching many years ago vintage footage of Harrison Schmitt as he danced around the lunar regolith. Maybe it was his exultations on finding so many varieties of rocks. Colours. Shapes. Textures. So much to look at. So much to measure. So much to ponder. For instance, was the Moon just great chunks of the Earth’s outer shell that had been blasted off? During some primordial collision? Which then coalesced into this great chunk of rock that she called home. But it had been rocks that caught her interest. Rocks as clues to powers far grander than hers. Of any person. Powers that could toss around masses such as Ayers rock. Slide continents up and over. Smooth the exterior of a planet. Make a planet livable. Give it a protective magnetic mantle. Or not. As she considered when comparing the Moon to the Earth.

A slight tremor vibrated through her body. These were common events on the Moon. The Moon may be dead when compared to the Earth. Yet it was anything but still. It seemed to enjoy a cacophony of vibrations. All low amplitude. Usually short duration. Some with a small period. Others that seemed to be resonating with the ages of galaxies.

Galaxies. “They were a wonder,” she thought. They were something that could be measured. Could be identified and put into a box. A classification. An ellipse. A wheel. A sombrero. But why couldn’t you classify what’s between the galaxies. If dark matter was supposedly so prevalent then it should be out there. It should have characteristics. Would it have its own collection of strings to define its existence? And would humans ever learn how to identify and measure those characteristics.

Zara felt her breathing slow. Her muscles relaxed. She began entering a pleasant meditative state. At which time the intercom crackled and Xu’s voice entered her ears.

“Time to get back to rock picking” Xu gently said. Xu knew that Zara had an almost emotional attachment to rocks. And the Moon. And the stars. And Xu knew she had to pull Zara back into reality slowly. As sometimes dreams were the only reality.

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Poo

People are very messy creatures. For example, within every 27 days we shed our skin and it’s replaced with a new layer. If you’ve ever sneezed then you know of more stuff coming from our bodies. And of course there’s digestive waste. About that, the single most common question to astronauts is about going to the toilet in space. None of these are issues on Earth as they are part of the natural cycle and the messes get naturally recycled.

Now imagine being in a lunar colony. There is no natural environment. Everything about you has come from Earth at an exorbitant cost. The costly food you eat and the costly water you drink every few hours will get processed in your stomach and the waste excreted out. On the ISS, the waste is simply discarded and burnt during re-entry of the garbage container. On the Moon, that option is not available. So either the lunar colony will grow a mound of biological waste or it will have a cycle of its own to turn the waste into something useful.

Yet on Earth there’s a similar problem. Mainly, there’s so many people that the natural cycle can’t deal with all the waste. An indication of this is the Swachh Bharat Mission in India that’s aiming to stop open defecation. Perhaps if you live in a city and gone on a wilderness hike then you’ve had a similar challenge? What to do to keep nature natural while still responding to one of life’s necessities?

Now joining these two issues; space toilets and open defecation may seem unlikely. But there is a similar need. That is, humans need to clean up their messes rather than just walk away. Can you think of something that will address both? Tell us! Or talk with ESAs Space for Sanitation program. Or the USAs Universal Waste Management System (UWMS). And with it we can reduce the messes that we leave behind.

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Bulletin #61

Do you own any stocks? These remarkable items enable you to participate in a corporation’s endeavours. Doing so wisely should see your investment increase in value at a greater rate than with putting money in a savings account or hiding cash under your mattress. Equally, doing so enables the global business to thrive as corporations build products for use anywhere. And this is the milieu in which we raise funds for grand causes; a cause such as building a lunar colony. Now dare you invest in stocks that foreshadow a lunar colony?

Apparently the Chinese have been busy investing in a lunar economy. Many kudos to them and the success of their Chang’e 4 lander now safely operating on the far side of the Moon. Not only are they exploring a region unknown to the human eye, they are doing so in slowly progressive stages that could end with people returning to the Moon’s surface. This is wonderful progress.

We at the Lunar Colony Fund are progressing also. We’re reaching out to like minded individuals and corporations to encourage them to see a future with humans living off of Earth. Join us and we can see this happen, slowly, progressively, successfully.

Mark Mortimer
President
Lunar Colony Fund

What can you imagine here;

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