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.
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.
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.
Desai pinged the URL again. As before, nothing came in
response. It couldn’t be the network. He had direct links to a couple of
constellations. Each on their own could receive from anywhere on the Earth’s
surface. But together they acted much like the Internet in that if one failed
then the others would seamlessly replace. No it wasn’t them. It must be the
The ground stations were simple antenna dishes connected to
simple receivers and decoders. For security, they were air gapped. A person
with the right access could interact with any ground station of Desai’s private
network. But each person with access had certain restrictions. The restrictions
allowed them to utilize only prescriptive capabilities. Such as, only some
could access the World Wide Web. And only via a transponder on the Moon’s
surface. They had no direct connection to the Earth’s Net.
Desai had been a bit over-the-top when designing the
security for his network. But, it’s proven its worth many times over. Just a
few weeks ago his agent in Hyderabad had provided a perverse and somewhat salacious
account of government bureaucrats who spent all their time auditing transcripts
of supposed private conversations. These bureacrats had contacted his agent regarding
a shipment of rice coming in from Africa that had imaginatively been described
as pure genetic contortions. While this description may have been true, neither
the agent nor Desai wanted the government to know. So the agent had to make a
story about meaning geriatric not genetic. As well he had to feign innocence on
all things of recombinant biology. From this, Desai’s agent learnt to never
discuss business on any public electronic media platform.
Perhaps more disturbing for Desai is that this wasn’t the
first time. Recently he’d been told that one of his sites in Brasilia had been
steamrolled. Quite literally. Apparently someone had resolved a grudge by compressing
their enemy’s car into a heap about an inch high. And then they kept driving
the steam roller into the adjacent building which housed Desai’s ground station.
On the surface, Desai thought little of the loss and he attributed no blame.
His ground stations were fairly inexpensive and readily constructed almost
anywhere. However, there was always some explaining to do when authorities
asked about the antenna dish. Desai had begun thinking that there may be some
order to this destruction. As if a malevolent intent had identified him as a
While debating on trying to ping a third time, Desai thought
again about the construction on the Moon’s north pole. It had continued apace.
Maybe a little slower than before. But the big change had been the appearance
of a satellite orbiting the Moon. The satellite didn’t seem to have any
function. It seemed mostly a frame. The surprising thing was that something had
been seen to travel from the frame to the north pole site and apparently back
to the frame. It may be an autonomous transfer vehicle. Either bringing
something from the north pole site to the frame or from the frame to the north
pole site. It had happened only once. But it had demonstrated a capability that
they didn’t have on their southern site. Desai wondered if somehow there was an
association between the owners of the north pole site and the ongoing destruction
of his network.
Perhaps the owners of the north pole site viewed the south
pole installation as a threat. They may be targeting anything and everything
related to the south pole’s habitation efforts. Including his on-Earth
Desai was frustrated. And worried. He had yet to identify the people responsible for the construction at the Moon’s north pole. He knew the companies making the components and the facilities used to fabricate and launch the space vehicles. But he didn’t know the source of the funds. And this worried him. Immensely. He tried to ping once more without any luck. He set the communicator to repeatedly try connecting regularly for the next 24 hours. If still no response then he would have to acknowledge the loss of a second ground station. Though he would send a ground agent to confirm. Desai greatly disliked not knowing; not getting immediate answers. He hoped this wasn’t a sign of things to come.