Somewhere not too far below them, the lunar surface skimmed by at an ever decreasing speed. Desai knew of but could not sense their craft’s slowing. He thought of the lunar lander computer game that he’d played during one lunch time a long while ago. With it, you had to position the lander over the rough terrain and gently set it down before the fuel ran out. While the game was deceptively simple, the real event could be quite dramatic as shown by Apollo 11’s landing with fuel for only 20seconds remaining. Still Desai thought, that was the first human operated landing craft and its pilots were negotiating their way through many unknowns. Given the successes of the Apollo program as well as their own colony’s infrastructure build-out, the background knowledge of lunar landing was sufficient so as to make the risks of their landing tolerable; better than climbing Mount Annapuma and even safer than driving in some African countries.Desai was trumping his concern for landing with wanting to get back to this keyboard. His social media contacts wanted to know all details. Also, he had a few business deals that were awaiting attention. While he was pleased that the Internet had been successfully extended to their base on the Moon, part of him wondered if he would ever be able to let go of it while he was there. He did have one recommendation to send back to the colony organizers and that was to allow more mobility for passengers when landing. Really he thought, if it weren’t for the view out the porthole and the readings from the instrument cluster, Desai would not have sensed the impending landing. But he did know. And like his crewmates, his adrenaline was pumping stronger and stronger as the ground approached.
The actual landing was a let-down Desai thought even while smiling ruefully at the unintentional pun. He felt the craft re-orient from a near horizontal alignment to one near vertical. The pull of the Moon’s gravity had been present for awhile and had been increasing but it was nowhere near the strength of the Earth’s pull. He heard a subtle roar as the rockets controlled the craft’s descent and he felt the vibrations as the rocket’s energy was expended against the exit nozzle. These were also minor in comparison to the sensations from launch. Suddenly, the noise cut-out and the vibrations ceased. For the first time in his life he understood the phrase, ‘the silence was deafening’. He heard Capcom talking to Valentina. Apparently life was treating them very well today indeed as they were comfortably in their landing ellipse and only a little over 250metres from the habitation module. “They had arrived.” he thought, “Let the colony begin!”.