Le chapitre 11
“First” she began, “let’s go over the sustenance list”.
Air, water and food were their base survival requirements. They had to keep on top of the amounts or their stay would be at an end and so might they.
“Jean”, she asked “how’s the air supply”.
His response was the same as it had been last week. “Nominal.” he intoned “We’ve used up 3% of our provisions. On a more upbeat note, our greenhouse has sprouted leaves. While I can’t measure the amount yet, I suspect that the plants are providing a small amount. We’re online to get the expected 25% of our oxygen needs from them within 3 weeks.”
This was great news as their goal of self-sufficiency meant they had to replace Earth’s biological cycle in whatever way possible.
“Well done” she answered. “I’ve tested the breakdown of the local ores to release their bound oxygen and while it’s possible, the process is hugely energy intensive and would require more infrastructure than we have available. So mining oxygen from the regolith is still a long term goal”.
She didn’t bother mentioning the need for the safe arrival of the resupply vessel next month. Its precious content of food, water and oxygen was crucial.
“How about our water supply?” she carried on.
Again, Jean tracked this resource. “Well, we’re at nominal consumption for this also. Our little robot has been diligently bringing back surface material samples from all the sited locations. It’s a bit tricky as the most likely reservoirs of water/ice on the Moon lie deep in dark chasms. So we’re having challenges in getting the robot to them. To date, a few sites look promising enough to warrant a second visit but none have enough water/ice to attempt a prospecting mission.” He ended with a sideways look at Xu. He didn’t believe she’d let them out of the habitat module anytime soon. At least not before Valentina was capably and comfortably moving around again he concluded. So any prospecting mission is on hold for now.
“Still” he continued “we’ve only lost about fifty litres, most being used to get equipment online. Which we’d planned for.”
Again, the make-up water supply was coming in the resupply vessel and its safe arrival was a constant, usually unspoken concern in all of their minds.
“Fine then” Valentina pushed on “Xu, how are we doing for food?” She knew that Xu was still sore at her because of the accident and she wanted to do all she could to make it up.
Xu’s reply was steady and controlled, letting little of her internal conflict out. “As with the others, we’re at or a bit below nominal consumption. Perhaps we’re eating less because of the reduced gravity or maybe we’re getting to caught up in our tasks. In any case, we need to keep on top of this as we can’t afford anyone to be ill for any length of time” she intoned without looking at Valentina. Though everyone knew what she was driving at.
“While we are hoping to get some consumables out of this greenhouse, we will need the dedicated greenhouse module before we can expect any appreciable amount of food.” Xu’s voice wavered slightly. Her worry was almost palpable. Yet there was nothing any of them could do about it. They were the first and they were a long way from being self-sufficient so their lives continued to depend upon regular supply vessels from Earth.