Le chapitre 17
This time Jean and Xu were outside walking with Woof while Valentina kept watch from inside the Hab. This was the first occasion that they had travelled outside the line of sight of any Hab monitor. They were exploring a shallow crevasse that split the inside edge of the crater. Their approach had been gradual along a well rounded fall line and with Woof leading, they entered the shallow down slope that descended outside their view.
Jean and Xu had role played this excursion during the last two days in the Hab. A 3D visual simulator put them into a synthetic environment. The simulator used measurements from the orbiting satellite to structure the ground. Jean had fun with this and would continually try to outsmart the computer. His favourite game was to walk directly at and through the imaginary crevasse rock wall or to gently but powerfully kick a rock in the hopes of it going ballistic. Xu laughed at his antics but she preferred to keep focused and she’d always pull him back into the task at hand. For her, as always, it was their goal; water, water, water. Their long-term survival depended upon acquiring this resource. Thus, they used the role playing to optimize any opportunity that could help lead to success.
As they ambled along the surface, Xu kept track of Woof’s laser gyros. With these they kept informed of the slope of the crevasse’s floor. The rover’s LIDAR imaging also kept them as well as Valentina at the Hab apprised of the local ground contours. They had discovered that much as like sand on the deserts of Earth, the lunar regolith smoothed out most small bumps and pitfalls. Valentina focused her monitors upon this ground truth data and steadily built up a true terrain map. From it, she’d relay suggestions to Xu and Jean for slight changes to a footfall. While she felt it monotonous, acquiring ground truth data could greatly speed detection of rocks containing appreciable water, or actually, ice. The sound of keyclicks coming from Desai’s work station just slightly behind her comforted her in her task. She saw Woof’s slope rate readout begin to increase too fast and she gave a command for all three to stand fast.
Expecting a drop-off, Jean tethered himself to Xu and pulled out a long ground probe. Back home he’d call this thing a stick but with no trees on the Moon then the telescopic probe got this more exciting name. Waving the probe as a blind person would wave their white cane, Jean slowly continued.