Xu was finishing up her morning stretch routine. Moving slowly and smoothly from Cobra to Plank, she could feel her muscles and even her spirit ready for the days task. She had spent the night with Jean and he was still abed, softly rhythmically breathing; probably deep in some dream. The warmth of her smile came from both her face and her mantra drawing from recent memories with him. She turned and headed into the Hab’s work area still feeling good all over.
Tomorrow, they were receiving their next resupply shipment. Already the vessel was in orbit around the Moon. While they had very little involvement in the actually flight and landing, she wanted to confirm all the details, especially the position of the landing ellipse. The supply vessel should land on the crater rim near to them but not so near as to potentially cause any problem to their existing structures. The resupply vessel’s design was simple and succinct. In effect, the vessel was mostly a central brace with packages connected along it. Combined, they interlocked and made a mutually supportive structure. Once on the surface, the connections were designed for easy opening by Woof and the packages were all within Woof’s carrying parameter. Of course they held a large amount of water or actually ice. But other packages had fresh food, chemical supplies and compressed air. “Everything a growing colony needs” she thought. Eventually, they would also move the brace and landing structure to the Hab so as to keep the landing ellipse clear. She wondered if Jean’s creative genius could find some useful purpose for the brace and the empty containers. Presently, they were to fill the containers with their rubbish in the hopes that it would have some value in the future. They would need to make use of everything if they wanted to achieve self-sufficiency.
The display in front of her showed the estimated landing ellipse exactly where they wanted and the countdown to landing was at 3 hours. They had nothing to do now but wait and hope. Given their tenuous toehold on the Moon, almost any failure would see them going to the life boat and heading back to Earth. She did not consider this option and always excised any such thoughts when she woke in the morning. With the 3 hours remaining, she went to have breakfast and to look through the communique’s that had piled up overnight.
To measure her mobility, Valentina pushed off the ground with both feet and jumped higher than she ever did on Earth. Her injured leg felt fine and she had no inhibitions about using it for any routine motion. While jumping may not be the safest way to get a view of the distance, she felt it to be a great way to assess her leg’s strength, her acclimatization to the lesser gravity and her tactile sense of the ground. And, jumping was just plain fun.
Ahead she saw how the pitons continued to be anchored at regular intervals for a few more hundred metres down the crevasse. A loose wire connected one to the next. She was about to hook her harness to the wire to allow her to control her descent. With this rock-climbing method, they had been pushing ever further down the crater’s slope. They’d used measurements from the orbiting satellite as well as measurements from Woof to obtain a tightly contoured map of the crater wall. From them, they had identified likely routes and found one that would have been quite impassable given Earth’s gravity. But again, the lighter gravity of the Moon and solid footing enabled them to negotiate much steeper slopes. From trial and error, they now had a fairly secure route taking them almost half way down the crater wall. She wanted to expand her surveying and assaying so she was taking Woof to walk to nearly the end of their established path. Woof had a much lower centre of gravity as well as four strongly-treaded wheels so its grip was even more secure than hers and it had no need of a safety wire. In about thirty more minutes she would be at her destination, a small ledge likely formed from a large chunk of ejecta which itself had resulted from the meteor that created the crater. One edge of the ledge looked like a promising water trap as the Sun might not ever have been able to shine upon it. Though this shadow area was quite small and due only to the shape of the ledge, its composition might be indicative of water traps elsewhere along the crater wall. She attached her harness to the wire and followed the worn path that results from many other human passages along their established route.
Being a rambler on another planet (as the colonists considered the Moon) inspired Valentina to no end. As much as she loved exploration, she was also totally dedicated to fulfilling the self-sufficient mandate placed upon them. While many years may need to pass to reach it, they knew that successfully mining for water was the principle driver.
November is a month for remembrance and reflection. Though war incited incredible technological advances, it also caused people deep concern as we didn’t know their ramifications. While rocketry became reality during war, it’s only been fairly recently that we’ve put the technology to better, peaceful use. Looking at the future, we can see this technology being an essential step forward, if we dedicate ourselves to this opportunity.
While Mars continues to be the focus of much attention, we’re now seeing a pick-up in the interest for Rosetta and the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. With it, we will add even more knowledge into humanity’s memory. But, knowing of something is of little value unless we use the knowledge. As much as we build knowledge about space, the Moon, its history and its construct, we need to use it to get the full benefit from the years of exploration and research.
It is this ambition to which the Lunar Colony Fund adheres. We value knowledge and information but for the purpose of exploitation; to better the lives of people. We want to use information so that we can establish places to live and grow. And, we want to allow the next generation to continue stepping up; to advance the welfare of people everywhere.
Jean was rooting around the backyard again. For him, the back yard was the area between the Hab and a slight rise of ground that began a few hundred metres beyond the Hab’s living quarters. Back at home in the USA, his house’s backyard had led into a natural ravine that kept a lot of local animals and plants safely removed from the city’s human inhabitants. Sure the local kids would sometimes hang out there but they never gave him any cause for concern. While his yearning for unhindered exploration had been met by the occasional wandering in the ravine, now, he had a whole planet in his sights.
Yet, while he enjoyed his wanderings, he did have a purpose. He was undertaking a fine-grid geological survey of the top lunar dust layer. By getting hand measured ground truth data they could associate satellite sensor measurements with greater accuracy. This data was the beginning of the assessment of the worth of mining on the Moon. They believed that as Earth had worthwhile mineral deposits at many meteorite strikes then the Moon should should have accessible material at its strikes. The resulting ore could be sold for either contributing to other space efforts or for contributing to Earth endeavours. Oddly, while he enjoyed exploring, he had a natural tendency to revere ‘Mother Earth’ and he wanted to provide to those moribund upon its surface. He knew that he’d do anything to keep himself and his fellow colonists alive. Though he wouldn’t do so at the expense of those on Earth. Rather than worry though he simply wandered about taking measurements which satisfied him just fine.
Inside the Hab, Valentina recorded the data measured by Jean together with his verbal description. This ground truth would serve them well in the future. But it would also be a source of income to the colonists as they could sell it to researchers on Earth. Jean kept up his jovial humming and singing. To Valentina they both seemed to include many references to food. “Must be getting close to lunch time” she thought.