Le chapitre 60
Zara’s humming kept in time with her rock pick’s striking. She sorely missed being able to run her fingers over the rock surface, to feel the consistency, to get a flavour as to its age and what wondrous process had formed it and then left it on Earth for her to discover. On Earth each rock held a message of sediments settling millions of years ago or perhaps a great upheaval that re-oriented the horizontal rock into vertical slabs. Or her favourite the igneous swirls that took on the aura of Dali’s paintings. Or was it that the paintings taking on the look of the rock? She picked up some of the lunar rock shards and a few larger pieces and stored them in a pouch of her knapsack humming all the while. And all the while missing the joys of billions of years of plate tectonics that the Earth had but the Moon would never have.
She looked around a bit more and was left with a sour sensation of deja-vu. Almost all of the surface features in this area looked the same as all the previous. And they probably came in to being from the same process. They really weren’t kidding when they said that the Moon was a dead planet. It was as if every indication of life whether a breeze in the air, a flow of water or even a sluice of lava had gone dormant. Or had never, ever happened. She could easily imagine eons ago a dust cloud circling the Earth and slowly coalescing into a rubble pile and then eventually into a somewhat homogenous sphere of material. And then nothing changes except for the occasional asteroid strike.
This was what she saw whenever her mind reached back to tales of the Moon’s creation. Of a large asteroid that struck the proto-Earth, dislodged great quantities of the Earth into an orbiting cloud which then formed into the Moon. The Moon had enough mass to condense and liquefy some of the material to make a core. But there wasn’t enough material or enough of necessary elements to make a core like the Earth’s. So the Moon did not have a mantle or any plate tectonics. And thus the Moon did not have any cool rocks. Just more and more of the same grey basalt.
She was envious of Harrison Schmitt’s discovery of orange rock in Taurus-Littrow. Sometimes she’d imagine giving her left arm to find any sort of interesting structure or mineral. She laughed at herself as she knew that she needed both her hands to manoeuvre about the Moon’s rugged surface.
But still she wondered, “What on Earth, or more correctly, what on the Moon did she have to do to make a discovery on this sterile, dull mass of rock?” Her humming switched over to an old rhythm she used to reserve for times on the outback.
She stretched, looked up and felt her humming pick up a beat. She had developed a plan to beat this grey monotony. She was building a software network that connected their orbiting satellites to the Moon ground stations and to her server on the Hab. This network monitored the Moon’s near field and its surface. With this she hoped to pick up any meteorite.
“Was ‘meteorite’ the correct word on the Moon?” she thought.
Anyway, if a space rock, asteroid, meteor or whatever did strike the Moon and it struck the Moon not too far away then she could race over and try to find the location of the strike. If the object was large enough then it might travel deeply into the Moon’s surface and lay bare some of the regolith. She didn’t know if there’d be any strata. Actually she couldn’t imagine any strata. But any shape or a swirl of shades of grey, even the slightest hint of colour, would make all this effort here more than worthwhile.
She let her voice chime in with an old Australian outback tune that had kept her company while prospecting out by YarLarweelor. Truly song would keep going even when all the rocks had given up their treasures.