Logbook #13

AS15-90-12243
AS15-90-12243

Le chapitre 13

A routine slowly returned as Valentina regained her strength. She accommodated her reduced mobility by keeping very busy within their living quarters. She took on all the menial chores; planning meals, cleaning surfaces, routine maintenance and Earth communications. She was also getting quite adroit at disappearing into the background. Especially when Xu was nearby.

With time on her hands and a leg to heal, Valentina looked for opportunities within her reach. She was becoming a master at manipulating their external robot, that they’ve affectionately called Woof as if it were a pet dog. She had been using Woof to inspect the immediate lay of the land centring on their habitation module and slowly travelling in spiralling circles outwards. The occasional crevasse was causing problems. But otherwise she’d completed visual inspections of the complete region. Other sensors recorded the Sun’s reflections off the surface in various bandwidths. With this and vast numbers of assaying, she’d almost mapped the surface geology out past a radial kilometre.

The routine was simple. Woof would regularly carry the assay samples back to the habitation module and deposit them into the transfer chamber. Minutes later, Valentina had them in her hand and she carried them over to the lab bench and began the chemistry assessments. Her goal was to find a construction medium like the bricks used so ubiquitously on Earth. She lacked fluid and a convenient binder such as lime but she was learning to use energy from the Sun as a sintering agent. By heating a few milligrams she could estimate the structural integrity and strength. So far, she’d made at most, some cubes about the size of Lego blocks. Soon though she was going to send Woof out with a much larger home-made, or really a Hab-made sintering ‘oven’ to make a useful brick like a cinder block.

With any luck, soon Xu would let her try standing on her leg and having short walks inside the hab.

“That’d be an excellent step in the right direction.” she thought with a certain amount of impatience. She wanted to be outside. She wanted progress and she wasn’t getting that by rolling around the Hab.

Logbook #12

AS12-46-6747
AS12-46-6747

Le chapitre 12

Of all the new experiences on the Moon, Jean enjoyed this one the most. He carefully removed his glove to expose his hand to the emptiness of space. Bending, he ran his fingers through the sharp shards of lunar regolith. From decades of working with his hands, Jean had built up calluses and extremely thick skin. While he felt the shards as a tingling sensation, no pain ensued. He then took an anti-static cloth from his belt, gently cleaned off his hand and reattached his glove. With a soft swoosh sound, he knew that the internal air pressure had extended back into his glove and his hand was fully protected again. He realized it was a ridiculously risky luxury but whenever he did this, he imagined being back on Earth, on a beach, seeing the Sun’s rays trace shadows across boulders and cliff walls. Though these were great memories, he was continually grateful and thankful of his opportunity on the Moon.

However, life had not always been this pleasant; it was actually pretty rough when they first had landed. The four of them were sharing a space not much larger than his garage back home on Earth. He had worried a bit about that during the training on Earth. While he wasn’t a particularly possessive person, he did like claiming his space, his tools and his responsibilities. Also, he wasn’t too keen on semi-public showering and toileting. Yet, all four of them seemed to have quickly settled into a routine that kept everyone comfortable. He kept his personal needs to a few predictable times. Usually when he started toward the shower, the others had already made themselves busy at the other end of the room, especially the ladies. He wasn’t a prude but there were some things that his mother had taught him were just to be kept private. Still, they had all taken to wearing minimal clothing so there weren’t many secrets between them. At first he considered this risqué.

“Were we all exhibitionists?” he wondered to himself.

But the practicalities of their environment and the necessity for minimal personal effects at launch hadn’t given them abundant wardrobe alternatives. Yes, at times the living was rough like when he had gone camping with his Scout troop he thought. But it wasn’t all difficult or unpleasant.

Happily, some parts of his new life were kind of nice. For instance, he enjoyed having complete control over their air quality. They could regulate the temperature, the humidity and even the smell. On his turns, he’d chosen to wake to air that was slightly cool with a hint of dampness and the smell of fresh cut hay tingling at the back of his nose. Funny he thought, “he’d never lived on a farm and had stayed at farm houses only a few times.”

Because of where his work took him, he’d spent most of his time in towns and cities. Still, rising out of his cot in the habitat module to that atmosphere put a huge smile on his face and got him ready to face anything coming his way.

And that smile had come in handy a few times already. The first few days had been an abrupt and crucially quick learning experience. Their habitat was functioning on their arrival but they noticed little glitches all about. Lights didn’t work. Air vents were quiet. Wire tracings didn’t match the schematics. And so on. Most concerning were the air-alarms. These initiated with a low, audible siren-like noise and a slow flashing of yellow strip lights. Both the siren’s frequency and the intensity of the lights increased as the internal air pressure dropped. Perhaps a micrometeorite had struck or a joint had separated. In any case, immediate attention was demanded.

Yet, all this fuss and bother was nirvana to him. His tool case was extraordinary; everything he needed was at hand and their quality was impeccable. He had quickly set up a maintenance log for them to enter problems and requests. He thought ruefully of his dad’s ‘honey-do’ pot that his mom had kept full and he realised he was recreating the same thing; but on a computer and on a distant planet (as they called the Moon)! Nevertheless, via his scheduling, things got done. Crises such as loss of air or leakage of water got immediate attention, often with many helping hands as their survival depended upon the air and water supply. But, Jean and the other three found that the life-critical alarms were few. Happily, as expected, he had his honey-do pot to fill his day and his own appreciation of their importance to prioritize each. He got things back to their nominal working condition and occasionally made improvements to accommodate unforeseen effects of the low gravity, no-atmosphere conditions on the Moon. Yes, Jean was more than content; he was thinking his life was fulfilled in this stark, new environment.

He finished crawling out from underneath the habitat. His flexible suit made this possible where the Apollo astronauts in their suits had barely been able to bend at the waist. He straightened and took a last, pleased look at his repair work; the rerouted cabling and the new nameplates. He’ll update the drawings once he was back at his workstation in the habitat.

He thought, “Another great job by Jean the go-to-guy!”.

He smiled, turned and began the short walk back to the airlock, only slightly looking forward to the simple, slow but lengthy process that took him from the ‘great outdoors’ back into the shirt-sleeve environment of the habitat module.

Bulletin#6

Dear Fellow Lunar Enthusiasts,

It’s nice to see that science might be an instigator of peace. Even though there’s been much strife recently between the USA and Russia with regard to the Crimea, the ISS remains a fully supported experiment in the skies. As the astronauts keep saying, from space, they can see no visible borders. With a colony on the Moon, political strife will likely be the least of their concerns so they just might be the catalyst for even deeper peace accords on Earth.

At the Lunar Colony Fund we’ve been receiving more and more queries and offers of support. Let’s keep this progress alive. Continue to network and outreach to anyone interested in establishing a colony of people beyond the Earth’s surface. Have them send us an email; we’re happy to respond to all inquiries.

Mark Mortimer
President
Lunar Colony Fund

What can you imagine here?

AS17-136-20685
AS17-136-20685

Getting the Bucks for Buck Rogers!

Logbook #11

AS12-46-6734
AS12-46-6734

Le chapitre 11

Valentina brought the Council to order. While it could seem overblown to have the four of them establish a governance structure, they were expecting more colonists. And not too long into the future. On Earth, they had been encouraged to be independent once on the Moon. One realization that they had was that they could not rely upon any far-away judicial system. Nor did they think that any established system was wholly applicable to their situation. Hence, weekly, they sat about their round table and held council to keep their affairs in order.

“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.