Logbook #5


Le chapitre 5

Comforting as that may have been, Jean had never been impressed by the numbers and he put much more store in his lucky charms. His fingers rubbed the lira coin in his pocket; a memory of his attendance at the 2015 World Fair in Milan. The coin had been with him when he exited the transport to begin his leisurely walk about the habitation module. It reminded him of his many practise walks about the Earth analog habitat. While the mobile robot had completed the same route, and he was actually following its tracks, Jean had learned that robots could only see what was expected of them. He on the other hand had a much broader knowledge base to draw upon, as well as a distinct though some would say quirky, imagination. Earlier, as he walked around the habitat, he checked out the shadows, unusual dirt formations about the base, the joins between the different modules and the general lay of the land. Their habitat was on an abbreviated plain on the rim of a crater. The view in all directions was stunning though the lack of colour gave a false, surreal sense to the image. He had been pleased that the footing was solid and the regolith for the most part quite shallow. He had briefly stopped at the Cave, an excavation made by the mobile robot that would allow them to go underground to escape severe radiation. Its walls and ceiling were intact though he wondered how the four of them would fit. His tour had ended happily without event and he had transferred all the video from his suit into the module’s digital storage where he could review it any time. His luck had continued.

Valentina had walked directly across from the transport and into the habitat module. Jean enjoyed watching Valentina as she stepped from the airlock’s vestibule into the habitat. Her smile radiated. And her natural confidence again filled him with hope. He joined Valenteina and Xu as they hugged each other. Desai smiled at them from his workstation and then he turned back to his display. Jean couldn’t imagine a happier moment in his life. Or a time when so much promise laid out before him. A song was being sung in his heart and he willed himself to place this memory in concrete so he could always bring regard it.

Now with all four of them finally together in the habitat module, they prepared their first rite, a binding moment of togetherness. They would give thanks for their safe deliverance and most of all, a moment of silence for the colonists who had attempted the same journey but had lost their lives. He gathered up the material awaiting him at his station; some wires and some LED lights. He built a small wire frame on the floor then added the LEDs. With the flick of a switch, the LEDs came alive in varying colours and the four of them had a simulated flame that they could use for their rite. This symbolised fire, one of the first elements of humanity’s civilization.

Jean extended his left hand and gently enveloped the right hand of Xu. His right hand was already holding Valentina’s left. They stood in a circle in the habitation module, holding hands and beginning their quiet memorial to the previous colonists and others who had lost their lives in pursuit of the colony. Chief in their minds were the four who had flown in the first transport from Earth. Its launch was spectacular, the rockets roared, the exhaust gases lit up the area and the monster ascended into the clouds. Moments later, and quite unexpectedly, the roar briefly increased then stopped altogether. Later, the contractor identified a mechanical failure. But for the four colonist onboard there was no reprieve. Jean shivered involuntarily thinking that he could well have been on that flight rather than here on the Moon following the successful launch and passage of their transport.

The circle made by their four bodies centred upon a small pyre with LEDs simulating a flame. Jean heard Valentina intone the words that they had all contributed to, “Our hopes and our dreams rest upon the willingness of others to support our endeavour. Thousands have contributed, some giving the ultimate sacrifice. We gladly carry their contributions into the future for the benefit of us, everyone on Earth and for the Earth itself”. She bowed her head and Jean followed her lead. They knew that they maintained a fragile existence on the Moon but they had been assured that it was as safe as climbing Mount Everest and actually safer than driving a vehicle in some countries.


Dear Fellow Lunar Enthusiasts,

People will contribute to worthwhile endeavours. Safeguarding the future is one. Consider the Canadian Cancer Society. In 2012/2013 it raised over $200M from a national population of under 35M. This generosity and altruism bodes well for the future of our species. But only with expanding into space can we continue to advance our appreciation of the universe in which we live.

The recent return of a presence on the Moon has led to much excitement. China’s Chang’e 3 lunar rover has traveled about the Moon`s surface. As well, the Chinese government has indicated that a human landing on the Moon could be a foreseeable goal. It`s nice to see such forward looking accomplishments and challenges. However, we at the Lunar Colony Fund know that a focused effort by all nations on Earth is necessary to establish a sustainable human colony on the Moon.

We implore that you continue working with us. Keep the Lunar Colony Fund in your thoughts and endeavours. Take any opportunity to explain that people can continue to nurture and embellish their future by living beyond Earth`s protective surface. Whenever possible, make a donation to the Lunar Colony Fund to show your support for humanity’s space faring future. And, enjoy the life that you have the privilege of living.

Mark Mortimer
Lunar Colony Fund

What can you imagine here?


Getting the Bucks for Buck Rogers!

Logbook #4


Le Chapitre 4

A soft bump signalled their arrival on the Moon. Xu felt their spacecraft unwind as if all its cogs, rivets and valves happily settled into their most comfortable position. She was being anthropomorphic to a fault again she thought. She closed her eyes and let her emotions dance around the cabin. Each of her crewmates was fine. Jean’s aurora vibrated with a steady joy of a child opening presents at a birthday party. Desai’s self manifested like a jaguar slowly, hungrily beginning its stalking. With Valentina, Xu again thought how similar she was to the space craft, sometimes almost indistinguishable. Still happiness and anticipation shone from all about Valenteina. She let her joy of the successful landing emit forth like a beacon both to illuminate her friends in the cabin and to let the surroundings know of their presence as well as their intent.Xu took her role as being the initiate as an important and risky opportunity. She would suit up with Desai and Jean and all three would walk across to the habitat module. Valentina remained behind in the spacecraft as a safety measure. They had already established a communication link with the module and all indicators showed nominal values; the inside air pressure was adequate and had sufficient oxygen, the water system was primed and full and the power supply was fully charged. They had no expectation of harm or danger from the module or the walk to it but the three kept to the safe side of their rehearsed script; they had been conditioned to equate their survival to an abundance of caution in this harsh new reality. Given this, Xu would be the first into the habit module and the first to breath in its air and sample its water. Yes it was a risky but necessary requirement that she was readying to perform.

All four crew members donned their space suits. The space craft air was vented and the three walkers slowly descended the ladder on to the lunar surface; first Xu then Desai and finally Jean. They collected together by the ladder, unlocked the storage doors at the base of the craft, removed and put on their travel packs and headed toward the habitat. Valentina maintained steady communications with them and relayed necessary information between monitors on Earth and the walkers. Jean was to undertake a visual tour of the exterior of the habitat module looking for damage. Desai would operate the interface of the habitat’s airlock. Xu would trial the interlock and, if successful, would continue on into the habitat module. All this seamed surreal to Xu who so recently was relaxed in her stateroom on Earth entertaining a colleague from the marketing department in the most blissful way with no consideration to air, water or even clothing. Here, being continuously, extremely cautious was a challenge for her. But, her self-awareness had made her the best candidate to lead them into their new home.

Looking to her right, Xu could see Jean beginning his circumnavigation of the module. Desai was already in front of her and had plugged his suit into the access port on the external face of the interlock. He was typing quickly away on his ethereal keyboard; a manifestation that was real to his eyes alone. He looked like a contestant playing Chopin on an air-keyboard. Xu laughed to herself at the idea which brought a quick, comforting glance from Desai. He had already warmed up to her in some very intimate ways and she was very happy to spend time and space with him. As she shyly looked away, the door of the interlock opened and the entrance to her new home gaped before her; a dark brooding orifice. With slight trepidation, she put her hand on the one handrail and stepped onto the ladder. With just a few steps, she was up and in and Desai had closed the door behind her. Her weight on the floor set the interlock into operation. Lights appeared on the panel. Dust drifted by her as air entered and began the cleaning process. She had nothing to do now but wait 5 long, slow minutes as the air pressure built and the lunar regolith that had entered with her slowly collected into the filter traps. Finally, a soft green LED flashed SAFE. With perhaps a little more trepidation than before, she removed her gloves and placed them into the internal storage. She looked down at her fingers. They felt fine even warm. The temperature seemed comfortable, probably about 20°C. She removed the glove liners and exposed her bare fingers. Again comfortable.

“Conditions seem liveable,” she reported to her colleagues and she began to remove her helmet. With it off, she could feel the space about her with all her senses. While such perception had been of great value and importance to her on Earth, she wasn’t sure how much she could rely upon it while in the contrived environment on the Moon. Still for her, it was a necessity as much as it was second nature.

Desai’s voice came in through the speaker, “How’s the décor?” he jokingly asked.

The interlock wasn’t a surprise as they had an exact duplicate on Earth and had used it countless times to practice. But that didn’t stop her sense of humour, “Somewhat stale and dated” she replied. “But a coat of paint and new furniture would do it a world of good” she ended while laughing all the time.

Now, having removed and stowed the last of her spacesuit, she moved into the vestibule that would ready her for entering the habitat. In effect, the vestibule was a second airlock. Its main purpose was to capture the useful air from the airlock and place it back into storage. If the colony was ever to be self-sufficient, they wouldn’t be able to discharge anything; air, water or waste. The vestibule was just one measure that kept their emissions to zero. Again, her weight on the vestibule floor, and the lack of weight on the airlock floor, began the process. As her helmet was off, she could hear the pumps and valves quietly sucking the air into a reservoir. Unbeknownst to her, at the same time the airlock was expelling the lunar dust that it had collected from her space suit’s exterior.

Desai’s voice on the speaker brought her up short. He was laughing and saying, “Hey have you ever seen a building fart?”

Apparently, air remnants had emitted the dust as a slight cloud that just captured enough of the rising Sun’s rays to make them noticeable. Xu smiled and saw the flashing light in the airlock change to yellow and read CAUTION while in front of her a new bright light shown again in green but reading HABITAT SAFE. The entrance way slid to the side and she stepped forward into their new living quarters.

Logbook #3


Le chapitre 3

Somewhere not too far below them, the lunar surface skimmed by at an ever decreasing speed. Desai knew of but could not sense their craft’s slowing. He thought of the lunar lander computer game that he’d played during one lunch time a long while ago. With it, you had to position the lander over the rough terrain and gently set it down before the fuel ran out. While the game was deceptively simple, the real event could be quite dramatic as shown by Apollo 11’s landing with fuel for only 20seconds remaining. Still Desai thought, that was the first human operated landing craft and its pilots were negotiating their way through many unknowns. Given the successes of the Apollo program as well as their own colony’s infrastructure build-out, the background knowledge of lunar landing was sufficient so as to make the risks of their landing tolerable; better than climbing Mount Annapuma and even safer than driving in some African countries.Desai was trumping his concern for landing with wanting to get back to this keyboard. His social media contacts wanted to know all details. Also, he had a few business deals that were awaiting attention. While he was pleased that the Internet had been successfully extended to their base on the Moon, part of him wondered if he would ever be able to let go of it while he was there. He did have one recommendation to send back to the colony organizers and that was to allow more mobility for passengers when landing. Really he thought, if it weren’t for the view out the porthole and the readings from the instrument cluster, Desai would not have sensed the impending landing. But he did know. And like his crewmates, his adrenaline was pumping stronger and stronger as the ground approached.

The actual landing was a let-down Desai thought even while smiling ruefully at the unintentional pun. He felt the craft re-orient from a near horizontal alignment to one near vertical. The pull of the Moon’s gravity had been present for awhile and had been increasing but it was nowhere near the strength of the Earth’s pull. He heard a subtle roar as the rockets controlled the craft’s descent and he felt the vibrations as the rocket’s energy was expended against the exit nozzle. These were also minor in comparison to the sensations from launch. Suddenly, the noise cut-out and the vibrations ceased. For the first time in his life he understood the phrase, ‘the silence was deafening’. He heard Capcom talking to Valentina. Apparently life was treating them very well today indeed as they were comfortably in their landing ellipse and only a little over 250metres from the habitation module. “They had arrived.” he thought, “Let the colony begin!”.