Logbook #70


Le chapitre 70

“Should life have a meaning?” pondered Aditya. “Are our actions predefined, history simply like water being guided down the riverbed? Or do we have a choice? And each decision dramatically affects every object, every atom which results in ripples spreading out through the universe.”

With Aditya’s lifetime love of games and simulations he’d often consider this issue. For instance if he were destined to win the pachisi game then why bother sitting down to play? Or, if his presence was instrumental in furthering the lunar colony then should he worry about safety?

Perhaps these thoughts were caused by his present view staring straight down the hillside. A precipitous drop that showed nothing at the bottom. Nothing but perhaps the borders of Naraka.

Softly Aditya shook his head and he moved his eyes back to the horizon. Beside him was Zara. She had a smile on her face portraying both humour and concern.

“So don’t worry, we’re not going to jump in or anything.” she relayed to Aditya. She liked his cheerful, warm companionship that seemed to permeate through the spacesuit, through her and onwards. “What we have here is the smartest sphere I know. It’s a LIDAR contour plotter. We send it over the edge and aim it for the bottom. It then records a three dimensional map of the surface all the way down. Easy!” she concluded.

She knew that Aditya already knew all about the sphere. He had written many of the algorithms that had taken previous mappings and turned them into workable views on their three dimensional imager un the Hab. She was thinking that Aditya needed to return to the present from which ever realm he was so deeply involved.

“Wasn’t it one playwright who provided us the phrase ‘to be or not to be’?” invoked Aditya. “Does nobility have any effect on the game or do we simply continue on within this maelstrom of life?”

“Not sure.” replied Zara. “But we’ve only got a short time to be here so how about leaving the hard questions for a minute and help me set up the relay platform. We need to aim its transmitting antenna to the Hab and its receive antenna will extend past the edge. I don’t want to disappoint Xu if we are forced to leave this mid-way through because our suits ran out of power or air.” she cautioned.

Aditya felt his eyes relax and he turned to help Zara with constructing the platform. He knew all the risks and limitations of this exercise. He knew that while life may be predetermined he still had to make good decisions and then act on them. While his presence on the Moon may have been predetermined, it certainly hadn’t come freely. He had spent much of his life deep in the logics of mathematical theories and modeling of the real world. Moving from academia to being a practitioner on the lunar surface had pushed him to levels of concentration and consideration that he’d never known were possible.

“Sorry Aditya” he began “I had a feeling. Not really of mental wanderlust. More like an appreciation of my presence in the universe. I do find it rather curious at how most people fall into the trap of placing themselves at the centre of the universe. And then expecting the universe to unveil its grand plan to them. I just need to remind myself that I’m simply a collection of inconsequential stardust.”

“Inconsequential or not” invoked Zara “I need your collection of dust to pull that lever just a little bit further to the right. And then the universe will be all OK again.” she smiled.

Logbook #17


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.