Logbook #83

Zara relaxed and let her mind float out to meet the stars overhead. It was night time on the Moon’s surface and the Sun’s glare didn’t obstruct or confuse. Her eyes reached up. Darting from one constellation to the next. Skipping from one asterism to the next. Her mind remembering nights spent lying in the backyard with her mother. Learning about stars. The real lessons of fusion reactors and powerful bursts of radiation. Learning from her about the basic elements. Atoms. And that stars and people all came from the same stuff. Coming from something that might have had a beginning. Creating substance out of raw energy. Transfiguring to the current time. Perhaps a linear transformation. Perhaps transforming but with all moments in time and space connected by strings. And her mind floated further into possibilities.

She loved thinking of the possibilities. Perhaps one day, people could visit another star. Maybe only as a consciousness in a machine. An arrangement of bits and bytes that somehow represented a person. Or at least a person at a certain moment in time. A person as defined by a collection of characteristics of strings. Strings that had given substance to a personality. Which at a particular instant people would have duplicated exactly. And then installed into mechanical memory. Then that installation had been encoded and put into flight. To fly to another star. Perhaps one just above her right now. Funny thing how stars seemed a bit boring when they didn’t twinkle.

She though it also odd that her interest in rocks had brought her to the Moon. Maybe it had come from watching many years ago vintage footage of Harrison Schmitt as he danced around the lunar regolith. Maybe it was his exultations on finding so many varieties of rocks. Colours. Shapes. Textures. So much to look at. So much to measure. So much to ponder. For instance, was the Moon just great chunks of the Earth’s outer shell that had been blasted off? During some primordial collision? Which then coalesced into this great chunk of rock that she called home. But it had been rocks that caught her interest. Rocks as clues to powers far grander than hers. Of any person. Powers that could toss around masses such as Ayers rock. Slide continents up and over. Smooth the exterior of a planet. Make a planet livable. Give it a protective magnetic mantle. Or not. As she considered when comparing the Moon to the Earth.

A slight tremor vibrated through her body. These were common events on the Moon. The Moon may be dead when compared to the Earth. Yet it was anything but still. It seemed to enjoy a cacophony of vibrations. All low amplitude. Usually short duration. Some with a small period. Others that seemed to be resonating with the ages of galaxies.

Galaxies. “They were a wonder,” she thought. They were something that could be measured. Could be identified and put into a box. A classification. An ellipse. A wheel. A sombrero. But why couldn’t you classify what’s between the galaxies. If dark matter was supposedly so prevalent then it should be out there. It should have characteristics. Would it have its own collection of strings to define its existence? And would humans ever learn how to identify and measure those characteristics.

Zara felt her breathing slow. Her muscles relaxed. She began entering a pleasant meditative state. At which time the intercom crackled and Xu’s voice entered her ears.

“Time to get back to rock picking” Xu gently said. Xu knew that Zara had an almost emotional attachment to rocks. And the Moon. And the stars. And Xu knew she had to pull Zara back into reality slowly. As sometimes dreams were the only reality.