The picture shows LS Allgood in space. Interesting thought: it would probably be built of stainless steel. While spacecraft launched from Earth are typically aluminum alloy and/or composites, an equivalent craft built in space, from materials taken from the moon or asteroids, would likely use the iron and nickel present there. While aluminum is available also, it is more expensive to extract, purify and fabricate than steel. So in a low-gravity situation the cost/benefit curve would favor steel construction. I got this idea from Asteroid Mining 101: Wealth for the New Space Economy by John Lewis of Deep Space Industries company.
Straker bides his time while he’s being confined to quarters. He’s bored to tears so he daydreams about his father, sings to himself and plays his guitar. But then he hears notes he never played. Someone–or something–is listening. And playing along.
Here’s Chapter 5. Straker learns more about the mission and gets to know his crewmates better, but his temper gets him in trouble. He gets a “promotion” to Captain of the Head. As a recruit in the Volusia County Lifeguard Corps back in the ’70’s, at one point I had the enviable daily job of emptying the “honey-pot” from the latrine at headquarters. So I’m writing from experience here. Life is better now!
In this chapter, Straker gets his first look at the rest of the crew: in addition to the captain, there’s an arrogant PHD acting as first officer, along with an attractive, young career woman and a goofy jock who’s anxious for a shot at her.
The crew launches into lunar orbit from a so-called “mass driver”, which is basically an electromagnetic gun that gets its payload going fast enough to reach orbit. See the picture taken from a lunar base concept drawing by NASA.
I had a request for a map of the area; see the picture that goes with this post, which is based on a bastardized image from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Clicking on it should bring up a larger version. Shackleton Crater is about 19 KM in diameter, and is located about 156 KM from Malapert Mountain. Because Shackleton is right at the Moon’s south pole, all directions are north from there. The moon’s coordinate system—AKA “selenographic” coordinates—are similar to Earth’s, with longitude and latitude as you would expect. The prime meridian, which marks the 0 degrees angle of longitude, is in the center of the side of the Moon that faces Earth.
Hope you like the new chapter.
So now you know about a lot about Straker’s issues. He’s had a very rough upbringing and he’s stranded in a little town deep within the rim of Shackleton Crater with people that hate his guts. In Chapter 2 he gets tested in a different way.
Shackleton is located almost exactly at the moon’s south pole, and is believed to be a so-called “Crater of Eternal Darkness.” Because the temperature stays so low down there, it’s an excellent potential location for an infrared telescope. That’s the theory anyway.
Here’s a page with some cool images from NASA about the crater. http://sservi.nasa.gov/articles/detailed-characterization-of-shackleton-crater/
To us, Shackleton Crater is an interesting and mysterious location on the moon, but to Straker it’s a dump.
I have posted Chapter 1 of my work-in-progress, Dust. I hope to post a couple of chapters per week going forward. If you have time, check it out and post a critique under this blog post–there’ll be one blog post for each chapter. Be honest!
By the way, I just finished the book *A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, one of my favorite authors. The scope of the book is amazing, and it’s full of interesting facts.
Here’s one: “as a rule…our tolerance for elements [of the periodic table] is directly proportionate to their abundance in the Earth’s crust…a big part of the reason that Earth seems so miraculously accommodating is that we evolved to suit its conditions.” In other words, our bodies are exactly matched to this planet. That has an impact on how people might colonize other planets; will we need to bring along trace amounts of things like cobalt and manganese in ensure our long-term health if we don’t find them on our new host planet, or will we engineer ourselves to not need these things anymore?
Another thing: 99.99 % of all species that have ever existed on Earth are extinct. Extinction is part of the cycle of life on Earth and has been since life began. Here’s one of my favorite extinct species: Opabinia, which existed during the so-called Cambrian Explosion (542 million years ago). It had five eyes and a nozzle-like snout with claws on the end, and a mouth under the head facing backwards. See the picture, grabbed off Wikipedia. The point is, if Opabinia is an Earth creature, then how weird will extraterrestrial creatures be, if and when we finally encounter them? Not likely to be green-skinned bikini models. Dang.
Not the worst thing you’ll see today
This site is to showcase work by K. P. Redmond. The general idea is to learn how to write a decent novel by publishing a chapter at a time on this site. Pull down to the webpage with the chapter from the website menu on the upper right, Dust: the book>Chapter x.
I welcome feedback on the chapters, both positive and negative. The blog posts allow comments, so leave your comments on the blog post that goes with the chapter you have comments on. I appreciate it!
I’m still learning to use WordPress to maintain the site so it may change its appearance from time to time.