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To Orbit The Moon Is A Step Into Space

as11-0629-69h-977

In my novel, The Rags Of Time, travel to the outer edges of Earth’s solar system has been accomplished. But the Moon still holds its sway – literally.

To celebrate the space outing of fifty years ago. I’ll post another segment of my written ascent through the heavens. My crew are returning  from their trip to the outer reaches of our solar system. and something goes awry. There is no Huston to contact, but there is a problem.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Captain, Eric the Red, turns to again look at Pluto.

“If it’s not internal, then it must be external.”

He shifts the image of Pluto to a larger screen.

“Although, quite frankly, that concept isn’t much better than its alternative.”

He tries to sharpen the focus on the large screen. After a minute of adjusting the controls, he shrugs his shoulders in failure.

“That indistinct picture is not due to our sensors. Have the other stations turn their view screens to Pluto. See if they get the same results.”

“Yes, sir.”

While Malcolm checks with the other observation officers, Eric the Red again runs a sweep of his instruments. As he thoroughly goes over each one, he pays attention to the responses received by his first officer. It is quickly apparent the same fuzzy image appears over the whole ship.

“Any ideas, Number One?”

“I think our movement is being disrupted.” Malcolm looks at the same sequence of instruments. “I’d guess there’s agitation in our centrifugal rotation.” He peers closely at the view screen. “It can’t be much. Our artificial gravity doesn’t seem affected.”

“You don’t look in danger of floating away.” The captain smiles. “So I doubt this explains my `light-headedness’.”

“No, sir.” Malcolm can not tell how serious the older man is. “The rotation alteration is minimal. It is just enough to make our cameras waver.” He taps the view screen. “Considering how sensitive they are, I would judge this force to be weak.”

“Any guess what it is?”

“No data suggests a malfunction within the ship.” Malcolm moves a dial a millimetre. “Which leaves an outside cause.”

“Well.” The captain leans so close his nose touches the view screen. “I think we’re being influenced by the mysterious Tenth.”

“Iris?”

“Yes.” He turns back to his first officer. “With Pluto and Charon positioned the way they are, and our attempt to execute the Hohmann-ellipse to take advantage of the Film Technique, we may have added the weight of Iris to our backs.”

“The alignment shouldn’t be intense enough to – ”

“Iris is so perversely inconsistent, it doesn’t have to fit into our ideas of alignment to make itself felt.” The captain makes some inclusions into the library computer. “After all, we’re the ones entering its sphere of influence.”

“It is a minor influence.” The first officer makes some quick calculations in his head. “We could accept a reduction of our artificial gravity for the duration of the manoeuvre.”

“That’s a viable option.” Eric the Red looks up co-ordinates to enter into the computer. “But we can negate the problem without weakening our reserves.” He inserts a bar of information into the computer. “Run an evaluation of our solar cells.”

“Yes, sir.”

Malcolm walks to the banks of light-activated monitors surrounding the doorway. He takes a laser probe from his instrument pouch, and traces it across a screen. As the figures appear, he reads them aloud. Most are at full capacity.

“Do you see what I’m getting at, Number One?”

“Yes, sir. We use some of this power to counter the effect of Iris.”

“Exactly.” The captain smiles. “We don’t touch our reserve fuel, and we replenish the solar storage during our last month of earth approach.”

The captain pauses to read a number off his computer screens. He performs some equations on his hand-calculator, then turns to look at his first officer.

“If the Film Technique is successful, we’ll save nine to fourteen days.”

Eric takes a binder from under his work station, and flips through its pages. He enters data into both his computer and his calculator, and talks over his shoulder.

“If we use solar packs A7, A12, A17, K12, K13, O2, O5, S37, then form a Perpetual Loop between the GOT Terminal and the S37 Positive Outtake, we’ll only exhaust 252 of the solar cells. The depletions will be uniform, and restricted to known sectors.”

Malcolm is also doing calculations from the laser screens. He doesn’t look up as he speaks.

“That will give us more excess power than necessary to confront the drag from Iris.”

“Yes.” The captain closes the binder. “But with the Loop, we have the option of creating a surge to replenish some used cells, instead of venting the surplus.” He swivels around in his chair. “We should begin the manoeuvre at the first opportune time.”

“That will be five hours and thirty-seven minutes.” Malcolm crosses the floor to stand beside the captain.

“Advise the crew, and have them double monitor until we correct the interference of our rotation.”

(Image) https: //www.rocketstem.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AS11-0629-69H-977.jpg

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As A Bonus – here is a link to:

APOLLO 11
IN REAL TIME
A real-time journey through the first landing on the Moon
This website consists entirely of original historical mission
material.

Man On The Moon And A Step Beyond

1moon

 

In my novel, The Rags Of Time, travel to the outer edges of Earth’s solar system has been accomplished. But the Moon still holds its sway – literally.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is a navigator’s moon.

That is how Eric the Red thinks of it, as his space craft enters Earth’s solar system. He is called Eric the Red for his facial hair, and his ancestry. But behind his back, his romantic notions of the ancient ways is more the reason for his name.

Even when they fly past it, Earth’s moon generates little influence upon their return. A minor compensation of the thrusters, and its only effect on the ship, is the ritualistic kiss which crew members bestow against the aft window for the man in the moon. However, as soon as his gravity sensors register the distant presence of Pluto, Eric the Red enhances their output to catch the faintest twinge of the Earth’s moon.

His navigator’s moon.

Tomorrow, Eric will alter course to sweep past Pluto’s satellite, Charon. He plans to use the combined gravity as a sling to amplify his own trajectory, although he will lose some directional control to achieve speed.

Opportunities to observe this unknown planet are still scarce, and he makes adjustments to confront the dual gravity. He decides to attempt the `Film Technique’, which met with success among the moons of Jupiter. The Technique is named after the way film had been threaded in the antique movie projectors of the Twentieth Century.

He plans to wind through the gravities of the various moons, in such a manner that each helps accelerate his ship around the next. There are many factors to consider which affect the interplay of gravities between solar bodies. And they will, in turn, exert their control over his vessel. At times like this Eric wonders how much really has been learned since the existence of gravity was acknowledged.

Is There A Warehouse In Hell For Telemarketers?

robot-telemarketer

Here we go again. Almost the same scenario this morning, although the speaker was a female. Same cover-tossing on my part, same worry. that something was wrong. My response was so abrupt, however, that I was the party hung-up upon. At least these incidents have been reduced.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The phone rang too early for decent folk this morning, but that can mean there is a problem, so I tossed off the covers and answered.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hello?

[jumbled static, tweeps, gurgle, hollow and distant voices]

Hello?

Heelooo. Heelooo.

Hello?

Heelooo. Eeeestay. Is there Eeeestay?

What do you want?

Eeeestay [static and hollow voices in the distance] Eeeestay, danger to your computer. I can save.

You are lying through your teeth. You know nothing about my computer.

Wha… Eeeestay. I can save your computer.

You are lying through your teeth.

Idiot! [abrupt hangup]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All of which put me in mind of a blog  I wrote a couple of years ago of a conversation I had with – possibly – this fellow’s brother

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have a degree of sympathy for telemarketers. I spent a couple of months training to work in a call centre.  I was mainly to deal with customer complaints. It was the least offensive such job I could find. But I could just not remember all the stages I was supposed to go through, or keep track of all the various information tabs on my screen. I did not make it through ‘training’.

My modicum of sympathy, and not being totally sure when I first answered that it was a marketing call, made me embark on the following conversation. No, it is not verbatim (I didn’t record it for quality control). And it is condensed. I admit, a certain fascination of just experiencing it, kept me on the line.

To anyone else without a writer’s perversion, do as I say and don’t do as I do.

Hang up.

Telemarketer: “Hello.”

Me: “Hello.”

[long pause]

T: “Hello there.”

M: “Hello.” [another long pause] “Hello. How can I help you?”

T: “Help me?”

M: “Yes. What do you want?”

T: “Are you the Lord?”

M: “The Lord?”

T: “That you can help me.”

M: “Good Lord. What do you want?”

T: “I have the Lord. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”

M: “You make your Lord annoyed.”

T: “Ha ha ha ha ha lo lo lo lo lo lo moo moo moo.”

M: “You’re speechless.”

T: Moo moo moo moo maa maa maa.”

M: “You sound drunk.”

T: “I’ll put my dick on your ass.”

M: “What?”

T: “And show it to your wife.”

M: “It would give her a laugh.”

T: “And I’ll do your dog.”

M: “That’s fine. My dog bites.”

T: “Your wife will have a big smile.”

M: “What about my dog?”

T: “Lick a dick.”

[At this point I begin to feel I am as bad as him. I stop.]

T: “Here is dick. Moo moo moo moo. Hello. Where’s the wife?”

[Silence]

T: “Hello Hello. Got my dick out.”

[Silence – though I still wonder where this might go. Then he starts talking to a voice I can’t hear.]

T: “Sorry, Sir.”

T: “It’s a real call.”

T: “The number is … [my correct phone number]

T: “He is [the wrong name]

T: “I am calling [correct city].”

T: “He lives at .”

T: “It is in [correct country]“.

T: “I understand, Sir.”

T: “It is time.”

T: “No, Sir. You don’t have trouble.”

T: “Yes, Sir. I can do that.”

T: “I’ll phone back in fifteen minutes.”

[There are no further phone calls.]

(image)http://www.toptenz.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/robot-telemarketer.jpg

Kafka And Technology

Kafka at the helm.

Franz Kafka had little use and no affection for that new-fangled invention – the telephone.

Kafka probably also wished he had never seen a typewriter, though he pecked away on it daily.

However,  no doubt to his chagrin, Kafka has been credited with devising the first ‘safety helmet’ or hard hat. He was also awarded a medal for this feat. Now, I knew Kafka had been awarded a medal by the Austro-Hungarian Empire for some services rendered. The beauty of this (something even Kafka appreciated) was that it never happened. By the time the bureaucracy  of the Empire had chewed its way through the procedure, the Empire no longer existed. Empire and Emperor were both gone as a result of the First World War. The Empire had disappeared before Kafka ever got his medal.

For a writer seemingly outside the ‘real’ world, Kafka was acutely aware of it and how it functioned.  He was  the first person to describe for popular consumption, through a newspaper article, the flight of that newfangled device, the aeroplane. He attended an air show in Italy where there were stunts and races. He wrote an account, “Die Aeroplane in Brescia,” which was published in the Prague newspaper Deutsche Zeitung Bohemia. I would say he was impressed, if not exactly pleased.

DE

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