Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta landing. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta landing. Mostrar todas las entradas

miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2017


   As the capsule pierced into the unknown, the three former passengers of the ship known as Aurora, stared through the small round window, watching as the remains of their spaceship slowly separated from one another. They had been close, but fast-thinking from Beta, the onboard artificial intelligence, had saved them from a massive meteorite hitting them with all of its might. Now they were floating around in space, without a proper plan of survival and worry in their minds.

 Annika, the captain, had been the last one to enter the pod and was now trying to figure out what to do. They were too far from Earth for anyone in there to rescue them before the oxygen ran out. And besides that, there was the fact that no other spaceship was on that system, as it had been deemed a territory for observation and not exploitation. Other systems were being deprived of their resources by humans, but not that one. Their mission on the Aurora had been to observe and note.

 The planet closest to their position was a gas giant, maybe the size of Jupiter or a little bit larger. Mathematician Steve had been calculating many of the planet’s characteristics when the meteorite appeared out of nowhere. As they looked through the window, he noted that the planet was maybe so powerful that it had diverted to trajectory of a meteorite, sending it in the exact route on which they were working. An unfortunate occurrence but also of great interest. That comment wasn’t very well received.

 Shawna Clark was the main engineer and had been put in charge by her superior to guard the spaceship. Usually, she would have been with a senior engineer on the ship but he had to bail at the last moment because of a death in his finally. A replacement should reach them in a few months but now that was not really the best timing. The pod present many more challenges than the ones she was used to. Her training was the same as the one of any other person but she was very insecure.

 Annika ordered her crew, including the A.I. Beta to start working on improving their stay on the pod, at least long enough to be able to map some sort of plan that could end up on them being rescued or, at the very least, alive. Hours passed and everyone agreed the oxygen level was fine, although it could have been much better, and that the pod had no problems. Or at least not yet. Looking at the trajectory, they realized they were being pulled into the gas giant and their tiny ship could be destroyed if they didn’t do something to correct their path.

 The first thing was to choose another destination, at least for the time being. They decided to aim at one of the larger moons of the planet, one that they hadn’t been able to properly survey, as they had not been long enough in the system. They locked on the planet and used most of the small pods energy to propel themselves towards the moon. The bad part of this plan was that they had to control everything manually and certain problems would arise from the sudden thrust.

 Right enough, the ship started to shake violently even after all of the energy had been wasted. Shawna reported that most of the structure of the pod was damaged due to vibrations and Steve was trying to determine, with the help of Beta, how they could be able to remediate for their choice and if they actually had a chance of orbiting the moon. The reason why it was their goal was also because an old couple of satellites floated around it, which they could use to power the ship’s communications and call home.

 Shawna complained, as they moved around in haste, that calling Earth should have been their priority. However, Beta noted that the pod did not have the capacity to make contact with the Earth. Instead, it could only communicate with the main ship, whose pieces were now plummeting towards the gas giant. Luckily, that wasn’t going to be their faith but uncertainty was a lot more to handle for only three people and their friend with no body. They had to work fast.

 The impulse used to get away from the attraction of the planet, had been enough to liberate them, at least for the time being. They had to deprive the pod of many non-essential components in order to get a little bit closer to the satellites they needed to reach. But as they drew closer, a huge realization came to their minds: the satellites had stopped working for years, maybe even centuries. They would have to repair them and then use them and there was no time to do that inside the pod.

 And not outside either. There wasn’t enough air to breath. Their supply would last for about to more Earth days and that would be it. They would die of suffocation, inside a ship that was floating in space adrift. They all realized that their death was close and, instantly, their minds went to those they had left on Earth. They remembered their mother’s scent, the voice of their father’s, the tenderness of their grandparents and those who had children, heard them laugh once again. For a very brief moment, they were in peace with the fact that death was upon them.

 However, Beta interrupted them by announcing he had being able to access the memory banks on one of the satellites. Apparently, it had been able to function for a few more months after it stopped sending information to Earth. But the interesting part it’s that it hand found out that conditions on the nearby moon were similar to the ones in cold regions of the Earth. Climate was not ideal but they would be able to breathe.

 This statement by Beta made the crew breathe again and even a smile was brought to their faces. They decided to immediately recover the physical remains of the satellites by doing a spacewalk. This had to last the less amount of time possible so all three astronauts decided to do it together. Beta would coordinate from the pod and help them with robotic arms. That way, they would pull in the two satellites and use them down in the moon, once they landed.

 Because that was the idea. They knew it was their only chance. So once all the metal was inside the pod, they started calculating an entry route into the moon. It was difficult to choose a landing site because most of the information inside the satellite may have become obsolete. Ice and snow shift, as well and continent and they had no idea of what they could encounter down there. It could even have an entire ocean beneath the frozen surface, something that excited them and scared them at the same time.

 Once everything was done, all the calculations and thought processes, they began their descent into the planet. They decided not to rest or overthink their mission. They had to try to stay alive and the only way to properly do that was to launch themselves into the unknown. The ship, however, was much more damage than thought. As they plummeted to the surface below, they felt parts of the fuselage fly away from them. It got so bad, that even the main circular window exploded minutes before hitting the ground.

 The pod glided over an icy surface that seemed solid. It stopped after what felt a long time. They immediately knew the satellites information to be correct, as they could breath. They were happy, even with a broken ship. Beta survived on their special suits.

 The first thing was to check on the satellites and build a proper shelter. However, as they stepped out of the pod, they realized something that the satellites had completely missed. The planet appeared to be populated, as remains of building made of ice laid on the ground, destroyed by their ship as they landed.

domingo, 7 de diciembre de 2014

The bugs

Carmina Wolf was an entomologist, specialized in bees and wasps. She had travelled the world tracing this little creatures and now headed off to her final destination: a UN summit in Geneva where she would be able to present her findings to a panel of experts put together by the FAO.

On the plane from Seoul to Geneva, she just kept thinking of the potential of her discoveries. It was terrible, of course, but it also meant something could be done. Nothing is definite when you realize it on time, or she thought.

The flight was really long but she couldn't sleep so she forced herself to watch some movies, none of which ere very interesting. She took her blanket and tried to sleep with some music on but then people started making noises. It was really annoying to get to Switzerland with no sleep and now people weren't helping. She heard them open their window shades, so she pulled the blanket over her head.

She stopped ignoring them when they started to scream and gasp and talk fast and loud. Suddenly all shades were being pulled up, so Carmina took a look through the window. She certainly wasn't expecting that...

High above the clouds and higher than the plane, a fire ball appeared to be falling down. The plane was very far but the ball could be seen easily as it's light was blinding, all white and powerful. It certainly was a scary moment but, for some reason, people were generally calm.
Short after, the pilot announcing all flights were asked to change course and go south. They haven't been asked to land anywhere close but there was still a possibility to do so.

An hour later, the ball of fire looked smaller but equally as bright. Carmina thought of the people below, and how scared they must have been. She checked her on board computer and realized they were flying over Russia, a country frequently hit by meteorites. A scientist she had met in a conference had told her so. But this meteorite looked massive or maybe that was because she had never seen one.

Suddenly the pilot spoke again and, this time, he said authorities of all the countries in the vicinity had decided to ground the planes. Carmina's one had to land in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan. The pilot did not know for how long they would have to stay there but authorities were trying to keep the planes down for the minimum amount of time.

It was shortly before landing that the explosion occurred. It felt and sounded awful. The plane was hit by the sound wave and turbulence was really bad. People were screaming, babies crying, food trays hitting the ground and even bags falling from the overhead compartments. Everyone was a nervous wreck so, when the plane landed in Astana, it was not a surprise when everyone applauded and cheered the moment. They were all grateful to be alive.

They were evacuated through the inflatable slides on each door, to make it faster. Then, the pilot stayed with the airport authorities to assess any damage to the plane as the rest of the crew helped the passengers to a bus, which took them to the terminal.

Carmina was tired, from all that had happened and because she hadn't slept for a single minute but when they entered the building she realized it would take even more time to rest. The place was filled with people, both incoming passengers and people who had not been able to board their flights. Her group stayed in a corner, to have better control over everyone according to a stewardess.

Everyone fell silent when every single TV set on the terminal started broadcasting images of the meteorite and how it had it the ground with violence. Although the news station was in Russian, every passenger could understand that the meteorite was big but, thankfully, not the kind of fire balls that cause extinction. However, it had fallen near Omsk, a fairly large city in Russia. Imaged of destroyed windows, trees on fire and a houses destroyed was broadcasted for the remaining hours and, against all odds, Carmina was finally able to get some sleep.

When she woke up, it was dark outside. She went to the bathroom where she met a woman crying with her daughter sitting by the sink. The woman tried to clean her tears fast so Carmina wouldn't see her but it was to no use. In her stall, the entomologist heard the woman speak in Russian to her daughter, again crying unconsolably. It was heart breaking, even without having a clue about what was going on.

When Carmina came out of her stall, the woman was not there. She washed her hands, her face and tried to comb her hair with her fingers but the result was not very good. She came out of the bathroom and walked around, watching hundreds, maybe thousands sleeping on the floor. All the screen were turned off and only security agents roamed the place, gently smiling when she stumbled upon any of them.

She arrived at the food court and realized how hungry she was. But every store was closed, which was obvious because of the time of day and the current situation. The tables and chairs that were normally for eating were now occupied by people trying to get some sleep.

Carmina decided to step outside, to a little balcony the terminal had for plane enthusiasts. It was very cold but that didn't bother her. She looked and counted the planes on the tarmac. There were at least twenty and suspected there were more on other places of the airport. Suddenly the door of the balcony opened and an older woman came out. She looked at Carmina and smiled and contemplated the place.

After some time, the woman spoke:

- It will keep happening, you know?

Carmina did not understand.

 - What?
 - It will keep happening, more and more frequently.
 - The meteorites, you mean?

She nodded. Carmina started to feel colder but was mesmerized by the odd look and mysterious attitude of the older woman.

 - This world... We just live here. It isn't ours and it certainly isn't living forever.
 - You think were all going to...?
 - Die?... Maybe. Not necessarily but it's no secret we are heading in that direction.

It was so strange. It was if... She knew more. As if she knew the same thing Carmina had suspected months before.

 - Sorry... Are you an expert of sorts?

The woman laughed and looked at her.

 - Not really, child. I'm just aware of things around me.

The woman looked one last time towards the tarmac, smiled at Carmina and entered the building. The young woman did the same, as she was feeling too cold. The words of that woman were all around her mind but it was silly to worry now. She had to sleep as the following day was a hard one.

All planes were allowed to take off so she got to Geneva in time for her speech. She wasn't able to change clothes and excused herself for her looks but told the audience it was worth the speech. Everyone laughed of course. Then the presentation began.

Carmina had been working on this for five years now, since she had finished her studies. And the findings of her research could not be contested. She announced to the audience that the bee population around the world was decreasing due to various reasons, primarily climate change but also human interference. She declared that the decline was so representative, that in some places many flowers and plants that were abundant were now almost extinct. And she announced the same was happening with crops, although no one realized it because of the amount of cereals being planted.

In short, Carmina had discovered that food, was going to be more and more scarce due the disappearance of certain insects. Without them, hunger could strike anywhere. She closed her presentation by saying that recent events had made her realize how fragile the world was but that we had time to make things right, to find our true place in the universe. And she did believe it, more than ever before.