THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 33
…“We are there to colonize Mars not conquer it.”
Ordway, Frederick I and Wakeford, Ronald C. Illustrated by Lange, Harry H-K. Conquering the Sun’s Empire. New York : E.P. Dutton and Co. 128 pp. 23 cm.
Above is a link to a book about man’s exploration of the solar system from 1963. It is filled with truly beautiful space-art by Harry H-K Lange. Mr. Lange was involved with some of the concept drawings for the film 2001, as well as illustrating W. Von Braun’s book about the history of rocketry. He worked with Frederick Ordway on a couple of books but these illustrations are very special and not many have seen them.
Roy Crippen, whose ears would perk up if he would get a whiff of Aldona Afridi’s story, is 6402.83 miles from Turkey and stands about as much of a chance of hearing these vital facts as a VW Beetle does winning the Daytona 500.
As of this moment, there is a fraction of an hour separating the lander Tycho and the planet surface.
As on any world – in any star system, the sun also rises, at some point, every single revolution. Space Colony 1’s landing bay doors open to a sight completely foreign to those familiar with Earth’s view point.
“This looks like Beijing China right before it was evacuated due to acute pollution, back in 2025,” Crippen deems it a surprise, even though the “little rovers that could” have sent back Martian vistas for decades. The newest views are far from pixel-perfect. “Is the camera-port blocked by something?”
The refracted rays are distinct in their paths and the fuzziness of those beams trigger wonder from home.
“Our reception deteriorates the higher the sun gets you guys. Can you improve it on your end?” Braden King relays the wishes of Colony Control, who without a good visual cannot help the McKinney’s with any efficacy.
“The problem is not in our transmission or your reception, King; what you see is what you get,” Sampson is in like disbelief.
“Speculation?” Crippen prompts.
“There are extremely high concentrations of particulates that have suddenly become airborne; nowhere to be seen yesterday,” responds Celeste McKinney, while frantically taxing the Colony’s database for plausible comparisons.
“We will keep you advised,” Commander Sam keeps the line moving. “Hang on to your hairpiece Braden, I am feeling that will be one for the books!”
“Stop yourself McKinney,” King grumbles. “… hairpiece my ass.”
Tycho lifts off the deck of the hanger bay, like a large spore spurting forth from a very large mushroom, so does an offspring eject from the mothership; banking immediately to gain a course which will unite it with a predetermined spot on the Martian surface, some 160 miles below.
The Martian lander is a practical, not tremendously aerodynamic, as its pilot soon discovers, here in the rigors of space. He won’t be taking part in any airshows with this thing. And they would be dead-meat in a dogfight.
“Fortunately there are no hostile forces to challenge us,” he can dream, can he not? “On course and stabilizing.”
“We are there to colonize Mars not conquer it,” Braden urges with a grin. “Remember our manifesto, ‘To be cordial and respectful to any life form we encounter.’”
THE RETURN TRIP