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UCHRONIC MAGAZINE OF THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF TOMORROW
"Ambition is not any more than the shadow of a dream" WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
   
 
 
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
Bandera España

The Human Being walks on the surface of the planet Mars for the first time in history.

The British astronaut Everett Fields becomes the first man to walk on the the Red Planet after an epic trip of seven months by the European-Indian probe “Verne-Tagore”. An unexpected although reduced welcome committee awaited them.



ARTÍCLE: .DEATH BY GALVANOPLASTY ON THE RED PLANET.

 

N8, VILLAFRANCA DEL CASTILLO, MADRID, SPAIN. MAY 8th, 2039.

-"My footprint on this world is a edged chisel that sculpts Tomorrow, it is a fountain pen that writes the future that is not yet written” Unfolding all of his British erudition, including a mordant wink, at the foot of the East side of the indisputable and omnimodus Mount Olympus, 24 kilometers high…: in a superfluous voice before the failure of cracking it from excitement, conscious of the ephemeral most glorious moment of his life, coining words fabricated with the same material as eternity, the astronaut entered History, writing one of his most brilliant lines. The reincarnation of the legendary Neil Armstrong has been born and his name is Everett Fields, the Mission’s astro-physicist and pilot. The British man’s colleagues, who would sit at his side in books of the future, were the Indian philosopher and mathematician Aurangzeb Rajastan and the Gallic molecular biologist and geologist Andrea d’Estaing.


 
-“This acrid wind encloses the ghost of Sir Edmund Hillary, irritated upon seeing this colossus three times as high as ‘his’ Everest. I feel his ectoplasmatic imprint in that distempered breeze. Dear Edmund, there will always be higher mountains to climb…literally!!

The Verne-Tagore probe, on board the mother ship Peace on Mars- the crown jewel of aeronautical Indo-European technology,- took off from the Jacques Yves Cousteau Spaceport, located in the French Guiana, on the 26th of September, 2038. After mars-landing, the astronauts ungratefully furthered themselves a few meters away from the spaceship that gave them a world, but only until the thermal shields cooled down, still incandescent, that protected them in the descent. This was all produced in the geographical point of latitude 18º North, longitude 128º West of the fourth planet of the Sun System. The equatorial region of Tharsis, an enormous volcanic high plain situated to the West of the Marineris Valley-gigantic gorge that makes tiny the earthly Colorado Canyon-, lived its first mars-landing manned by human beings from the History of our species. The probe,- equipped with twelve enormous retractable  solar panels and three electric motors fed by (along with photovoltaic energy) a uranium 238 battery,- traveled through, unharmed, the 55.7 million kilometers between Earth and the Red Planet. And it was done in seven months, twelve days and thirty-four minutes, taking advantage of the perihelion of the planet and the opposition of Sun-Earth-Mars that happens only every three lustrums. In order to counteract the noxious impact of the cosmic rays on the crew, an electrostatic shielding (a positive electric field) was created around the craft through the emission of an electron beam going the opposite way to the gear. To get the huge amount of power, the 2,500 megawatts that was needed, a nuclear fusion nanoreactor had to be implemented on “Peace on Mars” using hydrogen isotopes (tritium and deuterium) for “fuel.” A shield formed by polymers of organic compounds was discarded because of the enormous weight of the resulting structure. The astronauts, without protection, would have absorbed about 94 r.e.m each in the trip there and back (an inadmissible quantity of radiation that would destroy between 30 and 35% of their DNA) and would have had to take specific medicine that activated biological mechanisms of genetic reparation. The deceleration of the craft from 22,000 kilometers/hour to 3 meters/second was produced perfectly, with the exception of the inertial imbalance of the X-ray spectrometer of alpha protons. This was immediately substituted for the alternative, not endangering the descent at any moment, not being necessary in any way to carry it out. The meteorological news emitted by the micro-station destined for this use of the craft spoke of 33º centigrade below zero in the mars-landing zone, “leeward waves” that weren’t predicted (clouds formed in the foothills of great natural disasters) and dusty winds at low heights, south south-east gusts, going forty-two kilometers an hour. Perfect for the European United States and Indian flags to proudly wave! The cloudy crests of the high layers blurred the shadow of the natural satellite, the asymmetrical Deimos, that according to the instruments should have at that moment walked through the high plain right in front of them. A rosy and nebulous sky reflected on the ferric and barren surface. The same instrument confirmed the carbon-dioxide composition -mainly-, nitrogen and argon in its faint atmosphere. The Martian Noachian Era,-3,500 million years ago- saw the huge plateau be born where they were found and that rises almost over 10,000 meters above the perimeter lands, the region of Tharsis that had never received such distinguished guests.  

-“This acrid wind encloses the ghost of Sir Edmund Hillary, irritated upon seeing this colossus three times as high as ‘his’ Everest. I feel his ectoplasmatic imprint in that distempered breeze. Dear Edmund, there will always be higher mountains to climb…literally!! –Jokes the Indian astronaut Rajastan when he climbed down the little steps of the space probe. His perfect smile was hidden from the cameras due to his shimmering helmet that shielded them from spatial radiation in the almost absolute absence of magnetosphere.
 

-“A requiem for the tectonic plates of this world.”- And making an extemporaneous gesture by looking at his watch- “I think that we have arrived a few eons late. Since the Martian lithosphere is less dynamic than captain’s sex life, the human being had to arrive to give it a little kick. You haven’t noticed the “worms”? –the French woman d’Estaing asked her colleagues, deliberately ignoring (judging by her irreverent humor) that millions of beings contemplated them, with a gap of a few minutes because of the enormous distance from Earth. The Gallic geologist was referring to the faint vibration of the surface due to the intelligent micro-tunnelers that were looking for water beneath the surface and were deployed in the prior mission “Unwritten Future”. That’s where the play on words from the captain of the spacecraft came from- Fields-...

 
When the Martian sun set- a very similar day duration to the terrestrial one- something absolutely unexpected occurred: As incredible as it may seem…they were going to have a peculiar welcoming committee!! Something or someone was getting close from the East!! The holocameras captured a clearly cut out trail of dust in the horizon, about three kilometers from their position and an electromagnetic impulse sonar confirmed that the cloud was provoked by a solid object.
 
 ...just after stepping on the Martian surface. The “worms” automatically looked for the surface when they needed solar energy to recharge their batteries; this circumstance was taken advantage of in order to send out the obtained data in their inquiries to the stationary satellite that, at the same time, sent thus said information to Earth. Due to the flighty atmospheric pressure, capturing the water in a liquid state felt like a mission impossible when it sublimated in both directions, vapor-ice, when the temperature varied. An enraged telluric past was inferred from the data obtained by prior missions, where the sky and hell joined, when its volcanoes exploded with virulence-like the very own Olympus or Ascraeus-, where celestial sports cars nicked the surface originating enormous craters.


With respect to living together during the journey there is no evidence of important friction between the crew members. They did protest, on repeated occasions, that the hardest thing would be being away from their families for sixteen months. Short from there, the lyophilized food and the shortage of water were the highlighted inconveniences by the astronauts. Also the exhaustive exercise chart to avoid osteoporosis and the loss of muscular mass that was an obligated compliance during the long trip, was considered “insufferably routine” by the explorers. The French geologist put, through the spacecraft’s radio, an ad in the universal web that synthesized the lack of things that the long voyage had at the same time as she developed her incombustible sense of humor: “French frog astronaut swaps converting yourself into the first woman in history to walk on Mars for a medium-rare steak and a bubble bath with or without rubber ducky.” 78.86% of the net users answers emitted were of a sexual character, playing with the words “meat”, “ducky”, “rubber” and “flip over”. 

The astronauts started- or rather continued- earning their pay, deploying instruments, taking photographs and high resolution tri-dimensional recording, taking a few samples of the rusty floor, elongating those minutes of glory by filming monologues for the press. When the Martian sun set- a very similar day duration to the terrestrial one- something absolutely unexpected occurred: As incredible as it may seem…they were going to have a peculiar welcoming committee!! Something or someone was getting close from the East!! The holocameras captured a clearly cut out trail of dust in the horizon, about three kilometers from their position and an electromagnetic impulse sonar confirmed that the cloud was provoked by a solid object. This object didn’t seem to be a natural phenomenon being that it avoided the pinnacles and crests along its way with something that we could denominate as coarse skill. The astronauts looked at each other in silence and waited, astonished at the passing of the events, and not being able to receive orders from Earth in real time. The vague surroundings were drawing up a small uncovered vehicle that was coming closer at an amazing speed. The only humanoid way seemed to govern it and Rajastan, suddenly, seemed to be the only one to know what was happening. We will reproduce below the historical conversation that will be captured in all kinds of media outlets for future generations:   

- Yes it’s a robot. Together with his twin he mars-landed twenty-five years ago on a Canadian mission, theoretically secret, but… this artifact should have been deactivated a long time ago, a long, long time ago! –The small platform seemed impelled by a diminutive nuclear motor and the junky look of the android perfectly showed off its antiquity and limitations. Some drunken conductor calculated the brake badly and was about to collide against the Mö ssbauer spectrometer. Millions of spectators on Earth (with a time gap of about twenty minutes) and three open-mouthed astronauts, right there, were witnesses to the following scene (or when surrealism amalgamates with History):   

-Mi name is B-18. Welcome to Mars! God of the Roman War and equivalent to the Greek Ares. –The machine said when it was able to stop the vehicle. –it seemed like something that was left over from a high powered Rover - in the recently set-up camp of the Indo-European team. –My twin brother suffered an extreme galvanoplasty because of the ferric oxide of the Martian wind, so I had to deactivate him-A rudimentary mechanism talked to them, with a height of about ninety centimeters, a crude mimesis of his creator. Time and the extreme abrasion had almost paralyzed the left side of his body but his energetic battery seemed intact and, it seemed, kept on feeding itself like the vehicle (?) thanks to a mini nuclear reactor. The captain spoke: 

-Between the scandal that we caused when setting up all the spectrometers, the filming for the Earth, the hubbub of the subsoil and now this hemiplegic fratricidal robot…there’s a lot more movement here than in my village on any Tuesday in November!! – And speaking to the artifact: -My dear, from now on your name will be Cain, for doing such an ugly thing to your brother.   

-But sir...! -the android started to protest.

-Aww, it’s a shame: I thought about calling you “Friday”, the molecular biologist said.

-I thought “Sherpa”, in connection to the British Sir that I mentioned before. –finished off the Indian mathematician- Don’t we need one so not to lose the North? Before us arises an earthly surface equivalent to the one on our planet, not counting the oceans.

-The robot’s name in Cain, and be careful! Don’t turn your back on him and let him deactivate you too. - the captain condemned. 

The whole Mission, from the first minute of take-off until the return to Earth, was registered by three teams of subjective instruments that each carried one of the astronauts. Their visual sensations, smell, tact and auditory sensations were recorded for future investigations, without discarding those responsible for the mission commercializing fragments of the registers for hyper-reality recreations of Virtual Reality.
 
Getting away from the farfetched anecdote, the Indo-European Mission was a complete success or at least that’s what the deal makers proclaimed with jubilee, together, the European Aerospace Agency and the Institute for Space Science of India. It seemed like a correct check mate to the North Americans, Brazilians and Chinese. Still without determining if there was life or not on the planet they (1), characterized weather with reasonable precision (2), along with Martian geomorphology (3), the human being began- after eight decades of exploration- their fifth time on Mars, that was nothing more than the beginning of its pre-colonization. How far away it was, that glorious moment of the old Mariner and the Viking, pioneers in the exploration of the Red Planet, like the ships that went to the New World. Among its other exploits, in spite of its primitive technology, was the photographing of the whole Martian surface, as well as its two satellites, Fobos and Deimos, from a short distance. The newly christened “Cain” gave them some revealing data that the dedicated stationary satellite could never transmit, lacking the operative telecommunication instruments. The device had established his “campsite” in the northern zone, within the very region of Tharsis, - about thirty million kilometers squares-, fortunately only a few dozen away from there, it wasn’t a coincidence. 


  Mount Olympus, the biggest mountain (volcano) in the Solar System had fascinated and been the objective of many Martian missions right from its discovery, in the first quarter of the twenty first century. The Mission lasted two months, during which more than seven hundred experiments were carried out, which contributed to the Martian low gravity, a third of the Earth’s (that made the ten hour work trips much more bearable for the astronauts). Some stand out between them, like the construction of a totally autonomous greenhouse, where gramineae, leguminous, some tubers and corn was sown (and successfully germinated), all of them transgenic, in order to resist the ungodly cosmic radiation. Almost two more degrees of equatorial inclination respect to the orbital map and one year of 687 terrestrial days provided the Red Planet stations, although longer than Earth ones, the crops adapted to these seasonal cycles. The complex was constructed in a storm trial on a small pocket of subterranean ice channeled to the exterior by a hydrothermal fumarole made of frozen walls. After liquefying the ice, thanks to some generators fed by photovoltaic and wind energy, and extracting it with a pump through the fumarole, the greenhouse had the prized and then liquefied element. The fruitless search for microscopic life also continued with advanced instruments, like instantaneous biochemical analyzers by wave longitudes Minerals were dated as well by methods like the fission tracks that showed results oriented to configurating with exactness the geological past of the stars. At this time they tried rapid low elevation explorer aero-vehicles, supplied with hybrid anti-gravitational/animal traction arriving at its incursions until the Cydonia plain (31º N, 15º O), famous for its strange geological formations (pyramids, a giant “face”, etc), presumably originated from the fluvial and wind erosion. The Verne-Tagore probe carried, along with humans, some very strange passengers: genetically modified bacteria to resist the harsh Martian conditions, its objective, to metabolize nitrogen molecules and expulse ammonia, with the idea of heating up the Martian atmosphere and therefore get closer to the liquefying point of water, 0º centigrade. The mission also carried out experiments in this direction although under concentration of N2 with respect to the total (2.7%) it caused many of them to die.

The whole Mission, from the first minute of take-off until the return to Earth, was registered by three teams of subjective instruments that each carried one of the astronauts. Their visual sensations, smell, tact and auditory sensations were recorded for future investigations, without discarding those responsible for the mission commercializing fragments of the registers for hyper-reality recreations of Virtual Reality.

To sum it up, objective completed. Three human beings, armed with dreams and spectrometers, had conquered the Red Planet. 



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