Saturday, March 4, 2017

Every good space saga starts with lunch



            I always ate my lunch in the gravity capsule.  It had several advantages, one of which was that in the gravity capsule your water would stay in the glass like it was supposed to.  The other was that the gravity capsule had what, by mining ship standards, was a large window.

            Back on earth a window two foot across round porthole would have not been that special, but in space, a two foot around window was something to behold.  In this case there were actually several of them, arranged like a big bug eye so you had a 180 degree view out into the space around the ship.  When you combined this that by the nature of the gravity capsule it was spinning around the ship you ended up getting a view of the entirety of the universe every thirty seconds. 

            The amount of gravity in the capsule was only 25% Earth norm, but this was still enough so that anything that spilled frequently ended up on the windows.  There was an entire cleaning kit available for this very reason.

            The windows themselves were not glass of course, but a thick layer of lexan.  When you were cruising through the inner planets there was always a certain amount of dust floating along with you, there was a peak around the Asteroid belt, and then a drop as you got nearer towards Jupiter, as Jupiter did a good job of hoovering everything up, or at least flinging it out of the way, frequently further out as with Jupiter and the solar wind, small particles were already beginning to head that way anyway.

            Every couple of runs the windows would get enough pock marks that they would start to get a nice haze.  This of course ruined them for many an asteroid miner, and most of the company ships would not bother to replace them unless they had serious damage.  The logic would be that they still transmit light, get back to work, stop staring out into space.

            This asteroid miner was privately owned, and it was privately owned by the one who was currently looking out of the windows eating lunch.  They were kept as close to pristine as could be expected.  The captain liked the view, and also he found that he could inspect most all of the ship from up here.  When you were cruising through space with a crew of three it may be a while before you discover that there was a hole in storage hold four.  From here you could see it.

            Lunch was nearly finished as the captain watched the faint blue dot that was the Earth revolve in and out of view for the twenty third time.  The faint blue dot would be getting a lot fainter in the coming weeks as they proceeded out to the belt to find a suitable target for mining.  The ion engines slowly pushed, and the ship slowly accelerated.  Once they had a target selected they would plan the deceleration.  It was not like the old days of space where everything was planned out to the tenth of a second.  It was a lot more casual in the third wave of space exploration.  This was not NASA, this was Joe miner who happened to pick up a cheap ship, fix it up, and now was on his way to either fortune or death.