Orange rocket launch cancelled due to engine trouble.
It’s Bank Holiday Monday in the kingdom, except for Scotland and motoring organisations have issued an amber warning to motorists…
Outbreak of mosquitoes in Southbourne; Health Secretary advises everyone to buy mosquito nets.
NASA advises leading blogger that orange rocket has a name and finds it offensive to be referred to by its colour.
A couple who named their new born baby Artemis have issued a complaint to NASA as Artemis fails to launch following the baby’s birth. Mr and Mrs Take were quoted as saying ‘We don’t want our son named after a failure.’
A social media row broke out after NASA responded to new parents Mr and Mrs Take to point out that Artemis was a goddess, so the name would have been more suitable if he had been a daughter. There have been heated arguments on international media as to whether a rocket is male or female or is entitled to self identify.
Scientists have issued a warning…
‘Giant leap for lambkind in Nasa’s Artemis 1 launch’
Shaun the Sheep is reported to be despondent as he returned to his field tonight. When asked how he felt he declined to comment.
When NASA was contacted they explained that Shaun the Sheep and his new friend Snoopy are the most important part of the mission. Their official purpose is to demonstrate zero gravity by floating around.
Susan switched on her ageing ipad, checked the time, pressed the Facetime link and the familiar face appeared.
‘Hello Mother, how are you, what have you been up to this week?’
His greeting never varied and each week she would rehearse fascinating snippets of news and intelligent comments on world events. But when it came to the moment her mind went blank; there was not a lot to tell and even less that Guy and his family would be interested in.
Three little faces popped in and out of the screen, mostly upside down. Her son adjusted the camera so she could see her three grandsons tackling their new assault course; the latest ploy by their mother to direct some of their cooped up energy. Bouncing off the walls took on a new meaning in their confined home, it was so hard for parents not to be able to take them out.
The assault course was such a success they could not be prised away to come and talk to her; after nearly a year it was only natural that little ones would not be interested, they had their own lives now. It was a marvel that she could see and hear them so easily, across so many miles, but she found herself envying instead of pitying her sister with the daughter from hell. The girl had turned up back home a year ago, with three children from different fathers and no money and had not left until it was too late to leave.
Susan was proud of her son and all he had achieved and admiring of her daughter-in-law who had adapted so well to their strange new life, but the two further years until his posting was up seemed interminable.
Who would have thought when Guy was so young, devouring books about space and science in preference to children’s stories… perhaps it was not such a surprise, but obsession was not enough, he had the brains and ambition to achieve his dreams. Still she could not quite believe that her son was leader of the first Moon colony, IMC, International Moon Colony. Seeing the boys now, totally adapted to zero gravity, screeching with delight as they crawled along the curved ceiling of their living quarters, belied the cold fear she felt that this was a remote risky venture that only grown men should be attempting.
‘Grandma, Grandma, we can see you now.’
The camera panned round to the large porthole, through which she could see the Earth beginning to rise. It was a beautiful sight that she was privileged to see and as her grandsons floated and jostled around the porthole it was some comfort that they knew where they had come from, where they belonged.
Vanden came back a hero, nobody had flown that high into upper space before. Even as he negotiated the precarious landing he was planning his next take off; he had to discover more, find out if his amazing theory was correct. But would the high council even believe him, let alone invest in another skyblast and a three person expedition. First he must address The Academy, his safe return did not in itself prove anything and it would take a while for his team of experts to interpret the telescopic recordings.
The ageing president spoke to the learned gathering first. ‘The fact that Space Chief Marshall Vanden has returned is proof indeed that upper space is finite, otherwise he would surely have been propelled further and further into infinity, never to return.’
‘Your honour,’ the vice president stood and bowed, a tight smile on her face ‘our rocketgalleons are programmed for reversal after 35% of crew sustainable capacity has been used, but the magnetron telescope saw far yonder with no sign of an ending.’ She nodded to Vanden to speak before the president could utter more foolish words.
‘Your honour, our ancestors thought our earth was finite, they feared to climb any mountain lest they topple over the other side into hell. Then a few brave women climbed the highest peak and what was on the other side, but more land stretching endlessly in every direction. Each generation has travelled, hunting, roaming, farming, multiplying so that their children in turn set forth to find new land. There is always new land and always will be, we are not a table top held up by a giant, but an infinite earth that I saw from upper space; our land has no edges, no corners, no curves, just beautiful undulations and landscapes of every hue. And what of the depth? How far down have we mined for the precious elements we need for our cities and our galleons? If it were possible I believe we could excavate down and down and never reach rock bottom. And so it is with upper space, infinite in height as the earth is infinite in depth.’
There was a cheer from at least half the gathered assembly and a young man stood up. ‘Should not the mind of Academecians be as infinite as creation? How high must be the mega stars that give us heat and light. Vanden has not even approached them, otherwise his rocketgalleon would have melted.’
Another voice called out cynically ‘Stars, did you count how many or shall you tell us there is an infinite number?’
‘They are infinite, but stars are not all that is beyond our reach. The magnetron detected reflected light from orbs, orbs of rock and land; I believe above us is a universe so different that the impossible is possible. Round earths with an atmosphere surrounding them, the same as the mighty layer of air that blankets us and perhaps…’
No one was agreeing now, everyone was on their feet exclaiming, gesticulating, but Vanden was determined to finish what he had to say.
‘…perhaps on these round earths there might be life, even intelligent life like us.’
Now there was uproar, the vice president pleaded for silence, it behove the dignity of The Academy to let the president answer.
‘Now we know for sure that the mind of our poor brother, our esteemed Space Chief Marshall, has sadly been affected and if he is not insane he surely speaks blasphemy. How could there be life on a ball of earth… people? They would surely fall off. There is but one earth that has no end, one body of air we breath and high above us the stars that warm us and nothing else.’
‘Why have you waited till bedtime to announce you have to present a project on infinity tomorrow? When did the teacher tell you about it?’
‘I can’t remember, it might have been at the beginning of time, or was it Tuesday, but does time have a beginning?’
Sometimes Helen wondered if her son had been here before, he didn’t seem to be like other eight year olds, but then she hadn’t had an eight year old before, or a younger brother, though she did recall being eight and thinking all the boys in her class were stupid.
Sebastian was in the enrichment group at school and the teacher had taken the project to heart; perhaps he was running out of ideas to challenge the half dozen children, who were not allowed to be called clever or cleverer, but had extra interests. Helen’s scientific knowledge was confined to listening to programmes on Radio Four such as the Infinite Monkey Cage, but she had gathered enough to know that even scientists freaked out at the thought of infinity. They could cope with the thought of the edge of the observable universe being forty six and a half billion light years away, but not with the uncertainty of infinity. Sebastian’s Dad was night shift at the soap factory, so it was no use waiting till he got home to help them.
Instead of a bedtime story she tucked Seb in and they Googled infinity on her smart phone.
Mr. Struthers was hoping for great things from his group, especially Sebastian, as he was hoping to get material for his blog Help, my Child’s a Genius.
Sebastian stood in front of the class.
‘The good thing about infinity is you can write endlessly about it and you can’t get it wrong as nobody understands it, including my teacher. But I do understand the universe as my mum helped me last night. Professor Stephen Hawking said the universe is growing, therefore at one time it must have been smaller and long ago so small it was nothing, one minute it was nothing and the next minute there was a big bang. But theory two, I’m not sure if this was mine or Mummy’s idea, if the universe is infinite it will go on forever so it must have always been here forever.
But how big is infinity? The edge of the universe we can see with a big telescope is 46.5 billion light years away, but we can’t see if there is an edge to it or what is outside it and that makes us go all shivery. But the third theory which I think my mum got off the radio is supposing the universe curved round on itself, then it wouldn’t have an edge and maybe it wouldn’t be infinite.
And that would probably mean time goes in a circle and if we crossed the circle with a diameter, or crossed a small part with a chord we would be in a different time, so that means time travel could be possible. I think grown ups do time travel because they are always saying things like I don’t know where the time has gone. The other possibility is that time is an illusion and that’s how magicians do magic.
The other thing I discovered, though Mr. Strutthers didn’t ask us to do this, there’s lots of space between atoms and inside atoms; if you took all the empty space in the atoms that make up a human being, I would be a lot smaller than a grain of salt. If you removed all the empty space from the atoms that make up all the humans on the planet, we could all fit inside an apple. If we remove the spaces between and inside all the atoms in the solar system it could fit it inside a thimble, though I’m not sure what a thimble is. But it means the rest of the universe is not that big after all, it just has lots of space in it.’
‘Well done Sebastian’ said Mr. Strutthers ‘and you said it all off by heart. Have you written it down to hand in?’
‘Not on paper, but it is written on the blog Mummy and I just started.’
How long would you spend in suspended animation to reach a one planet solar system? How many holidaymakers would be prepared to trek across the universe to visit the only habitable planet in a third rate solar system? Planet Gaia has only one moon and an outdated space station; what it does have is water and this is the main selling point in their first venture into intergalactic tourism.
The second unusual feature is its tilted axis, which gives it a great variety of climates to choose from. The downside? The brochures omit to mention the unpredictable nature of the locals, or even to explain which is the prime species.
Our tour started when we woke up on the moon, quaintly called Lunar Base. From here we enjoyed wonderful views of the shining blue planet; this alone made the trip worthwhile. We had yet to meet our hosts.
Next stop was the antiquated space station which must be pre booked due to lack of space, but essential if you wish to orbit Gaia.
By the time we landed on the planet we were ready for a meal. We had chosen a tiny island with a mild climate which boasted large colonies of homosapiens. The hotel itself was on the edge and not for the faint hearted unused to water.
This was when the tour began to lose some of its starlight. How do the locals expect to attract tourists without making any effort to learn their language? Even the sign language was limited by their possession of only two arms. It can only be presumed that the more intelligent species live in the oceans, but we did not have time for the underwater trips, nor was our travel agent accredited for this risky expedition.
Our meal was surprisingly tasty and we were soon ready for our guided tour. Having come this far I was determined to put my foot in the water which is called by many names; here it was flat, thin, perfectly safe and called sea. The sensation was not unpleasant and we also enjoyed watching the homosapiens splashing around making their mating calls.
Our party of three and a half was booked in for five days, but the brochure skimmed over the fact that the days are very short, making the stay poor value for money. The ablution facilities consisted of more water, with no sign of any hot dust. Our first night was cramped and uncomfortable; we should have been advised to book more than one room.
The most fascinating aspect was the rapid change of atmospheric conditions. We had not been guaranteed rain, so we were delighted on the second day when the hotel was pounded by strong air currents full of water. From our viewing platform we could see the water had now turned to waves and we were glad to be in the shelter of the hotel.
How did I rate the experience? Mixed; frankly we were glad that the days were so short. I gave our accommodation five suns.