It’s 2118, April 29.
Sigh. I was wrong about the launch date. It was postponed because of a massive Solar storm. It would not be prudent to launch into outer space when there was such a massive influx of energetic particles. Of course, once we were onboard the habitat, it would be safe, thanks to the massive sludge and waste that forms the shielding on the sunward end.
I decided to take some time to enjoy recreational pursuits before leaving. The launch date was not cast in concrete. The computed orbits for intersection and acquisition had various options and vectors to deal with such things. In space travel, surfing the Interplanetary Transport Network trades speed for time. We might save on fuel, but we may take a while getting there.
I decided to check out the historical recreations section of the municipal museum. There’s an ever changing exhibit that features a past decade of planetary culture. Of course, it sometimes is based on conjecture and speculation more than hard facts. It isn’t easy to recreate objects that may have only been in use for a brief period of time. Take the example of the “Compact Disk” – a primitive means to record digital data streams. It and playback hardware were reportedly available from 1982 AD to as late as 2020 AD, after which most digital data had been migrated to the more robust and resilient Quantum Trace Engraph. A cubic millimeter can contain 1 x 2^255 quadrillion triblets (trinary bits).
The Engraph was essential to the success of the Queen Ants and the Myrmidons – the robotic fabricators and machine builders. In 2035, the launch of the first wave of Queen Ants was made possible by the vast program storage inherent in the Quantum Trace Engraph. The relatively tiny Queens latched on to asteroids and comets and incrementally built the larger tools and machines that built the larger tools and machines that eventually were large enough to fabricate the hulls and habitats that humanity now harvests.
Once the geometric expansion rate of construction exceeded the geometric population growth of humanity, there was no longer any threat of self destruction of the human race. In fact, within the orbiting colonies, there are more humans and more biomass than what four Earths could hold.
We are on the threshold of a new chapter, where inoculation of habitats with lifeforms will be done without the need for human crews. The heavens will fill up with ever more abundant life. Never shall life from Earth be extinguished by an errant asteroid or comet impact. Mother Earth’s children are like fireflies in the night sky.
I checked the schedule – we’re launching in 17 hours. We’re going to launch via an evacuated mag-lev catapult – you know – the low G system where we can eject at a decent vector but not have to suffer from high G boost like those express slingshots. Sure, they can hit orbital velocity right quick but I don’t enjoy 5 Gs of acceleration. Plus, the vacuum tubes eliminate atmospheric friction and save on propulsion power. And let’s not forget how important avoiding atmospheric friction is for landing space vessels. A century ago, space ships had to punch through the atmosphere and endure incredible heat as they decelerated to the surface. Now, they can decelerate in the vacuum tube, and their kinetic energy is transformed into electrical power to be recaptured and reused.
Got to go, now.