Science fiction, struggle, and adversity, hope and aspiration, planetary human struggle
ARC 1 - MAWSON
October 4, 1957. The former Soviet Union launched 'SPUTNIC', the first artificial satellite to orbit earth. Following this success was the even more spectacular first manned flight on April 12, 1961 when Soviet cosmonaught Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in 'VOSTOK' in what (was) a momentous 108 minutes of history was.
Many probes followed. Then, on December 21, 1968 APOLLO 8 set a new milestone as the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. This was eclipsed on July 20, 1969 when APOLLO 11 astronaughts Armstrong and Aldrin landed the Lunar Module on the surface of our moon, and with those timeless words from Armstrong...
"...That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind..."
...Man finally walked on alien soil. Our first foray into interplanetary space had commenced.
Interstellar space was to elude man for the next 250 years, until the 'Arc' programme of the mid 2200's. Whilst telescopes and probes had gleaned scraps of information about our interstellar neighbors little was known, it was a new frontier. After all there was no real rush for the information, population and government was stable and climate control eliminated many of the problems usually associated with weather. People lived longer and better than any generation before them.
Unfortunately, orbital shift had not been a serious consideration until the near miss with asteroid ELSA in 2222. An ancient piece of the 'big bang' the size of two of our moons screeched past the earth at approximately 200,000 km / hour at a mere 30,000 km from our planet. The forces involved were incredible the result was catastrophic.
Our moon, a distant sentinel for eons moved. Her effect on the earth was diminished and slowly, irrevocably the moon was moving, away from earth at an accelerated rate. Deflected by the forces of the ancient meteor as it passed through our space.
The earth experienced a 0.3-degree shift in axis effectively shifting the poles, causing massive shifts in the Teutonic plates. Tidal waves hit every coastal centre on the planet. Land mass disappeared new land was borne up from the sea. Volcanic activity increased. Infrastructure and communications collapsed.
Around one third of the world's population perished along with equivalent numbers of flora and fauna. The earth's rotation slowed, gravity was less, and days were longer. The ozone layer diminished causing a decrease in oxygen levels. Our atmosphere, ever so slowly, was dissipating into the void of space. In the face of adversity man has always risen to the challenge, this was to be no exception. The Arc Project was borne.
The Arc's, (giant spacecraft), were built in earth orbit, over seven years using the combined knowledge and resources of all nations. It was to be humanities last chance.
Historical, scientific libraries were centralized and downloaded, engineering and medical records (including gene pools) made up a database unlike anything in the history of earth. Medical supplies, flora and fauna (from across a once green earth), were collected, correlated and seeds stored. State of the art biomechanical / bioelectrical technology, stasis and cryogenic technology were all incorporated into each of the Arc's. Constructed with boutique titanium alloys and powered by the latest solar ram technology these great ships (five in all), were to take humanity to the stars, to a new beginning. Arc I - Mawson was the first of these Goliath's and this is her story...
Word Count: 498 4 of 4 Wayne Gibbens 2019