A Musing & the FAQ

On the evergreen question of what about us, Earth-now, the Imperials might find worthy of a little respect, a recent rewatching of Apollo 13 reminds me to mention that our space program, especially of the Apollo era, definitely qualifies.

Bear in mind, for one thing, that for various reasons involving their homeworld’s quirky perversions of physics, that their moon program, Project Silverfall, didn’t reach fruition until they were already a mature information-age society, and so Moondancer and her sister ships, along with Oculus Station and so forth, were all equipped with fancy, modern integrated network systems, and other technology of similar advancement, with the controls looking rather more like a Dragon V2 touchscreen-and-voice UI than anything else. (And, of course, it was a roomy Orion ship, not a capsule that barely fits its crew.)

So, y’know, it wasn’t quite “In a cave! With a box of scraps!” from their perspective, but getting to the moon with slipsticks and core memory, in a vehicle smaller than Moondancer‘s bridge — that’s remarkably impressive by any standards. And, of course, there’s simply no way you can’t respect any of the sodality of folks willing to strap their asses to a cannoboom and ride it into glory.

(On the other hand, the way the program was abruptly terminated after having served its political purpose of being a stick to beat the Soviets with pretty much confirms all of the negative stereotypes in the book, or at least the ones indexed under short-sightedness, Obstructive Naysaying, democracy, cratic government in general, and so forth.

Never mind all the people saying “What’s the point in going to space?”, then and now. I mean, it’s not like the Empire has never had any mental cripples, but by and large, they don’t give them column-inches or seats in the Senate.)

On another note, I am contemplating adding a FAQ page for the benefit of new visitors to the site. As such, I welcome nominations for Qs that are FA – which doesn’t mean a free for all in re new questions, I stipulate; nominate from questions already answered or posts which answer unspoken questions, please!


Old Spacedogs

From the taking-inspiration-from-other-places department:


Meet Rúz alt-Telithos (later Rúz alt-Silverfall), the Alatian Upland Herder later known, after extensive microgravity and extravehicular training at Oculus Station, as the First Dog Bandal On The Moon – travelling there with the Silverfall Five mission, during the course of which he participated in a number of physiological studies, assisted the astronauts with their work, and greatly enjoyed the ability to leap nearly 30′ from a standing start.

A statue of Rúz stands outside the primary dome airlock leading to Seléne City’s first surface shuttleport.

(…and at some point he appears to have modeled for a magazine cover in a different fictional universe altogether, heh.)


Trope-a-Day: Orion Drive

Orion Drive: As we mentioned way back in Nuclear Weapons Taboo, Eliera was always enriched in heavy metals, including the uranium family, and low on fossil fuels; and since the first set of uses of nuclear technology were all harmless civilian applications before anyone ever thought of weaponizing it…

Well, yeah.  Orion drives, or nuclear pulse drives rather, were an obvious development, from the early days of Project Phoenix (orbital shots), for satellite launches, and on through Project Oculus (near-orbit space station) and Project Silverfall (moon shots), and on through the early days of space colonization.  And not just for orbital maneuvering; they were used for ground launch, although replacing fission bombs swiftly with laser-triggered fusion pellets, up until they were eventually replaced with gas core closed-cycle nuclear thermal rockets, and eventually with mass driver/laser ablative hybrid drives for bulk cargo and trimodal NTRs for passengers, and eventually with beanstalks.

(Of course, this wasn’t entirely without consequences.  While the name of the Bright Desert originally referred to the glare reflecting off the pure white sand, the pleasant Cherenkov glow coming off both the glass-lined craters of the Imperial Orbital Launch Reservation and the pyramids of glass ingots stacked in the Burning Brickyard – the primary planetary nuclear waste disposal site – gives it an entirely new meaning these nights. Fancy nuke-resistant fallout-minimizing launchpads weren’t invented immediately, after all…)