A Journey to Mars

December 20, 2010
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“Thirty minutes until launch,” the loudspeaker at the control center bellows.

The car convoy screeches to a halt, and twelve white clad astronauts step out onto the tarmac, the sun rising over the horizon. This is the last time they will set foot on Earth possibly for the rest of their lives.

The date is May 25, 2018. In a few minutes, the launch window will be open – a period of time in which Earth would enter its closest orbit adjacent to Mars. In a facility a few miles away, countless engineers and technicians work relentlessly on the controls.

“Five minutes until launch.”

Inside the cockpit of the interspace vehicle, the astronauts wait patiently for the launch to start, while making important last minute adjustments. Mission control engages the engines for take-off.

“30 seconds until launch.”

The final sections of the launch support pull away from the spacecraft, and the rockets are engaged. In a few seconds, the ship’s reactor will send a charge of energy into the inferno and the space craft will lift.

“Five, four, three, two…”

The space craft lifts, and the launch platform is immediately engulfed with flames. The ship flies straight into the air, and moments later, it disappears into the thermosphere.

Once the spaceship is on course, the hydrogen solar radiation shields will be energized, and the ship will begin its course toward the Red Planet.

At mission control, technicians are going over the phases of the long journey. The planning for the spaceship trajectory must be extremely precise, for if the craft misses its target, billions of dollars would go to waste, and more importantly, the astronauts’ lives would be put in an immense danger.

Both Mars and Earth orbit the sun at usual rates of speed and trajectory. Because both planets are mobile, and not stationary, the trip to Mars will take much longer than what was previously calculated, since the spaceship has to catch up with its orbit. If the planets were stationary, the trip would only take no more than a month. However, because of the movement of the planets, this journey’s duration is magnified three times, to a total of three months.

In order to catch Mars at the precise moment without endangering the welfare of the astronauts, the spacecraft was fitted with nuclear fusion engine. It was an old idea, made new, with the advanced technologies of the day. In theory, the new engine can propel the craft at staggering speeds over 400,000 kilometers per hour, shattering the previous manned craft speed record of about 200,000 kph.

While the craft is trapped in Earth’s atmosphere, g-forces inside the craft are enormous. In order to shatter the atmospheric barrier, the spaceship must continuously fire the engines, adding to the gravitational pressure inside the craft. The astronauts brace themselves onto their seats, clutching the seat supports with their bodies.

Instantaneously, the ship rips through the onslaught of gravity’s clutches, and the rockets break free and tear upon the chilly air as they plummet back down through the troposphere. Up here, it is cold. From the cockpit, lights shine blinding white – while as far as the eye can see, the latter is black as the night and scarily vacant.

Tension relaxes inside the cabin. The occupants sense the existence of billions of stars seen from all directions of perspective. The experience is awesome.

Then they look upon the gigantic features of their planet; a calming maelstrom of blue and green; a piece of heaven in a universe devoid of life. They will soon be leaving it, possibly for the rest of their lives.

The black void of space streaks blue and white, as the spaceship traverses onward. The astronauts can now move freely about the craft in weightlessness. Five minutes after the spacecraft has broken through the atmosphere, the loudspeaker's light flashes on.

"Earth to Prometheus One... Earth to Prometheus One..."

Smiles break from the faces of the astronauts onboard the ship. One of the guys floats from his seat and glides over to the intercom module. From a quick glance, you can tell that he is somehow in charge of this group. He is tall, and seems like he has gone through some extremely vigorous superfluous training to get on this mission. He lifts his hand and presses the transmit button.

"Prometheus One to Earth. We are receiving your message."

A great cheer erupts from the loudspeaker. In the background of these verbal exclamations, the astronauts hear familiar voices from back home.

"You may want to tell the crew to get ready for the nuclear ignition." the voice from the loudspeaker bellows, "After this maneuver is complete, we will withdraw our remote control and your crew will take over the trajectory operations."

Suddenly, a blue jet erupts from the spaceship. The rocket's immense power consumes the craft. Inside, the astronauts feel the roar of the engines in the air. They are on their way.

Meanwhile, back at mission control, technicians are preparing other rockets for launch. However, these rockets will not have any people inside of them. They are solely for the purpose of transporting the necessary materials that the astronauts will need once they arrive. These rockets are innovatively called "storage rockets". They will fly just behind the course of Prometheus One.

Over the course of the next 50 years, the astronauts will terraform the very fabric that makes up the Red Planet. People will travel from all countries to experience and live in this great development. Plants will grow from the fruitful loam of Mars, and rivers will flow into lakes, and even immense oceans. We will breathe the same air that is on Earth, and we will live the same way as well. The seed has been planted today. We are building the carbon PFC factory, which will emit gasses that will eat away the layers of ozone surrounding the red planet and forever change the very environment that makes up Mars.

We can only hope that all goes well. For now, the operation is secure. The greatest challenge will be to maintain the immense perseverance and dedication the colonists must have. It is so moving; so amazing and awesome, that for the reason of our being, throughout the vast void of space, now shines two waving beacons of lush terrestrial life. We hope for the future.

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