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Voyage to Mars

My seat vibrates and I listen with excitement mixed with some apprehension to the shudders running through the shuttle as it starts to lift off. I lie flat in my seat, pressed down by the incredible force. We’re finally going! I can’t believe that we’re finally going into space. The force makes it impossible for me to turn my head to look at my fellow astronauts but I know that they’re thinking the same thing. After all this time, months and months of training we’re finally about to see space. It seems as though we’re flying through flames as the shuttle breaks through the atmosphere.


Thunk. The rocket boosters detach from the spacecraft and drift off into space.


Pskkrrrt. The radio crackles to life, “This is Houston, lift off successful.” I press on the responder, “Roger that, docking into the International Space Station in 30 minutes.”


Mark checks to make sure everything is up and running. ”Everything looks good!” he calls back. Grace is still sitting next to me and whispers, “I never thought I’d see space…”


I know what she means, it still seems surreal to me. Earth fills the window across from me. Even the continents seem like islands in the deep blue oceans that stretch across the world, partly covered by wispy clouds that swirl above. Humans seem so insignificant from so far away. Even our greatest achievements pale in comparison to the vast infinite stretches of space. I turn to look out the window next to me, taking in the millions of stars I’d never seen on Earth. The never ending blackness gives me the same adrenaline rush standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon did, as though I’m about to fall and be swallowed by the incomprehensible breadth.


My seatbelt unbuckles neatly and I try to become accustomed to the feeling of weightlessness. ”Heehee!” I giggle as a bump into my seat sends me spinning in circles. Grace tries to help me but ends of spinning as well. Mark watches in amusement as we try to gain control of ourselves. ”Upcoming, International Space Station. Next stop, Mars!” he says punching his fist into the air.


We’ll be the first humans to ever visit Mars. The thought still gives me chills. The red planet possesses an ethereal beauty with geographical wonders that dwarf ours on Earth. Mount Everest looks minuscule next to Olympus Mons. I think back to when I first saw the Grand Canyon and I’m sure that Valles Marineris will be even more impressive. And the best part? It will be pristine and untouched by humans.




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