Chapter 01.2

(Thursday, July 20, 2017)

Held a little over eleven months earlier, on the 48th anniversary of the first moon landing, was the night of the big press conference to announce the Manned Mars Mission. Launched during the previous year by a Falcon Heavy Rocket, the unmanned Fuel Processor One (FP1), with the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) mounted atop, had already touched down at the designated landing site, in the Avernus Colles region. A systems check showed everything was in good working order. FP1 was now producing methane and oxygen for the crew to use on the surface after they arrive, as well as to fuel the MAV when they are ready to return to Earth.

At the media event that evening, the handpicked crew was being introduced to the world, headed by their Mission Commander, Dr. Tyler R. Cody. Ty, as his friends call him, wasn’t even a year old when Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr. made the first footprints on the Sea of Tranquility. Now, this sandy haired, 1.7 m, Navy doctor was about to lead a group of top-notch scientists and engineers on the adventure of a lifetime; the next giant leap. Although he had made a real career for himself in the Navy, this was the crowning achievement Ty had worked for since his days as an undergrad at Western Michigan University.

How beautiful his wife, Claire, looked sitting down there in the front row, amongst the other wives and husbands of the crew. She was smiling broadly, proud of her husband for being among the best of the very best. Ty couldn’t take his eyes off of her. He nearly missed the Master of Ceremonies announcing his name, had it not been for her gaze with sideways head nod, cuing Ty that he should be doing something (besides staring at her as if they’d just met). In the nick of time, he got to his feet, hoping he had not looked too foolish. He approached the podium amidst the thundering standing ovation.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9