Voyages to other planets

1956 Late march, NBK Space Studio at Saturday prime time.

Welcome back, today we premier a our exciting new show Space News, straight to your television set. An amazing world indeed. Anyways, as you have undoubtedly heard, something is at works, at the space program, and we have invited Gene Kerman himself, to tell us about it. The background for tonight’s episode, for those not in the know, is that the planets Mars and Venus are now in alignment, and that the space program have been busy for many months, building rockets for this very moment. This is also why we have not had any news of launches so far this year.  So Gene, tell your story.

Gene: First of, “in alignment” is not really correct. That is rathe a term from astrology, and that is absolutely not what we are doing. Rather it is a launch window, or transfer window. Its a point in time, where, if we take of from the Earth, we would naturally encounter other planets. Saving immense amounts of fuel.

Next week, this window will open for Venus, and then, a month later, another window will open for Mars, and we plan on sending missions to both planets.

Host: Sounds good, so what have you prepared to send, and what would the goals be?

Gene: Well, the goal is the science and the advancement of our understanding of these planets. Firstly we though about replicating the Kerbinian Venus visit, but the years of technological advancements since 1954 means we can build much better probes now. That lead us to take the missions a bit further. We don’t want to just skim by.. we want to stay.

Host: Stay? Really? Isn’t that rather difficult?

Gene: Oh yes, it is. But it seems within our current abilities. At least that is assumption we are working on. So far, we have constructed a total of 7 large rockets. All of which are the biggest we have ever constructed, likely the biggest ever constructed. We are actually still working on them, especially tweaking them.

All 6 of the these rockets are Kepler science probes, upgraded for interplanetary communication, and fuelled up, so that they should be able to establish orbits. We call them Kepler 4 and Kepler 5, with the 5’ers being larger, and carrying additional dishes. We have 3 of each. The 7th is an experiments, a lander. We know almost nothing about Mars, but it does look like a huge desert, when viewed from our orbital telescopes, so we are going to try landing a probe on it.

Host: Impressive, have you solved the communication problem, the problem with time-lag?

Gene: No, not yet, but the DIKU people assure me, that they can have a some algorithms up and running by the time the probe arrive. If not, then we are likely just going to leave the probe in orbit until we are ready.

Host: Okay, so 7… seems a bit much for just 2 planets. Why so many? Shouldn’t 2 be enough.

Gene: Well, based on bitter experience, we are aiming for redundancy. So we will be sending 2 missions to either planet, and 1 for each of Mars two moons. The 7th will be a lander for Mars.

Host: Wow, sounds great, lets talk about bit more about…

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