Category Archives: lunar colonies

Why the Moon Matters Much

It is hard to look at the news cycle at the current moment or at the state of the world and readily conclude that a blog post about the Moon and humanity’s future as it relates to the Moon ought to be our top priority for understanding and exploration of ourselves and our world. Yet, amidst all my other concerns I am sure that the Moon ranks very highly indeed. It is true that I do not get paid to think about these things and have many other concerns. So there is an element of arrogance in my persistence in exploring these ideas.

When I was a child the Apollo Program was a very big part of my life in the way that other great institutions are part of a child’s life. Apollo 11 was uniquely significant amongst all space related achievements of the human race up till now. Huge numbers of people could see that the human civilization was transformed in some profound way by the fact that we could perform a crewed landing on the moon and return the crew safely to Earth. It seemed to little kids of certain types and to many others that future would involve significant human development on the Moon.  I was eight years old in 1972 when Apollo 17 was completed. The years since have seen no return of human beings to the Moon. But the Moon remains a unique site with unique and totally irreplaceable potential for human kind.

I wrote a novel in which the first set of chapters or part or book is titled The Moon. But the novel has not been published. In that novel I set the action of the early chapters mostly on the moon in in crater cap colonies.

Of course we now know that there is some water on the moon, a significant amount. But not enough for the kind of lifestyle that I depict in my novel. I do believe that a well run colonial system on the moon would eventually find other deposits of water frozen into the substrata as the novel describes and this would be among the most valued mineral assets in such and economy. However that need not be true for colonies to thrive there. There is enough water to start small colonies and we could capture comets and crash them into craters on the far side of the moon in controlled landings.  There is no question that we can approach comets and land devices on them. That was proved in the Rosetta Mission.  We could select small icy comets and learn to steer them into craters on the far side while building all early colonies on the near side. Most comets are less that ten miles across in their frozen state and there are a huge number of them. They are mostly made of water. we could develop an industry to send a comet a year of less than a quarter mile in diameter crashing into the Moon’s surface for the first many years of settlement and supply enough water needs for a thriving economy there. In time we would orbit more and even smaller comets around the moon and then break them up using most of the water on the moon and some on the ships we would build in orbit around the moon. The mass added in water would be equaled by the mass launched from the moon in space ships and components for spaceships and space stations made on the moon. Thus over a century or so we have a satellite of the same mass but perhaps two to ten percent of it mass would be liquid water and atmosphere in the crater cap colonies. ships to mars and other places could be huge, fast, safe and luxurious and still be cheaper than anything we could build on earth according to proper economic and fiscal analysis.

The best discussions we can have about the future of human development on the Moon relate to understanding how it must function in our future. There are many reasons why we should develop the Moon and do so soon. I want to discuss a few of them. First, the Moon is an accessible place the lack of atmosphere and the low gravity make it easy to launch materials into space. Earth can support lunar operations relatively easily. Rescue and support ships could reach the Moon in a few days. Communication is very rapid. The economic potential for a fully developed Moon is vast and the uses for an increasingly complex civilization on Earth are myriad.

The real world impact of developing sizable colonies on the Moon could be transformative for our civilization. Mining, space based solar power plants, huge communication satellite communication capacity and a thousand other industries could yield large results on Earth in a relatively short time. All of these concepts are relatively respectable for discussion around the world even though many people in the discussion would never really consider space colonization as a serious option. There is a great deal that needs to be tended to on Earth it is true but there are those of us who believe that colonizing the Moon will help us to tend to the things that concern us on Earth.
Beyond that it’s essential to the defense of the Earth from an attack from outside. That means taking responsibility for a threat potential which is not given serious respect in moast places. We can say that vigilance sanning and resources on the moon as weel as continuous activity around the comets and asteroids would help us to guard against collisions from and comets better than keeping all our resources on Eath and we can see that the threats from such collisions are real. that is one way in which lunar colonies would be a protective and defensive asset.  But that is not the whole picture occupying the Moon effectively would also provide at least some real advantage in deling with any technological species coming to meet us with good, evil or neutral intentions. So we must consider whether alien threats are worthy on any consideration.

As far as the possibility of Alien contact goes nothing could be less important when it is not happening and very few things could be more important when they are happening. A framework for estimating the chances for communicating with another civilization is provided by the Drake Equation. This equation is used to estimate the number of communicating civilizations around during the lifetime  (or the present moment of) a program searching for their communication signals thus predicting the  success probability for the Search for Extra(T)errestrial Intelligence or SETI

N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

  • N = The number of civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable.
  • R* =The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life.
  • fp = The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.
  • ne = The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.
  • fl = The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.
  • fi = The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.
  • fc = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.
  • L = The length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

As far as security, national and otherwise goes. There is real risk if there is and it could be enormous. there are plenty of people who have claimed encounters with aliens, some may be highly credible. For examples see here, here and here. One question some people have long asked is whether the universe is more like a desert or a jungle. The desert theorists have been the most assertive in the most respected parts of the scientific establishment for a long time. But the recent search for exoplanets has revealed a lot of exoplanets and a good number of those in what is called the Goldilocks zone around their own stars (not too hot and not too cold for liquid water) and that has changed the assessment. Of course in most very ancient traditions and mythologies the Heavens were a jungle of sorts — full of mysterious and mystical creatures and creators. We don’t have to theorize about the existence of theoretically habitable planets anymore. Information about them can be seen here and here — and there are almost certainly a vast number more.

Various pieces of the alien threat assessment have to be considered.

I propose the Franksummers3ba Equation for the number of Alien First Contacts by direct visitation that humans will experience on earth and in the possible colonies within our own solar system. It is based on the Drake Equation.

N = ( R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fs • fe• fb • fr • fp • fs  •L)M

  • N= The number of civilizations which might arrive at Earth and contact  or confront humans here or in surrounding future colonies relatively unannounced.
  • R* =The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life.
  • fp = The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.
  • ne = The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.
  • fl = The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.
  • fi = The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.
  • fs = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that develop space travel .
  • fe=The fraction of those civilizations that choose to locate planets like ours.
  •  fb=The fraction of those civilizations that build and launch interstellar craft: finding the political resources and will to do so as well as the wealth.
  •  fr= The fraction of those civilizations  which develop individual craft or groups of craft capable of reaching our solar system  from their launch point.
  •  fp= The fraction of those civilizations  which either reach a high percentage of detected planets in range or which highly prioritize reaching a planet like ours.
  • • fs= The fraction of those civilizations which use stealth or secrecy beyond our capacities of remote detection and which find it preferable to avoid electromagnetic or similar communication at a distance in advance of first contact.
  • Ll  = The length of time such civilizations launch such craft divided by the period of time humans survive in this solar system.
  • NOTE:  the brackets indicate that this is the product which gives us a number for contact from any launch site even though the next operation is also mathematically identical multiplication.
  • M=The rate at which civilizations of this sort reproduce autonomous launch sites which are in these parameter or civilizations enter these parameters which are otherwise disqualified by one or more factors through creating autonomous launch sites.



So that’s all I have time for here. But this is yet another post in favor of taking space colonization seriously. I am not sure what else I will be able to write on this subject because my Earthbound concerns are sufficient to take up my time and energy.









Crater Cap Colony Concept and other Endeavors of my life

by Frank Wynerth Summers III (Notes) on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 3:35pm

I write many notes that I do not much tag and make it a habit not too tage heavily in my notes. At the time I write this I have 1,149 Facebook friends and dozens of them (you) were members of the group at the center of this topic. Feel free to converse or comment but please do not be offended for not being tagged. Most of those who are tagged were not memebers. Some are both. I just tagged a sampling of relevant Facebook friends who may or may not choose to read this trhough. I am comemorating the passing of one of the reasons I first opened this Facebook profile and keeping the ideas out there in the world one more day. This Note is really about a broader topic than the on I have selected for the title but the one I have selected for the title does matter. I am writing this note about the exploration of space and the colonization of the solar system and about my own life and efforts as well. So in context here are some thoughts:

Recalling A Facebook Group

Years ago I founded a group on Facebook called the Crater Cap Colony Concept Group. That group has now been defunct longer than it was in existence but it did involve people from all around the world and have a great number of images, formulations, discussions and diagrams related to the colonization of the Moon and Mars. It was perhaps one of the most difficult and daring undertakings of my life to bring that group into bing and was in many ways the very antithesis of the Obama presidency’s real inner meaning regardless of what else is going to come out of this period of American History. The time and energy freed up for me since the demise of this group has been time to do other things and I have done other things. In fact my whole life has been active enough.
The careful and methodical closing of the Crater Cap Colony Concept Group has been the putting aside of a dream which was busily working on for a few years in that context. Everyone has dreams and almost all of us have dreams that do not come true and which mattered to us significantly. My father dreamed of teaching at a university when I was a little child and he never did. It has always intrigued me to do so but it has never been as much a dream for me and I have already taught at a university and at a lot of other places. My dad has done some teaching as well but not as a regular instructor at a university. My father is retired and sort of emeritus head of a missionary organization of Catholics now but one of the reasons he was given for being refused a teaching assistantship at one university that gave him an interview is that at the time he was an atheist and that particular institution did not hire atheists as instructors. Years later he returned to his Roman Catholic heritage. Teaching, reading and scholarship are ready parts of my life and already parts of my life. I have been out of school for a long time but not entirely separate from these things, nor from the contacts I made in school. This past year I took the revised GRE and seriously considered going back to graduate school. I was serious about the Crater Cap Colony Concept Group but it was a kind of seriousness that was attenuated by the great difficulty in achieving these goals. I chose to shut down the group when the format changed and felt certain about that choice but it was not a simple or pleasant choice to make.

The Crater Cap Colony Concept Group also gave me connections to many people and an opportunity for many interesting discussions. However, that was not the first time I had ever been plugged into large groups of peopIe or had conversations that I cared about. I have spoken to perhaps thousands and certainly hundreds of audiences in my life and I have written a lot. I have been published a good bit as well. That history of publishing includes a good number bylines in periodicals read by those around me and in the places where I functioned then and still function now. These media include the Abbeville Meridional, The Advertiser, Bonnes Nouvelles (Vermilion) and the already much mentioned Vermilion. In the Crater Cap Colony Concept Group I had a chance to express my own opinions but I have often done that elsewhere. I have had letters to the editor appear in a variety of venues a few times over many years but those include Time and Newsweek. My only truly academic publication is a review of F.D.R.’s Moviemaker: memoirs and scripts written by Pare Lorentz and published posthumously in 1992 by the University of Nevada Press. The review appeared in the Book Reviews section of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television in one of the issues of late 1992 or early 1993 on page 106 of that issue. I began that review with the words “Some memoirs and autobiographies of creative people require a sympathetic reading. Pare Lorenz’s memoirs do not.” My own brief autobiography in the Introductory personal statement on the old group cite may have required some sympathy to make good reading. But that is partly because there was a lot of my life to cover in a document like this and I was writing in the style one adopts when one knows that most of the essentials will not be covered I suppose.
My writing history has been in different categories, writing about Colonizing space was a special and useful outlet it has not and will not be replaced. I admit that one of my main motivations in founding the group was to seek out the institutional support for my own idea and to indulge my writerly interest in expressing that vision for the future which I still find essential. Since the closure of the group I have continued to comment on policy. I am (or at least often have been) a regular commenter on Lords of the Blog which has won the British Nominet awards as best public affairs blog. I am also a Grand Prize Winner on Lord Norton’s Quiz on that blog and have commented on his own The Norton View a great deal. I have over a thousand Facebook friends on the account where this note is first appearing. These Facebook friends are people who are very diverse and in many ways very select and elite as well. I have another account with hundreds of friends where I have an online novel which is largely set in Crater Cap colonies on the Moon that novel is the principal business of that second profile.

Thus if I am nostalgic about the old group that nostalgia must be seen in a realistic context. I still miss the group at times but it is not so easy to say why. I suppose part of it is a sense of being slighted or badly used in a number of ways and having suffered the effects of unfortunate circumstance. However, I have suffered a vast number of unfortunate circumstances and been slighted and ill used a vast number of times. Therefore that sense of injustice is not unique to the group either. I also have a sense of great opportunity lost and of wasted hope, energy and potential but that must be seen in the context of one who looks around the world and sees almost an infinite amount of lost and frustrated potential. One who finds a planet teaming with squandered opportunity and frustrated brilliance. The Crater Cap Colony Concept Group does not stand as lone mountain exceptional in a plain of even handed justice. Rather it is one copse of metaphorical trees of such frustration in a vast rainforest system of such ills.

I want to write about Space exploration, the space program and other things related to astronomy and other matters but I want to do so in a way which is responsive to the real context in which my own interest in Space and things related to astronautics has developed. For me the end of all things meaningful has been on a plane and trajectory at harmony with my life for a very long time. But still I am taking time to remember the end of this little Facebook group episode. I think that I have gotten too tired to recount all that has been lost
What the Crater Cap Colony Concept Was All About

This portion of the Note contains some material that has appeared on my Facebook page before now. I seek to articulate here what the CCCC Group sought to understand and bring to light in some kind of development. In origins and essence it grew from my own personal vision and beliefs as regards outer space itself. Outer space is that portion of the universe that is farther from the center of the Earth than the highest reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere. It makes up more than 99.99999999999999% of the universe which we can physically perceive. If we were to divide up all of the physical space we can see or detect equally among all the inhabitants of the Earth the amount of space occupied by all humans alive today would make a minute and entirely insignificant portion of the share belonging to each person. However, most of that space is dark empty and has hardly any atomic particles in it and it is so far away that physicaly using those particles in any way in the next 100 generations can’t be reasonably imagined. But even our solar system alone would allow us to use a fraction nearly as big as that we started this argument with or maybe bigger. In the solar sytem most of the oxygen is in outer space, most of the carbon is in outer space, most of the hydrogen is in outer space, most of the helium is in outer space, most of the metals we call precious are almost cerianly there and the metals we need for highly specialized uses abound in outer space. It is almost certain that there is more liquid water under the ice of Jupiter’s moon Europa than there is on Earth. Nothing between the Sun and the orbit of Pluto is intrinsically beyond the reach of our own basic technology to reach, tag and return from roboticaly. Cost, law, design glitches and time are clearly identifiable obstacles. I said these things were not intrinsically impossbible by rearranging and refining existing technology. Given thse basic facts, I believe that an aggressive space policy is in the interest of all humans and of the Earth and all its species so long as it is mostly a wise policy or even largely a wise policy.

What inspires me to write this note today is the small concept group which I mentioned in a previous Facebook note. I believe that the development of outer space is as important as anything else that confronts human beings in our age. The concept group was called Crater Cap Concept Colony Group. It is not the only group of people exploring the possibilities of space as a group and it is not the biggest such group either. However, it is certainly the only one that I had founded on Facebook. So that rates it an important mention in these notes.

Space colonization follows a chain going from observation, to exploration, to travel and exploration and then to stationing. After these things comes colonization. Space colonization has the chance to be the biggest change in human economy since the development of agriculture. The coming of agriculture was not an unmixed blessing but it was one of the most justifiable of all social changes in human history. Had humanity not become agricultural sooner or later things would have become much worse than they have gotten so far. Life today awaits at a crossroads as great as that of agriculture. The great works of irrigation for large scale agriculture created the mighty powers that ruled ancient China and Egypt and created societies that could pour weatlh into purchases that enabled other peoples to change from nomadic hunting or nomadic herding to a combination of nomadic herding and carrying trade goods. It enabled fisherfolk to increase their population by adding waterborne trade to their fishing economy. It enabled warrior bands to enter int0 long-term contracts with landholding kings and to earn a living partly from keeping the peace. Agriculture really made a different human world and remade much of the world as well. The best hunter-gatherers were actually richer, healthier and freer than the new farmers but in the end the choice of the species as a whole to emphasize agriculture was a choice vital to both survival and any real chance of prosperity. I think that space colonization requires a similar leap and offers similar sets of consequences. I don’t really expect to live to see a working colony on the Moon or Mars. However, as long as I do live I will apply some of my energy to that transition humanity must make towards becoming a space colonizing species. The Crater Cap Concept Colony is the model I thought then and still think now that we should be pushing towards making a reality. While astronomy has always been a discipline that was a significant teacher and leader into fields of knowledge for much of the human race’s journey into development — it must yield to the leadership of those who will build permanent and sustainable colonies. On the day when Humans have a few colonies on the moon with tens of thousands of residents each it will be very easy to make huge progress in astronomy. However, aiming only for a golden age of astronomy will not necessarily bring about lunar colonization. The larger possibility must find the rank and leadership in these areas.

Craters are distinct features which can be studied and which have common characteristics. They exist on the Earth, the Moon, Mars, asteroids, several moons of our solar systems planet and can be theorized to exist in or near many other objects around our sun or other stars. Capping a crater has an intrinsic economic and resource wisdom to it because one is using the enormous energy already expended in creating the bowl and only creating one side. Frequently one could achieve enormous benefeits in blicking our cosmic rays and radiation. All of these benefits are true even for asteroids. However, in larger round objects like the Moon and Mars it is very likely that one could use the gravity to create a highly functioning biospheric hemisphere. In terms familiar to some, one could make a terrarium including one or more aquaria. Whether or not there is air or liquid water on the heavenly body would have little to do with the success of the crater cap colony. People could live in these and that is the basis of our little concept group. that ended so long ago. It was confrimed in its hypothesis by many of the findings of lunar and Martian missions which have occurred since that time. I am including some drawings of various parts of the process at the end of this note without explanation.

I also think that once there is a crater colony (or certainly a few crater colonies) thriving on the moon then one would have a basis for many industries. Things manufactured on the moon would be easily lifted and deployed to Mars colonization, to space ships, to Earth orbiting stations and to asteroid miners. One sixth gravity is economic magic that would make all solar system operations entirely different. Producing goods in space and dropping them to earth is intrinsically cheap. Thus carbon fuels highly refined could be lifted to the moon where they will be mixed with gasses made impure for colonies by various accidents and industries. These fuels would lift six times as much from the Moon as they would from the Earth and these fuels would not affect Earth’s air and climate when burned. Very precious things would be “downported” by Earth to maintain a balance. In the distant future components of landing craft returning to Earth would be built with precious metals needed by agencies and nations on Earth. This would create a flow of commerce to bring our population base into outer space. Within a few centuries perhaps a significant minority of cities and farms could be in outer space without any flash bang science that includes things we cannot imagine.

Once we have a couple of crater colonies on the Moon we would need geosynchronous satellite and another base perhaps at an L point between lunar and Terran gravity. These would be the places where all aging nuclear weapons were disposed of by either being loaded on spacecraft for second or third explosions or used in initial explosions to launch really massive spacecraft to move very fast on the way to other colonies and smaller robots on their way to the stars.

None of this is pure fantasy. I think we should divide up most of the surface of the Moon and Mars among all of earth’s nations unequally, sell some as new national sites and keep a good portion as a permanent UN mandate. Failing to act wisely now either means we willl lose humanity’s greatest economic opportunity or else end up with a really horrible policy made under more pressing conditions. I am not optimistic that we will make good choices. But I think our behavior in this century will determine the human future’s outlook for all of foreseeable human society.

I am committed to specific goals but I support all who are sincerely striving for a human future in space that is wise and sustainable. Good luck and God Bless to all of you out there. I am not a likely expert or member of the space community but I cherish this hope for an expanding future. Perhaps the humanist and amateurish perspective will cost me a few Facebook friends. I lost some over the years of all types and besides professionals in space matters who mattered to me even lately. However, I am grateful for the professionals on my list at the time of this writing

The crater cap colony concept itself in diagram

details of a fast colonial ship design.

Third Chapter of my online novel: includes human flight…

Chapter Three “Life Beneath the Caps” in Part Two “The Moon” of a Science Fiction Novel in Progress

by Summers Progress on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 2:45pm
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After saying goodbye to Roberta, Joseph opened his luggage case and then dropped the folding empty outer rental case into a chute in his closet. He opened his leather valise and put on some of his favorite comfortable and casual clothes. He ran a quick comb and brush through the hair he wore longer than ususal these days. He noticed the small but fresh burn mark just below his right ear. It joined more scars than he could count of various ages across his body.

Then he walked across the thick luxurious carpet of the suite to his computer workstation. To maximize the effectiveness of everything he would do he inserted the e-tab he had just won into the tablet port on the console. He linked to the Contest Committee and dowloaded all of the orientation package. He first took a virtual tour of the vast Neil Armstrong Super Cruiser. Then he took a virtual tour of Museum Port in the New Array where it was to be mothballed. He finished the coffee in his inroom coffee machine while he was making the virtual trip from the Moon to Mars a 10,000 times actual speed. He was hungry and his neck hurt him. Roberta had left at about 2:45 local time and it was now 7:30. He had hardly moved. He used his personal credit card to send Roberta flowers at work that night and sent all his link information to the Armstrong Agency. He then connected his console to the Dreamlearner set on his bed. He would leave it all set up to download some Dreamlearner programming from Armstrong while he went out.

A few minutes later he was in a hovercab setting out under the artificial stars of an artificial night. “Where to Sir?”

“The Church of the Holy Magi.”

“Rimville it is.”

The trip was uneventful, he did notice tiny lights moving between the heavy lanes of traffic in the mass of air. “Those little lights that fly all over but stay out of the main airlanes and are not the cablecars traveling the wires from the plug — are they the birders I saw during the day?”

“Sure are. Anyone can go birding during the day but you have to have a special license to go at night.”

“I hope to do that while I am here in Lunapolis. Go Birding I mean. I am a pilot but I may not get around to night flying.”

“Don’t miss birding man. I go once a week if I can. I bring the wife and kids at least once a month.”

“Pretty exciting I guess?”

“It is not just exciting. It is the fact that you own body is powering itself and maneuvering itself like a bird. It changes you somehow.”

“I will definitely have to try that.”

“Listen to get a cab out of Rimville you can take the hub bus to the great balcony or you can just text my license number to Lunapolis Taxi and I will pick you up at the church. As long as you are ready by 2:00 that is when I get off.”

“I should be ready well before that. I thought I would go to the Church and see it, maybe catch the late service and then I would get some food somewhere and visit the Military Grottoes. How long should that take?”

“I think I will hope to hear from you between 10:30 and midnight.”

“That sounds good then.”

The hovercab dove through the breach doorway on the great balcony at almost full speed and then slowed. It landed on one of the many streets that ranbetween the massive foundations, anchors and machines which were part of the infrastructure for maintaining the colony’s crater cap. There were lot of streets in Rimville lined with trees and big houses with lawns were set in the blocks that made up most of the spaces between the huge iron pilings, copper tubes and lead blocks. The hovercab had drawn all its wings in as close to the body of the car as they could be drawn and it was now moving along the streets on its six land wheels. A motor powered the wheels but the jets still provided rapid acceleration when needed. This jet boost blew up lots of loose leaves that had gotten near the streets. There was fairly heavy traffic. Joseph swiped his credit card and got out in front of the church. Stylized almost geometric statues of three wise men looking at a star of lucite and gold above the door stood in a small rock garden and near a pond. Parishoners had to navigate through this little tableau to get to the entry steps.

Joseph go to the steps and stopped at the top to read a sign. The sign was brass and the letters raised. It was lit by two arclights.

The sign read:

The Church of the Holy Magi is the oldest full time and free-standing house of worship on the Moon. The long secret rite of Magitic Levantine Christians was recognized as an official Eastern Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in 2087. This was the third church dedicated under the first public Archmandrake sometimes called Paphnutius XXX and sometimes Paphnutius I. The other two Churches were on Earth. All three were paid for in large part by a donation from Chief Basil Zargos-Culkathadreil. Masses are offered for his soul and family twice every Saturday at this altar.”

Joseph did catch a late mass. He sat in the back and did not go to communion. But after services he met the priest and introduced himself. He gave the priest a personal calling card with his hotel address scribbled on the back. He asked about his cousin Daniel.

“Yes, he comes to church here sometimes — even often. But he is not here most weeks. I think he is working for one of the astronomy companies as a maintenance tech so he spend a lot of time on the surface.”

“Well, if you see him please give him my number and if you hear anything call me.”

“I certainly will. But you have been on television a great deal today. I am sure word will reach him soon enough.”

“Well, I am only in Lunapolis for two weeks.”

“Right, I will do what I can.”

Joseph took out his e-tab and activated the camera function. He had decided to take some video of the Church as he had of the fountain and  some other views. He wanted to put together a documentary for friends and family of his first trip to the Moon and a possible keepsake album on video for himself and his possible new girlfriend. He shot the ceiling which in a Levantine and Magitic Church showed the traditional contellations of several cultures surrounding the divine eye in a Star of David which had one traingle made of fire interlocking with another made of ice. Then he shot the San Damiano style painted Crucifix and the altar of arrivals and the altar of departures as well as the High Altar but he did not take long over doing those things.  Some things were typical of all churches of his write like the huge illustrated gold covered bibleand others were unique to this church. Then he came across something really unique. It was a plaque of tribute:

  • We want to pay tribute to the several chaplains who served in meeting halls and dorms and open floor areas of various kinds before Lunapolis was founded. There names appear in the frame of this plaque.As the first regular house of worship on the Moon we recognize them. However, we more emphatically want to recognizr Dr. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin who celebrated the Eucharisitc rites of his Protestant Christian Communion on the very first trip of humanity to the Moon’s surface. Although we have theological differences which are important his effort to honor the memory of Jesus Christ in that way is precious and sacred to us.

 Joseph had forgotten that there was a Eucharistic service on the Apollo voyage made byArmstrong, Aldrin and Collins. Remebering that made him feel uncertain about having missed the chance to receive communion. But he was now in a hurry so he turned offf the camera function in his e-tab and hurried out of the church.

Joseph grabbed a shrimp salad and and a beer at a small cafe and the rented a glidecycle and saw the grottoes. In the Hall of Honor he used their Moon Map Simulator. He saw the Amalgamated Region of  US Zones with Lunapolis as its capital and the several United Nations zones including the one  that took in most of Mare Insularum and included the very uncapped Crater Copernicus with its  many tunnel gates and towers and miles of solar collectors connected to it by armored conduits for this was  where  The Grand Central Spaceport was situated. He saw the zones assigned to each country on Earth and the corporate and royal microstates, some were pople he knew vaguely Prince Thurn und Taxis was a real Head of State here with a royal charter colony with a colony named simply Thurn und Taxis that was built in Gruithuisen Crater on the edge of Mare Imbrium near the  end of the broken lands where the Promontorium Heraclides marked the end of the Montes Jura.  He and the Prince had gotten drunk together once at a mutual friends bachelor party. Because his wristband was unreliable here he used a wall phone to send a message to Lunapolis Taxi and then took his glidecycle back toward the church to turn in for his deposit near the cafe. Just as he finished his cab arrived and in short order brought him back to the Valley View Hotel. One of the most interesting aspects of the Moon Map Simulator is that it showed video of the three crater cap outposts which came before the first crater that was classed as a colony. The first was fifty yards in diameter, the second a hundred yards and the third was three hundred yards.It was in these outposts that the basic skills of crater capping had been developed and made the development of the Moon as a whole.

 It was about one when he got to his room. The Dreamliner was fully prepped. After he went to the bathroom to ready himself for the night he lay in bed and put on the mask, the socks and the half gloves. Then he peeled a fresh chestpad and stuck it to his chest. He fell quickly into a deep sleep.

Then he began his training to pilot the Armstrong while he slept.

Joseph woke at nine. He removed his Dreamlearner equipment and took a bath, soaking the strane lunar bubbles and waves of the familiar whirlpool. He got out of the tub and put on his athletic gear. He folded out the room’s exercycle near the computer station. Then he put on the televisor and picked up his e-tablet. He booked the first available birding lessons and flight sessions. He had a coupon for just this much birding that came with this suite. He scheduled the lessons while Roberta was working but the birding itself he shduked just in time for her to get there. He had just deposited his most recent severance payment from the Catapult company in the morning’s transactions. He used most of this money just for Roberta’s flight and suit rental. Then he firmed up dinner reservations at the hotel. He did all this while watching television quarter screen. There were several versions of his interview with Roberta on the air. He got her acceptance for the birding by text and a thanks for the flowers. Happily he redeemed his coupon for a walking tour leaving the Hotel and taking Insane Lane to the Birding Aerie and back. He simply would remain there and not come back with the tour. He and Roberta would come back in her car.

Joseph rushed down to the lobby and barely got to his tour group in time. Almost all were Americans in this group anyway. The couple next to him were from that part of Wyoming where some of his relatives had a ranch and he recognized the intonations and accents of the region right away. Two apparent brothers had on Red Sox hoodies he would have found warm and so he wondered how the Yankees could be enjoying them. A tall light-skinned black man with what he thought was the pronunciation patterning and manner of one of Louisiana’s Creoles of Color was asking the clearly Afro-Lunarian guide how long Insane Lane had been called by that name. The guide picked up a set of magnetic shoe meshes and answered the question.

” The settlers who built the Lane called it Insane Lane. The path is magnetized now and everyone on this tour must wear magnetized shoe meshes. there are also magnets catch points below the path. In addition birders at the aerie run a rescue service and will swoop down to rescue those falling from the path. Further every walker will be tied to two other walkers and a flybot except for the guides. On the way back some of you will stay to do some birding and if necessary guides will tie up to make up threesomes for the return trip. Now does everyone have the meshes Bob has been handing out?”

The guide was looking over his group and checking the faces of other guides. He nodded finally. ” We will be taking this shuttle bus outside to the Pond Piers over the falls. We will have a good look at the wall nests of a very large colony of parrots which have adapted to our cooler climate along with everything else they have to adapt to here. We have five days of freeze per year in Lunapolis and when we do the falls are heated to allow animals and birds who need warmth to avoid the cold. That is what these parrots do along with many others. They come near the falls. But right now they are just enjoying their normal roost.”

In the shuttle a very attractive redhaired Earth woman and her bronzed Earth husband sat in the two seats beside him. The woman had several rings on her fingers. She turned one in front of him so that he could see the small Culkathadreil Coat of arms etched on it. He felt unexpected speed as the shuttle left the hotel. He showed the woman the cooat of arms etched small on his wristwatch. She signed to him with her fingers in a code he knew well.

“Fire is Known.”

“I promised secrecy.” He signed back.

The woman gave the general sign of respect for a memeber of the House or Clan Culkathadreil who had a very much higher rank than oneself. The same sign could sometimes translate “Your Grace”,Your Highness” or any of a number of other honorifics. However, Joseph noted that it all very properly done. ” We know you had to kill the arsonists. One was an Assasin also.”

“I had to resign.”

“Armstong Agency has secrets. Check your route and be careful. We will leave special supplies in your room tonight.”

“What do you want?”

“Only to warn you. Armstrong Agency are not the pirates but they also study them and do not tell us anything. Those loyal to your family are also on the ship to Mars.”

The old signs were slow and laborious and he did have to see the parrots for cover. They were quite beautiful too. The trip was over and they were getting out once this information had been exchanged. When they got off the bus he and the woman were careful to take no interest in one another and to end up in separate threes. He thought he might have seen her however, perhaps at his Father the Grand Duke and Vice-Chieftain’s funeral. That would have been almost eleven years ago and her breasts had been a different apparent size, she had been single and her eyes had been one blue and one green not the two nearly violet globes he saw now but  he knew she was the one who played the violin for the funeral mass and then come to his mother’s reception — they had talked. He had not seen her before and now would not, in all likelihood, see her again. 

The path or lane was really terrifying for many. It was a foot wide and overlooked a drop of hundreds of meters in many places. But the views were spectacular and the whole tour made it to the birding aerie with no major incidents. Once there they could see that most had come by hovercar.

Saying goodbye to his tour Joseph went to the building with a large sign that read “Training”. He was greeted by enought different people to get confused and was fitted with a birding suit and then had most of it removed again. He and half a dozen other classmates had to identify the parts by repeating after the instructor. “Forewings” “forewings!”

The forewings had an unusual slope or camber that set up a rise in an odd shape to the front and then across the middle that allowed for varied angles of attack that still produced lift but were all the harder to predict for their unusual shape. They also had two lines of memory ports that acted as the feather assembly on a bird’s wing acts. When the wings pushed air down and back the ports locked and the wings created thrust as well as lift. But on the return strokes when the wings pulled forward the memory ports opened and the wings offered little resistance to the air but their unusual shape allowed them to catch a little redirected lift even on those strokes.

“Midwings…” “midwings!” He yelled out with the rest and noticed that these midwings were really hollow shaped airfoils of the type he knews best – “the smeared pyramid line” a buddy called it. There was none of the complexity of memory ports on these wings. They did not beat and only cut through the air like a hang glider. They had a much smaller area than an Earthly hang glider would need however to do this job.  

“Aftwings…” “aftwings!” The aftwings were bifurcated air foils and with two they were quadrufurcated airfoils. The complexity was getting mind boggling. These had the battery chargers and a system of webbing that gathered every random pressure and tension into ennergy to power a helmet jet and instruments and they had a kind of automatic compensating beating device. They beat four times fro each stroke delivered by humn muscle to their master joint. They were almost entirely covered wtih memory ports that allowed them to push back and down and cut easily on the return.  He could not really picture the whole function but he could see that they worked. He called out with the rest.

“Power tails” “Power tails” This assemblage connected to a kind of inflated body cast. A small  standard air foil was held out beyond the main tail and had air driven across it. Another traditional airfoil wing was above it near the top and had small rudder like blades on it. However the tails themselves were covered with memory ports. pushing air back and down in a single wall they opened like a sieve on the return stroke. He repeated the name of the component with the other students.

At this point Roberta showed up to meet him. They touched hands and smiled and she joined in a sort of simultaneous refresher course where she was partly with him while he went through the first-timer’s course. She had  been birding about twelve times and this helped to even out their skill sense he was a highly trained pilot and a really gifted athlete. The suits without wings were hooked up to wires, hooks, cables and sensors. The students were hoisted into the air in in a large room surrounded with screens and holoshow projectors. Even Joseph had one simulated crash. the other newcomers had more than a couple. The three refreshers had what might be called severe wobbles as they got reaquainted with the suits but did not crash. Roberta’s wobble was the least severe of the three who had birded before and she really looked at ease after that initial reminder. But all those in the class grasped the basics and  within a half hour they were flying. Then the wings were put on and they were suspended from a leader cable-arm and a tether by arms running on a rail. Soon they all displayed some grace and control. The arms ran five times around an oval track and the lessons were finished. He walked out wearing his suit with diassembled wings just in time to see that Roberta’s refresher course had actually eneded much sooner and she was waiting for him having got them each an energy soda. He  gave her a kiss on the cheek.

They were both helped into the real rental suits  for flying out in the world (which had alalrm beacons, medikits and automatic traffic lights on the soles of the feet, the gloves and the tops of the shoulders. They had these suits quickly tested and then both had their wings properly installed and they took to the air. A rigid helium filled baloon ran as a tube from mid back between the waists and shoulder blades to a spot rigidly supported almost a meter behind and exactly two old fashioned American feet above the birder’s feet. There was a sort of tentlike structure of three large almost soft and yet rigid cloth panels covered with memory ports that went over this tube and connected with both feet there was a fine webbing that readjusted automatically to get the best angle of attack. One or the other side panel could beat alone or elese the whol three fold desin could beat like a wing as the microcomputer responded to pressure readings on the fabric and the machanical design responded to the birder. This was the powertail.

 Another wing called the aftwing ran from the rib cage all along the outside of the legs and then portruded another  two meters out and a few inches behind each foot. here a boot had gyroscopes and beater arms to synchronize three follow up beats for every muscled beat. The memory ports guaranteed thrust and brute lift while the angled shape added to the general lift like a second wing on a biplane. These were the aftwings.

 Overlapping these about inch in back or above started the very flexible midwings which ended up secured to the outside of each wrist. It would seem that the arms would be used for flapping but the legs were more powerful and the wrists in their odd “loops of control” assemblies could bend the mid wings for all kinds of direction. The midwings had pull-out airfoils sections near each wrist which somehow merged back into the main perfectly every time but could allow cool effects and more hand freedom when needed. No memory ports confused this graceful Earthly design.

The last set of wings were the forewings with complex bumping arifoil shapes and limited memory ports in the  portion pointing out sharply from the back and a  few more clustered in the large graceful front section that went out like the tops of large angel wings above and behind the head. The fronts of the forewings were joined to eachother and both the birders hands with a very flexible and springy square of rods. Then each birder had a helmet with rudder and a small built-in jet. Working together the suits were amazingly varied and flexible in their capacities. 

Rough sketch of a lunar colony birdsuit as envisaged in the 21st century

They flew near enough to caves for him to see the many kinds of wall homes. They flew above and below and around hovercar lanes. By flattening out after a dive at just abouperfect performance and after starting right against the sky plates they could match speeds with the lower portions of a cable car run and look passengers in the eye for several seconds. They played among flocks of birds and flew in among bats leaving caves for the evening. They work their way to the rail tower and back. Then they got out of their suits and into Roberta’s car and drove like lunatics to get to their dinner reservation.They ate quickly and made love in the shower. Then Joseph asked if she could forgive him wearing the Dreamlearner while they slept. She agreed to forgive him and they slept together just touching on their sides and with their toes.

As he drifted to sleep he dreamed of the fire. He heard his boss’s voice saying (as he had in real life) “You killed four kids Joseph!” He saw one of the four burning his friend Ed alive with a flamethrower as he Joseph could do nothing to help him but was running through rails and beams finally shooting the flamethrower and roasting the killer quickly alive and to death. Then the Dreamlearner took over and he was in the Armstrong performing simple tasks.

When he awoke early in the morning Roberta was already dressed. He ate with her wearing a robe and asked if should meet him for a quick supper the next day. She agreed. “Thanks for everything.” she said. They kissed and he watched her go. Then he went back into the room to change clothes.

Once he had changed his message light was on and so he called the front desk. He asked what the message was. “There is a crater cap engineers and designers convention in the hotel. The Summers Foundation has left an invitation for you to join them at their reception tonight alome or with a guest. No need to RSVP you simply pick up the invitation on your way across the lobby between seven and ten.”

“That is unusual but I am pleased. I have admired the Summers Foundation for years, my family knew the old ones you know.”

 “I see sir, very well.”

 “Listen, I will have to get back and forth to the Armstrong Agency everyday for a while and don’t want to rent a hovercar can you suggest anything?”

 “Yes take the Fall Behind Elevators from the hotel gardens to the Floor their is a train station there and take the Floor train to Twin Towers Hill which is really the east side of the base of the Central Plug. Change trains at SunTzu Plaza and get off at Mouton’s Markets. The very large red dome towering over everything else is the Armstrong Agency’s main building.”

“Part of the floor’s 30 percent they must have stroke here…”

“They certainly do.”

While he was a the desk workstation in his suite he checked into the Summers Foundation online and downloaded his convention invitation to his own e-tab though he would not be likely to need it here in the Hotel. His e-tab cross-reference feature let him know that his neighbor on the shuttle would be there — Shan Da-Jiang was his name he was reminded.He also checked to see what the Foundation would be doing at the convention. He saw that a long with a few other things they would be sponsoring a historical holocube. He looked at one of the documents in the display as it was reproduced at the workstation it was called First Public Proposal. This was dated 2009:

  • Frank Wynerth Summers III 1. Craters are extremely abundant on the far side of the moon and quite abundant on all of the moon, on Mars, on many reachable and theoretical objects in the solar system and elsewhere.2. Craters are avaliable on earth for habitat testing.3. To a large degree craters are able to hold vast pressure differentials because the planet itself is the wall and it cannot really collapse.4. Science can be done and planetology studied both from and in the crater colonies.5. Objectively building a single plane and gaining the value of vast excavations requiring megatons of tnt worth of energy is a much better investment.6. Water and resources will tend to stay in the crater.7.Air and water vapor will tend to seek escape through the cap in which all space technologies are concentrated.8. On Mars certainly and the moon possibly many chemiclas needed to manufacture the atmosphere could be found in the crater.9.An asset of almost limitless value is being created rather than maintaininga very costly resource that is always very marginal almost every way.10. One can project straight lines to having hundreds of farms and 100s of thousands of persons in mining, space industries and service industries permanently living on Mars and on the Moon

   He decided that he would try to make it to the convention. He wanted to learn as much as he could about this technology — it seemed more urgent to him than he could have explained.

*****   ******    ******   *****

Elsewhere in the Lunapolis Crater Cap Colony there was a  building embedded in a cavern in a Communications Mall. Several of the top United Nations officials in the colony of Lunapolis were in the Casual Conversation Cube Cafe simulating a conversation with officials on the major UN orbital forts, the UN centers in New York and Geneva, the UN offices in the Grand Central Spaceport here on the Moon and a base on Mars. This was where these two officials attended the monthly meetings of a special committee called the Panel on Space Crises. The Casual Cnversation Cube provided real communication and also created an illusion of real time conversation, kept minutes, attached relevant documents to the transcript and sent out called for messages during the conversation. One of the UN officials was the UN Registrar of  Intermember Trade and had a good sized office on the colony floor. The other was a man who did not really seem to live in Lunapolis but showed up for these monthly meetings here whenever he was not piloting a longterm route on a ship. Over the past seven years he had made about half the mmetings at this spot and another quarter from the ships he piloted. The last quarter he simply missed without providing any explanation or excuse. Nobody seemed to know exactly where Thor Swensen truly lived. He was the Special Lunar Commissioner for Nonmember Issues and Relations. Nobody on this panel could find any other Special Commissioners for Nonmember Issues and Relations. Everyone else on the panel knew one another’s salaries but Thor received only annual bonus pay and an expense account. He did not look like he could really work for the UN. They knew he had a different style of speech here than anywhere else but this was more than Intelligence Officer cover. He seemed to really live multiple mysterious lives. He was speaking now.

“We have to take the possibility that this is an event of great significance very seriously. If we do not respond well then it need not be the cataclysm the late Doctor Taylor’s report suggests to greatly impact the United Nations. Contact with aliens must be handled and handled very well by the UN or we will lose almost all real claim to legitimacy in the Space side of things. All of our members are very influenced by their Space establishment. I have proposed we doulble the original investment in the placement of technical equipment and experts on the Neil Armstrong”.

“Your request has been approved Commissioner Swensen”. The answer came from Subsecretary for Space Hillman Barclay in New York.

“Thank you. I do want to go on the record that my request was minimal and state that I am in favor of risking any expansion of resources the Panel may approve without my vote”.

“It is so noted. That is unlikely, however I have used your report to reschedule some military assets into a support role”.


After the meeting Thor called an old friend who was in his third home in the French Colony of Petit Bourdeaux. Jean Claude Landry answered the phone. “JC this is Thor”.

“How are you pal”?

“I am OK. Listen, there is a big event coming down the pipe involving the Armstong, UN and some mysterious science. I will not be able to talk to you about it again. I think you are likely to get a job offer somehow related to this. I urge you to take it we need the best on this team”.

“I hear you pal. It is on my tickler now. I will do what I can”.

Then Thor called into the Pilots Guild and “accidentally” dumped a partial scrambled file from  his recent reconaissance flight with a wormhole detector into a public chat center in the guild. He did not know who would look into this but he figured somebody would do this”.

He then looked at the itinerary for the Neil Armstrong and saw that one of the prize winners was a solid pilot with a security background named Joseph Culkathadreil. He was able to decide that this guy would be a good cabinmate for the trip. He was known enough on the records not to be a spook or pirate and yet not part of the UN network people he was trying to avoid being absorbed by. He also had ties to many institutions of significance which were not seated meber nations. He left he building and began to change his voice, gait and mannerisms. Soon the events inside seemed a foggy and distant memory.  

Under a peculiarity of Lunapolis law any portion of one’s name had most of the uses of of the legal and correct name. This was used by all sorts of people indifferent ways although a serious searxh of the record lines of someone not lying about their names would lead tothe full name and identification eventually. But Thor Patrick Swensen-O’Brien had a long standing identity as Patrick O’Brien who was a regular customer and ten percent owner of the corporation that owned The Boston Commons Bar. This was far more than a bar,  it had five great rooms: an Irish Pub, an American New England lobster house witrh a  bandstand, a large dance hall, a typical Lunarian Mining Engineers nightclub with pool tables and darts and scantily clad waitresses and a select market for premium garden produce.  It was one of two of the most important social gathering, eating and drinkinking places in the colony. The other was the fiefdom of the Grazzini family which was a huge first class restaurant called  The Roman Empire. Patrick O’Brien had a whole host of business dealings with Tomasino Grazzini who was one of the pricelings of the tribe of restauranteurs. Thor put in colored contact lenses sprayed on instant heir color for these meetings in person and only met him a few times each year even on a busy year.

He stood in the farmers market and accepted a purchase order for mushrooms, celery, endive, onions, and olives which met certain standards and which the Grazzini’s could not be sure of getting enough of from their own direct farmers.  This done they transacted some legal marijuana cigarette import business because together they held a near monopoly an the legal wholesaling of this product. Then O’Brien asked  the question he had been formulating. “Do you remember when we had the last names disclosed of the big bosses who won the legal marijuan production plant that supplies us and we found one big guy. Everyone in our business calls him Seigneur Daniel but do you remember his last name — I might have to look it up”  

“Well, it is hell to pronounce when you read it but yes I do remember his name. It is Daniel Culkathadreil”.

“Thank you, I really appreciate that.  I thought that was it”.