The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 52
Space

As I mentioned earlier, my new ambition was to do the Star Trek thing, to boldly go where no man had gone before. The problem was that space travel takes a very long time, well that is if you want to get to somewhere that no-one’s ever been before, however I was quite surprised when Edison told me that travelling to the Moon would only take about 5 hours in a shuttle that they could build.

The concept of a robot had changed. While it used to be a human like intelligent being, it had become anything with a CPU and the correct software, and so it could be a car, a house, a giant machine, or even an intelligent screwdriver. It took two thousand robots only one month to have a space shuttle ready for launch. The shuttle, which I named ‘UFO 1’, had been built for four adults, and so we were accompanied by our two friends, Raymond and Melissa. We organized baby sitters and on the 23rd of June, 2014, our 7th wedding anniversary, we flew to the the Kalahari Space Centre, out in the desert in what used to be Botswana.

We landed in the dust next to the twenty storey, white rocket, which was waiting to launch our space shuttle into orbit.

‘Is the space shuttle inside the tower?’ Melissa asked Raymond, pointing at the rocket towering above her.

‘I think that is the rocket, right Nathan?’

‘Yip, the tower is the rocket,’ I replied with a big smile on my face, looking up in awe of the size of the construction.

Melissa shook her head. ‘We’re going to die, aren’t we?’ she whispered quietly to herself.

I phoned Edison. ‘Please chat with Melissa. She’s worried about the flight.’ I handed the phone over to Melissa, who walked to the car, opened the passenger door and got inside.

‘She’s right, this is pretty insane,’ Raymond commented.

‘Yip, it’s probably the craziest thing we’ve ever done,’ Kirsty smiled, giving Raymond a pat on the back. ‘I don’t know about you guys, but I’m super excited.’

‘Do you know when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?’ I asked the two of them.

‘Wasn’t it in the 60’s?’ Raymond replied.

‘It was 1969,’ I confirmed. ‘In 1969, when computers where pretty much just calculators, we built a rocket to blast people to the moon. That, was crazy! This, my friends, is a walk in the park.’ I laughed.

Melissa emerged from the car and joined us. ‘Edison has convinced me that we’re going to be okay. I do trust him. He hasn’t let us down so far.’

‘Well, we have a few minutes before boarding,’ how about a photo, Kirsty suggested.

We agreed, and stood in front of the rocket while Kirsty explained to her camera what kind of photo she wanted it to take. The camera flew about a hundred metres away in order to get us all in, took the picture and then flew back into Kirsty’s bag.

We loaded back into the car and flew up to the cockpit of the shuttle. The shuttle recognized us and the hatch opened. We all looked down, as we carefully climbed out of the car into the hatch. The ground was a long way down.

The interior of the shuttle was strange. There was no control panel and no seats. We lay down on beds, facing the front of the craft, which was a big screen, showing what was in front of us. It was like a simulation of lying on a bed outside, looking at the sky. The car left, and the hatch closed. We were automatically strapped down to the beds.

‘Why do we need to be strapped ...’ Melissa started asking, but was interrupted.

‘Hi guys,’ the shuttle greeted us. ‘Welcome to UFO 1. Our flight will commence in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...’

The shuttle shook violently as a giant explosion roared beneath us. The g-force sucked us into our beds as the clouds above us rushed towards us. Minutes later the sky above us was no longer blue. It was black.

‘UFO 1, can you remove our straps please?’ I asked.

‘Sure, Nathan,’ it replied.

Our straps retracted and we floated around the tiny cabin.

‘Wow,’ Raymond expressed his excitement. We grinned at each other and playfully pushed one another around the cockpit.

‘UFO 1, can you play some music please?’ Melissa requested.

Having not specified what music should be played, the AI chose the Star Wars sound track. ‘Classic!’ I told the computer enthusiastically.

About four hours later the view of the moon was very clear. We could make out giant craters quite clearly and every few minutes we would gaze at the moon with our mouths open, in absolute awe as to how big the moon was becoming. An hour later we had landed.

When our space suits were on the hatch opened. ‘Who cares about stairs!’ I yelled, and jumped out of the hatch, landing smoothly and softly on the planet’s surface.

‘I’m on top of the moon!’ Raymond yelled, as he landed next to me.

Bouncing around on the Moon in our fancy space outfits was insanely fun, but the best part was watching the Earth from space. Kirsty and Melissa spent most of their time taking photos, while Raymond and I bounced around in a large crater. The trip to the Moon changed our perspective on things. There was nothing more that we wanted to do than explore as many planets as we could.

On returning back to Earth, we discussed the possibilities with Einstein and Edison, who came up with some radical ideas.

‘A trip to Mars, with our current technology would take 130 days,’ Einstein began. ‘We do believe that we will eventually be able to transport people at 5% of the speed of light, but because it will take a long time to accelerate to that speed and then slow down when reaching Mars, it could take 20 hours. To get to Pluto would take about 4 days, but to get to the nearest stars, Alpha Centauri, at the highest possible speed, would take about 85 years.’

‘How long will it take before you’ll be able to build these super fast shuttles?’ Raymond asked, enthusiastically.

‘That depends on how you’re going to travel,’ Einstein replied. ‘We’ll probably have one ready in a couple of years, but it would only be able to transport a few kilograms. Because of the amount of fuel that’s required to transport entire humans into space, we’ve come up with an idea to reduce human mass, a technology which I believe will be available in about two years time. If, however, you don’t want your mass reduced, then there is another, simpler idea which we’ve come up with. Firstly I’ll explain the reduction of human mass method, because it’s quite interesting, and then, because you probably won’t accept that idea, I’ll move on to the next idea.

Nathan told me about the human soul, which we have yet to discover, but since Nathan is so convinced that it exists, we have to take his word for it. So, assuming that the soul is linked to the brain, because that is the one thing that, if kept alive, causes the human to remain itself, we could freeze a human, remove its brain, store data about the rest of the human’s body, and re-build the human at the destination and re-activate its brain.’

Einstein was right, it was a very interesting idea, and he was also correct that we weren’t too keen on having our brains removed, and so he continued.

‘The simpler approach, is that we build space shuttles on the Moon and use the Moon’s material as fuel. The Moon’s gravitational force is only 17% of the earth’s, so we’d be able to launch you quite easily from the Moon. It would be better that you were even lighter, and so the next best thing would be to build a space station orbiting the Earth or the Moon, but far enough away so that there’s hardly any gravity. We could transport material from the surface that could be used as fuel, and you could launch from the space station.

These ideas will work fine for our solar system, but of course we’d have to keep you alive for longer than 85 years for any further trips, and that would mean that we’d have to freeze you. There is an even simpler solution, which is that we send out probes to the 65 closest stars, and record enough information so that in 680 years time everyone will be able to experience all these stars in simulators.’

On the 1st of July the space projects began. Two space elevators would be built, one on Earth, and one on the Moon. The space elevator construction required very strong carbon nanotubes to allow people and materials to be transported to the space stations. The return trip would require a parachute. I’m joking about the parachute. You would also travel back to Earth on the space elevator.

 

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