November 02, 2005

NaNoWriMo 2

Ouch. Only 354 words tonight. I'll need to do some major typing in the next couple of days to get back on pace. Chapter One (started yesterday) continues below the fold:

As Jake moved around the end of the D axis and examined the E axis, he noted some buildup along the panels, the likely result of the dust devils that frequented this valley.

“Dad, if you’ve got some spare spiders, send them down the F arm, too. Or retask the C-axis spiders to tackle this as soon as they’re done over there,” said Jake over his helmet comm.

“OK, son. Thanks,” replied Paul.

Each spider measured about 10 centimeters in diameter. The robots skittered on six legs (shouldn’t they be called beetles? thought Jake) across the solar panels. Each spider used what was essentially a fine whisk broom to sweep the rusty dust accumulation from the panels.

Jake thought hopefully that the cleaning would account for the missing amps his dad had mentioned earlier in the day. However, based on his experience with these panels, Jake strongly suspected that the power draw came from the heater end, not from obscured solar panels. That likely meant a trip into town to get some parts. And a trip into town would be a great break from the daily routine.

Jake trudged along the final kilometer of the F axis back towards the main airlock. As he went, he continued to scrutinize the solar panels that gave the farm electricity and heated the abundant groundwater locked beneath the surface of the valley.

With so much area absorbing and reflecting the sun, Prometheus station also radiated some heat back into the surrounding valley. Similar installations all across the face of Mars were doing their small part to create global warming on the red planet, hoping eventually to make it minimally Earthlike.

The grand entrance to the family homestead was just a little ways ahead now.

Jake looked forward to his seventh birthday next month. On Earth, he would have just turned 13, and instead of walking around in a softsuit in sub-freezing temperatures, he would likely be riding his bike in a green neighborhood. It was hard not to think about Earth. Most of the programming that played on his phone and the family vid-wall came from Earth.

Posted by JohnL at November 2, 2005 10:55 PM | TrackBack
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