Back at the base

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Arsames was sitting around a table in the common room of the moon base. Three other people held him company, Miriam Hemming, Charlotte Sobaka and Martin Poulet. With them the astronomer would make a trip to the Saha crater as part of the construction of a new radio-telescope – formally known as the Lunar Radio Observatory II, but commonly referred to as the Saha project or the Saha observatory. And now they were discussing the final details of their journey.

Even though he was officially in charge of the LRO and its staff, it had been Miss Hemming who had organized this particular mission and Arsames had decided that she would also leading their trip. The others had agreed with no objection. The chief engineer made one final remark before closing their meeting:

"We'll leave as soon as the night falls on the Far Side and it's my intention to return before dawn. I don't want to be baked during the day. That means we have about two weeks for the whole trip, forth and back. If we keep to our schedule, we'll back in ten terrestrial days. It's important that all of us have got sufficient rest, before leaving. Sun will set in about forty-eight hours from now, so I would urge anyone of you do as little as possible the coming two days."

Thereafter Arsames rose from his chair and wished his companions "good night" and left the common room. Instead of going straight to bed, however, the radio-astronomer went to his office first. As the official leader of the Lunar Radio Observatory, the scientist had a couple of formal issues to handle before he could sleep. The most important thing to do, was updating the official log and signing off a number of reports. These duties took him about twenty minutes, where after he was finally about to go to bed. He hardly left his office or the radio-astronomer almost collided with his chief engineer.

"My apologies, Miss Hemming," Arsames said. "There's no need to apologize," the woman replied. "I just wanted to check something and I did not know you were still in our office." "I see, but good night again."

Subsequently he left the woman alone and a few minutes later he was laying in bed. Though he was tired, Arsames had trouble to fall asleep. Despite the Moon being an airless desert, the prospect of traveling the Far Side was still intriguing. And it was a lot better than staying inside the Lunar base all the time, the scientist thought. But simultaneously he was afraid something might go wrong on their way to the Saha crater. Even though he had full confidence in the capabilities of his crew, no one was ever sent to the Moon without having past a rigorous selection process, there was always a possibility of a problem that was beyond their ability to solve.

Finally the radio-astronomer fell asleep but he dreamed that he had ended up hundreds of kilometers from his crew with only a few liters of air. Eventually he managed to return to their Moon rover but only to find his crew had been replaced by project developers, who were busy to build a tourist resort on the Far Side. Heavily sweating Arsames woke up but it took a couple of seconds to realize he was just dreaming and that he was safely in his bed. The man took a deep breath a some time later he was asleep again.

Hours later he was woken up by Miriam Hemming. Still sleepy he asked the brown-haired engineer:

"What's up?" "Well, one of our systems has been hit by a small meteorite and hence we have to do some emergency repair work." "Is there serious damage?" "Depends what you would call serious, but all repair works can be completed within twenty-four hours, so operational loss will be minimal. Anyway, the repair crew is already on their way." "Why did you wake me?" "Because I am required to inform you, as head of the mission, as soon as possible if anything has happened to the Lunar Radio-Observatory." "Right, I see."

Then he looked at his digital clock and he saw that it was time to get up anyway. Slowly the scientist rose from his bed. Meanwhile he asked the other:

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