As the grey dust trickled down from my palm, I fell into my memories and remembered that night my eyes were peeled open watching Hilary Swank let the Martian soil fall through the cracks between her fingers – the moment I realized I wanted to become an astronaut. I had to jolt myself back to the present.
Both Mohira and Oliver were staring up at the white flecks that adorned the black canvas of space, while Ana was busy making sure the Chariot was ready for the long journey ahead. The SEV was designed to carry the four of us and MJ.
After working with all of them on the ISS for six months, I felt comfortable knowing we worked well as a team; Mohira was a leading physicist and glued the team together with her warm personality, Oliver was an experienced biologist and made us laugh in tough situations, while Ana was a confident engineer and helped us fight our doubts.
Along the ride, we covered the rest of the journey for the week. The plan was to deploy MJ at the Clavius crater and facilitate the first portion of the Moonbase building process, and then return to the Moonpod to return to Earth.
MJ (Mary Jackson) will be the first human-like robot on the Moon, using her Artificial Intelligence system to autonomously roam around the Moon. She will find the ideal location, hidden from harsh radiation, and then begin assembly of the very first permanent Moonbase, beginning with solar panels to immediately start harvesting energy. Then she will begin creating the origami-like pods, which are seemingly magical unfolding domes comprised of 3D-printed triangular sheets of latticed polymers. It’s a lengthy process, but the base is key to our transition from Moon to Mars: every young astronaut’s dream.
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