Fiction, Uncategorized

Lunar settlement

Year – 2080…Like every morning, the digital newspaper is delivered to the pod of Mr. Lal. The robot butler, Hargreaves, brings the newspaper to Mr. Lal who is just getting up from bed. He puts on his Google glasses, connects the digital paper to the glasses by Li-fi which is 100 times speedier than that of wifi. For the uninitiated, LiFi is the use of the visible light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit information at very high speeds (thanks to Google). Its been 10 years since lifi has replaced wifi across the globe. An advertisement catches the eye of Mr. Lal. It says, “A second home for your loved ones in the lap of nature, where man first set foot on the Moon. Exquisite property covered by a solar panelled dome, providing life-giving solar power to the residential cum farming plot inside. 25% discount for the first 100 applications” followed by the contact details. Mr. Lal is very excited and he calls his wife through his telepathic skull implant. The advertisement images and videos are telepathically transferred to the mind of his wife and she too is excited. This advancement in science (telepathic transfer) has been both, a boon and a bane. It has boosted faster communication but at the same time, humans have lost their speaking ability. Just a week back there had been a research published, which said that the vocal cords are slowly getting weaker and in a few generations, may be totally unusable.
Though construction started on the moon 40 years back, it is just 15-16 years since residential complexes started to be built since lot of preparatory work needed to be done, before opening up the moon for ordinary people. Like in the 20th century, when America became the first nation to set foot on the moon, in the 21st century, it was the Americans who first started the construction work on the lunar surface. A huge hue and cry was raised by the other nations on Mother Earth, but Americans were bent upon exploiting the lunar landscape. They did a lot of preparatory work, in terms of providing the right amount of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide along with Nitrogen, by building closed domes under which trial farming was first tried. There were a few failures during the initial period but the Americans are a stubborn people who stuck to the task at hand. Finally, within 10 years, they were able to make a breakthrough, by converting the miniscule amount of hydrogen under the lunar surface, into water by combining with the supplied Oxygen. Though this water was miniscule, the genetically modified seedlings which were developed in the space laboratories, started thriving in the miniscule water and…crops were successfully harvested on the surface of the moon for the first time! This news excited the world scientific community so much, that they started putting pressure on their respective governments to join the American initiative. Soon India became the 2nd nation to land on the moon. And that’s when the fun started!
The Indian government started telecasting the excerpts from the scientists day to day activities. A fall out of this, was the growing interest of the Builder community. Recently the building construction activity in the major cities of India had almost come to a standstill due to a paucity of profitable land in the cities. They had ventured to the tier 2 & 3 towns but had exhausted the potential by exploiting whatever land was available. And there were the usual roadblocks faced, due to inadequate infrastructure in the tier 2 cities. The builder community was hugely loaded, but while some of them had invested their monies in other ventures, there were a few who were itching for new projects, wherever available. And the moon surface presented a new challenge to a few of them. It got the best among them, Mr. Kriplani, thinking on ways to overcome the final hurdle.
So the next time, the Indian shuttle lifted off for the moon, Mr. Kriplani joined the astronauts, after all he had contacts in the highest echelons of the Indian government. Upon landing, he had a tough time adjusting to the reduced gravity of he moon, inspite of the advances made in the space suits. While the professional astronauts were walking comfortably, he was finding it difficult to keep his feet grounded. For Mr. Kriplani, these were but , momentary hurdles, which could easily be overcome by his inexhaustible will power. After all, he had reached a position of immense power, only due to his will power and a never say die attitude.
Mr. Kriplani liked what he saw. Where others saw a desolate landscape, he saw unexplored potential. Where others saw a dull, dark space, he saw a bustling night life. His mind was made up and he had immense persuasive capability to turn, even the most stubborn nay sayers, to his line of thinking. And thus was born, his pet project, “The Moon Arcade”.
This was the very advertisement the Lal’s had seen in the newspaper, which got them excited. They decided to contact the holograph , which was accessible to them through the QR Code on the advertisement. They didn’t waste any time, as soon as they scanned the code, a 3 D hologram of Mr. Kriplani himself, was projected in their room. In his gentle but firm voice, Mr. Kriplani started explaining the salient features of his dream project.
“The Moon Arcade is exactly that. Arcade is a long arched building. And the site of The Moon Arcade is covered by a huge dome. But this dome is not visible, since the inside surface of the dome is covered by a Nano crystal sheet on which high fidelity lighting gives an illusion of the sky. And this lighting is timed to the earth hours, thus the light changes from early morning sunshine to the evening dusk and culminates with the night time starlit sky, which is dominated by the beautiful globe of the earth. This feature itself is worth the money you will pay since you won’t feel that you have left the earth.
Magnetic flooring for maintaining the gravitational equilibrium. You just have to wear the magnetic slippers which are synchronized with the floor.
The Moon Arcade is a huge complex, consisting of 100 twin bungalows, with each bungalow having its own 1/2 acre garden. And the garden is real, made up of real flowering as well as vegetable plants. The plants themselves are genetically modified versions of those available on earth, developed by the scientists in space. Whereas the water for these plants is made locally on the moon.
We have not provided any swimming pool here due to the exorbitant price that this luxury demands on the moon and would have made the entire project unviable for us as well as for discerning customers like you. Instead we provide many unique amenities, which we would be happy to let you experience before you actually buy the Moon property.
How to reach there – daily shuttle service to the moon from the Sriharikota space station. Starts early morning and reaches the moon in 24 hours. The high speed being made possible by the new revolutionary hydrogen based fuel, making space travel economical for commercial flights.
Charges for site visit – only 1/4th of any space tourist flight expenses.
The Lal’s lapped up this offer. The day arrived, the Lal’s reached the Sriharikota space centre from their house in Mumbai, travelling by their Hondafly, a very fuel efficient flying car developed recently by Honda. Immediately on arrival they were ushered into a plush lobby, where their Iris scan and genetic profiling was done. A quick medical scan later, they were both passed for the journey to the moon. They were then taken into a capsule, in which they had to get into special suits, which were very much different and quite light as compared to the very heavy suits, which the very first astronauts wore in the 20th century. As their helmets were bolted in, both of them felt a surge of excitement. They were then strapped into their respective pods, so that the initial force of the space shuttle gets dissipated to some extent. The pods were then closed, and a soothing gas was pumped into it, which kept them conscious but paralyzed all their other movements. In no time, the space shuttle was in stratosphere, and the final thrust of its engines freed it from the earth pull. The Engineers on the flight then released the Lal’s from their pod. As they stepped out, their suit enabled them to stand instead of float. While they saw some minor objects like pens floating due to the zero gravity, most of the other things inside, were firmly attached. Nearing the window, they saw the beautiful arc of the earth, rapidly going farther and farther away as the spacecraft rushed towards the moon. After some time they got bored and sauntered back to their pod to rest. In the meanwhile, the shuttle settled into the moon orbit. On approaching the landing site, the engines gave a final thrust and thus started the descent.
Upon landing, the Lal’s were taken into a Relief Chamber whose sole purpose was to make them used to the changed environment. Though man had tried to modify everything on the moon, to make it more earth-like, he couldn’t have matched the perfection achieved by God. After spending close to 1hour in the Relief Chamber, to acclimatize themselves with the surroundings, the Lal’s were led into a underground passageway, which took them to the “The Moon Arcade”.
As they emerged out of the passageway, the bright light took their breath away. Like it had been explained to them by Mr. Kriplani’s hologram, it did not appear that a dome covered the whole complex. Man had succeeded in creating an illusion of the blue skies and the story book type of cottages on the moon land below, added to the fairy tale setting. And the gardens in front of each bungalow cottage, added to the splendour.
But what the Lal’s were interested in, was the added attractions, of which Mr. Kriplani had given only a brief idea. On probing their accompanying guide about the same, they were enthusiastically led to another underground passageway. All this while they had been in their normal clothing, since all along, they were in a controlled atmosphere, whether in the Relief Chamber or inside the dome. Now, once inside the passageway, they were taken to the “Moon Age” where they were given a spacesuit to wear, which was quite light weight. Once they were securely inside their spacesuit, they were led to the door, which opened to the magical world of the moon.
Once they were outside, the desolate and dark landscape of the moon was a dampener. But what immediately caught their attention, was the Moon mobile, a 20th century era vehicle which the Americans had brought during one of their Apollo missions. To their surprise, they were made to sit in it, and taken on a ride through the pot holed landscape. After enjoying this ride for half an hour, they were taken to the landing site of the Apollo mission, which had first landed on the moon. They could see a prototype of the landing craft, the US flag planted there, as well as the first footprint of man.
After this they were taken to a huge structure, inside which the entire flooring with covered with soft mattresses. This was known as the “Floating Pool”. Once inside, their weight enhanced leggings were removed and they were asked to roam around the structure. As they took their first step, due to the reduced gravitational pull of the moon, they themselves experienced the slow motion walk, which they had always witnessed being taken by the 20th century astronauts. They enjoyed this freedom so much, they were trying to jump and run, their jumps easily touching 25-30 feet in height. For the first time in their life, they could manage to do slow motion cartwheels and they enjoyed all this with child like enthusiasm. By the time, they were tired, they had spent almost 2 hours doing all these antics.
Once they reached the site office of “The Moon Arcade”, they had made up their mind to sign on the dotted line. They were now the proud owners of a Bungalow cottage in “The Moon Arcade”!!
Friends, this scenario may be a reality, if not in 60 years, but surely in the next 100 years.
Yatin

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