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Baxle: A Journey to Mars and Beyond

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[Reply] #1
12-12-2016 01:18 PM
Joined: 05-13-2012
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Wade
Wade
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Gus peered out the northern porthole, squinting at the stars in the distance. One by one they zipped by only to return a few minutes later. Once per rotation, the other cylinder of the Baxle came into view. Gus half-imagined someone sitting at the window there looking back at him. The name Baxle was a shortening of “Bi-Axle”. Relatively early on, it had been the decision of the high council to make the crew quarters counter rotate in order to save total weight in the spun gravity design. In keeping with mariner traditions, the first ship of its kind was named after its class, and that is why Baxle was both the name and class of this space station.

Just now, the solar nacelles were coming into view again. A single row of photovoltaic panels had failed to deploy correctly. Gus lamented yet another space walk to fix the problem. What good was spun gravity if you were always needing to go outside the craft?

The Baxle was solar powered. Equipped with massive solar panels and solar sails, it also boasted a series of massive solar-electric ion engines. This would enable the entire research facility to fly to other planets in the solar system, including the ever tempting Martian system.

The Baxle’s design allows the two counter-rotating cylinders to be housed in a single artificial atmospheric environment, so free movement between the cylinders and the non-spun environment is possible, and still have air locks in case of emergencies. So far, there had been no emergencies, and Gus preferred it that way. Colonizing Mars had proven more difficult than Scientists had hoped. The Baxle was part of the solution to that problem. The massive craft had closed the distance between Earth and Mars in just 100 days. Now with Orbital Insertion, even more of the ship’s solar panels had been deployed in order to account for the greater distance from the Sun. That is when the trouble with the port nacelle had begun.

[Reply] #2
12-12-2016 02:14 PM
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Wade
Wade
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The hydroponics department consumed the majority of the space aboard the Baxle. Producing food sufficient for the crew of 100 was a very tedious task. Several variety of potatoes were the staple crops, but other tubers and roots such as carrots, beets, turnips, and peanuts were also producing well in spun gravity. Spinach was grown primarily as a source of vitamin enrichment, but wasn’t particularly efficient as a source of calories. The algae which grew primarily to recycle the air was also used as a foodstuff.

The Baxle was a behemoth of a space colony in and of itself. Each cylinder was twenty meters in radius and one hundred meters in length, giving the ship a width of over forty meters, and a breadth exceeding eighty meters. Constructing the massive Baxle had been such a large project that Google and Amazon had merged just so they could win the NASA contract.

Unjamming the port nacelle would not be easy.

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