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GOOD NEWS!!! Tuesday

Posted by James Dubois in Luna, Ouch, Personal.
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I’m back to work! šŸ™‚

Doctor Flores (InfraCorp’s chief physician) said that I need to take it easy and keep on top of my supplements but I’m heading off Luna and returning to the office on Liberty. I have buckets of work to slog through and may be pulling some all-nighters so don’t be surprised if you see me posting less than usual. I have a lot less time on my hands. Can’t wait to see Qiong again and all my co-workers. By the time this gets posted to the Net I should be en route.

– Hersh

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The accident-prone tourist Thursday

Posted by James Dubois in Luna, Ouch, Personal.
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First of all, to all my friends and family who haven’t heard from me: I’m okay. There was an accident while we were running some exercises out on the surface and now I’m recovering in a medical bay here on Luna. It’s nothing life threatening but my professional future is in doubt.

We were working on testing a docking system on the mining rig and something got all fouled up. I climbed up the gantry to check it out and I slipped and fell about twenty feet (I forgot to tie off). Thankfully, my suit, the low-g and the powdery surface lessened the impact and I just got the wind knocked out of me. Kind of amazing, really. The breaks occurred when one of the Garret guys helped me up to my feet after we did some initial, “Are you okay? Can you wiggle your toes?” kind of questions. He grabbed my arm in kind of an awkward way and when he pulled me up, I felt this stabbing pain shoot through my arm to my shoulder and across my chest. Honestly, I don’t remember much after that. They brought me inside, put my arm and upper torso in an inflatable cast and doped me with NOA. Long story short, I’m laid up with a spiral fracture in my humerus, some cracked ribs (I think from the fall) and a compound fracture in my radius.

Despite my mineral supplements and regular exercise sessions, my bone density has dropped by almost 17% in some areas of my body. Also, due to some genetic deficiency that went undiscovered, while my osteoclasts were eliminating old bone growth, my osteoblasts (esp. in my cortical bones) were not keeping up with the construction of new growth. In other words, my body was eating bone and not replacing any. The doc said a cross section of my arm looked like it had been attacked by termites. The other bones in my body have hairline fractures and microscopic stress breaks. Not terrible, but they’re not being repaired well or quickly. My spine and skull are fine but my load-bearing supports (arms, legs, hips) are swiss cheese. There’s no way I’d be able to go on a long distance space flight and continued orbital life is in question.

I feel like such an idiot right now. And I feel terrible for the guy that inadvertently caused the break. It’s not his fault at all and I know he’s beating himself for it. Just a stupid mistake, some bad luck and a pre-existing condition that nobody knew about (myself included). The docs have me on hormone therapy and calcium/magnesium to try and counteract the bone loss but I’m not sure InfraCorp will allow me to continue work on Liberty Station. I suspect someone else will end up taking the wheel from me completely once we start transporting construction modules and equipment. Then it’s on to the next project. Just not CHOIRS. My baby.

The worst part is that Q is on Liberty and can’t get clearance to visit me while I recuperate. I have a video monitor so that we can talk but the lack of physical proximity and the signal delay are maddening. It’ll be even more so when I’m in the gravity well and she’s soaring higher than the angels. That and the skin under this cast itches like crazy.

BTW, Jayesh has been a great friend over the last week. He helped me rig up a voice-to-text interface to my key implant so that I don’t have to type one-handed. The thing works like a dream, though I’m not sure how much he had to hack into the software to make it work (Jay: “Oh, it was an idea I had while on the john.”). He’s quite the character.

Thanks again for all the wonderful emails. I’d say “you can send cards and flowers here…” but, well… you know! šŸ™‚ I’m a bit sick of “Vermillion Sands” re-runs on the feed up here so send me email. – Hersh

Green Cheese! (was Moon Patrol!) Thursday

Posted by James Dubois in Luna, Tech.
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Hi friends. Never got around to posting this before the whoops. So here’s a blast from my recent past…

Just found out that Jayesh and I will have a chance to meet in the near future. He’s going to give some InfraCorp directors a look at the latest key prototypes on Luna and I insinuated myself into the trip by suggesting I go with them for some training and research. I’ll be working with Gerrit Technologies’ engineering team on some new techniques for regolith excavation (non geek speak: lunar mining).

We already have planetary mining equipment to harvest regolith (for oxygen extraction and to create lunar concrete for construction) but to do this in a zero-g environment in, say, an asteroid field, is daunting. You try hurling a hundred-million dollars worth of robotic mining rig at a giant, spinning rock moving at around 25 km/second! Anyway, we’re going to try and Frankenstein a deep space probe with a mining robot and see what we can do with the combination. We’ll run two tests. The first run is going to use some kind of telepresence rig with a human operator. The second is to run a pre-programmed sequence aboard the drone based on our analysis of the landing site and the surface topography and see what we can pull out of the surface (150 kg is the target). CHOIRS is going to need mega-tons of material for the radiation shielding alone, and because of the distances involved all that stuff will have to be excavated, processed and formed on-site in orbit without much in the way of human intervention. Liberty and Agra were astounding accomplishments but CHOIRS, in both size and scope, is in a league of its own.

Lots of work to do, not enough time to do it so I’m going to take off. Hersh out!