We can't leave everyone stuck down here on Earth in a Sci-Fi novel! As the novel ends, a "gold rush" begins to secure the hyperthread sites that didn't appear on Earth. FoM jets are the successful realization of non-governmental space flight. Maybe this should be combined with the experimental solar-powered airplanes?
To The Moon
... There was a small window of opportunity for others to make the journey first.
Thatís why Abu was here. He hadnít come to see Burt, he had come to Burtís ranch because it was becoming the Familyís space port. It was Abuís project, with Vince and Ariís help, and he had flown in from the Barn in Vermont for the first test flight of their new space ship. Abuís mood changed for the better when the jeep parked next to several others, in a dirt lot, and he stepped out under the starry skies. The view of the heavens was much better here than back home in Vermont.
Abu walked over to the figures with the flashlights, standing near the corrugated metal hangar.
"How you doin? We were waiting for you," Vince said, turning around and shaking Abuís hand. "Have you met Sarah, Sarah Metzger yet?" he asked, introducing the young woman next to him.
"Not in person. Good morning, Sarah."
"How youdoin?" she said, shaking his hand.
The X-prize had been won by SpaceShipOne in 2004. Burt Rutan and Richard Branson were only one team of entrepreneurs who were working towards a personal spaceflight industry. Sarah Metzger was the president and CEO of one of those fledgling companies, and she was contracted by Stephen to help Vince with the aeronautics involved in his gyrocomputers for the ultralites. When the hypercomputers sped up the calculations, work became more productive. The ultralites became ultrastable in even the worst conditions on the mountainsides of the Andes and the Kunlun Hills.
Then came the electric ultralites with the hypercloth wings. They were quiet and they could fly forever. The question was, how powerful could the wings become? It became apparent that with the right patterns, that power could increase significantly. Designs were considered for a blimp with hypercloth covering for power. But, if the hyperthreads could be woven into other materials, such as carbon nanosheets, then the power they supplied directly from the wings and shell of a craft, would be capable of propelling a space ship from the surface of the earth to the surface of the moon. And thatís what Abu became immersed in. Going to the stars.
"Whereís Ari?" Abu asked.
"Over there, thinking," Vince said, indicating a man standing in the dark to their left.
The analyses of the hyperthreads, as opposed to the message, were much more productive. Working with Ari, Jen, Tanya and many others, Abu discovered the macro structures of the threads to be multi-helical. They also determined that a small number of molecules were the foundation of the individual strands, but the molecules were strange. Their atoms were strange. Their subatomic particles were strange. Ari was ecstatic because, he claimed, these were proof of his CST theory. The elementary particles making up the atoms were resonating at a different frequency than they should have been. Their strings were in a different key. They werenít even the usual elementary particles; electrons, protons, or neutrons.
Abu walked over to the lone figure, trying not to make too much noise on the crunchy gravel.
"So do you think this thing will work?" he asked.
Ari recognized Abuís voice even though he couldnít see him well in the dark. "How do I know? It works fine on paper."
"Youíre not mad at us for not trying the anti-gravity thing?"
"Next time. Letís see if you can get this one off the ground first."
"Off the ground and into space, you mean."
"Weíll see. How long will it take?"
"A few hours I think."
Abu was happy with the composition of the hyperthreads too, because he was able to argue that they must be tiny particles of dark matter. Dark matter, in astrophysics and cosmology, was the hypothetical matter making up most of the known universe. It was called dark because it didnít emit or reflect enough electromagnetic radiation to be observed directly. Also, it was called dark because nobody really understood it. Its presence had only been observed by its gravitational effects on visible matter. Cambridge University researchers claimed it only came in clumps hundreds of light-years across, and that would imply that dark matter particles were fast moving, densely clustered, and very hot.
The hangar door began to open, and Ari and Abu joined the others.
"Are we ready to go?" Ari asked.
A UFO began to roll out, surrounded by giants in overalls. Thatís what Abu thought at first sight, but that was because the craft looked like a scaled down stealth fighter, only about twenty feet long. The giants were simply the human technicians, doing their pre-flight duties.
Sarah had the controls, and brought the ship over towards them. Vince reached out and stroked the machine on the nose.
"They did a nice job weaving the hyperthreads into the carbon nanosheets," he said.
Abu could see the golden afterimage from the plane when he turned away to look up into the darkness.
"Weíve already tested the material. Itís oblivious to heat, so reentry is no problem. Itís light as a feather. And the energy we can get from the shell is more than enough for the engine systems," Sarah said proudly.
Ari grumbled, "But youíre using three engines; propellor, jet, and ion propulsion."
"You only get optimal on paper, Ari," Abu countered. "Besides, I thought you would be glad the ion propulsion was using the dark matter from the hyperthreads. Youíre the one that figured it out."
As dawn broke, Sarah taxied the craft out onto the runway, and started the propellers. It moved quickly down the runway directly into the rising sun and began itís long slow spiral upward. It gained speed and altitude on each loop. Someone had started a barbeque back by the vehicles, and was cooking sausages, steaks, and eggs for breakfast. Abu followed Vince onto the food line, and got a second plate for Sarah. Vince carried some cold Coronas with him and then sat on the ground next to Sarah. Ari was already lying on a beach chair, his hand shading his eyes, looking up. After each loop there was a cheer from the crowd, like a tailgate party before a football game.
An hour later as the craft was high in the atmosphere, the small jet engine kicked in, and a louder cheer arose as they could see the contrail. Then the craft quickly spiraled out of sight. The spectators broke up, and went off to their assigned posts. Abu and the others headed into the control building and began to monitor the computers and cameras. This stage wouldnít take long, only about fifteen minutes, then Ariís dark matter ion propulsion engine would take over. With the HVCLs in the cockpit, everyone in the Family could get the sense of piloting the ship into outerspace.
"What did you call it?" Ari asked.
Sarah, Vince, and Abu answered at the same time, "Enterprise"!
The Ansari X PRIZE, was won by Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites in 2004. It was a $10 million competition to build a privately funded craft that could reach a sub-orbit of 100 km twice in two weeks. The X-Prize Foundation is supporting the exploration of many other scientific frontiers. Overview at Wikipedia.