Aloha – In my continuing interest on developments on the space probe approaching dwarf planet Ceres, I thought y’all might me interested in comparative size. Considering the amount of water expected to be found on Ceres it is surprisingly small. We are getting better pictures of Ceres every day now as NASA’s Dawn space craft draws nearer. Check out the photos at
Meanwhile, returning to the fictional alter-ego of Ceres, Demeter. Ryder’s first observations of the asteroid reads as follows:
Demeter looked like a small planet. Although Ryder knew from their studies, that it only had a diameter about half the size of the Earth’ moon. So, it would be better to think of it as a large asteroid. It was basically round, although it looked slightly stretched like a very flat egg. The surface was heavily potmarked. In fact, there seemed to be craters inside craters and then more craters. It was very uninviting increasing Ryder’s foreboding and concerns.
Debbie had wangled her way into the cockpit with the flight crew, who had remained noticeably absent throughout the flight. Debbie and, surprisingly, Rebecca had shown a keen interest in the cockpit, and had both spent hour after hour with the flight crew. Ryder now heard Debbie’s voice over the intercom. “Everybody, its time to buckle up. We’re going to change speeds several times over the next few minutes as we prepare to land.”
The good news was that with Debbie gone, Ryder had a chance to talk with Cynthia more and more. Ryder remembered Cynthia’s response, when he had asked her about their adventure. “So, what do you think?”
“I’m excited. I think this is going to be even more interesting than a year in Europe. I want to investigate their medical advances. I’ve always planned to go to medical school. Imagine what this could mean if they’re as advanced as Miss Li says they are.”
Ryder had thought about that several times since. Cynthia being excited about being on Demeter tended to reduce his anxiety. A year with Cynthia anywhere sounded exciting wherever they were. But Cynthia knew exactly what she wanted, and what she hoped to get out of the experience. Even Debbie seemed to know what she wanted, even if it did change every ten minutes. But what did he want to get out of the experience?
As they approached the planet, things seemed to get bumpy. They sure were bouncing a lot. Ryder something had gone wrong with the ship when he heard Debbie’s voice over the intercom, “But, I’m doing fine. I think I can finish bringing her in.” Then a fatherly voice firmly stating, “I’m sure you can, but I need the practice myself to keep my certification.”
Things got a lot smoother after that, as they approached an area, that appeared manmade, perhaps a gate. Ryder saw the ‘gate’ start to slide open, but then lost the view as they drew closer and closer. The doorbell sounded again, “It sure is getting obnoxious every time they want to make an announcement,” Ryder thought, “I’m glad I’m getting off this thing.” The pilot, Jonas White, advised everyone to make sure all their valuables were stowed properly, as they were about to make another shape shift to a condensed form that allowed entry into the locks. The interior started making minor modifications, and Ryder quickly noticed that all the windows were disappearing as the seats were shifting into an interior facing oval. The last thing Ryder saw before the windows disappeared was a tunnel. It looked like a mine shaft with metallic, rather than wooden girding, but mostly rock. “Great! A year inside a mine shaft he thought, despondently.