Category Archives: Stories

Short fiction

Contents Under Pressure

There’s a lot of background research that goes into writing this sort of thing. I received a lot of assistance from people on both Facebook and In particular I’d like to thank Michel Segeren, Eric Shear, Patrick Ritchie and Richard Trombly pushing me to make it all make sense. The problems that are left are my fault entirely.

You can find a Mars calendar calculator here.

Mars Date 66.04.03 (March 3, 2078) – Jaganathan “Jag” Rangan

Jag and his team were putting the backup pump back together when his phone rang. He glanced down. Shit. Brandon knew they were busy at the desalination plant. He wouldn’t just call.

“Sorry Jag. Bad news.” Brandon Ackerley was the project manager in charge of maintenance of the colony’s water subsystems. “We have a major leak on the pipe.”

The pipe referred to the vast water pipe that carried fluids from Mars’ southern polar icecap to the colony. The cold brine was partially filtered at the pole, but still contained corrosive salts, and leaks, although rare, weren’t unknown.

“Do you know where?” Jag asked.

“We lost pressure too quickly to get a tight fix. Somewhere out by klick 750. Both pipes are out.” Distances on the pipe were measured in kilometers, starting at the colony.

Jag took two breaths before responding.

“We could be out there for a week hunting for that, you know?” Continue reading

Bulk Hauler

We were discussing the advantages of small payload to LEO rockets on the Lifeboat Foundation’s Facebook page. It doesn’t look like anyone has ever attempted to build a rocket specifically for launching tiny (i.e. 1kg) payloads to orbit. With new off-the-shelf nanosat platforms reaching the market, a cheap launch platform could have a real market among universities – or even wealthy space enthusiasts. I wrote the following short story as a way of illustrating the potential for tiny payloads to go a long way.

Another dump truck backed up to the pit and offloaded a reeking pile of partially rotten vegetables. The yard took up several acres of prime farmland. Two ancient quonset huts stood by half a dozen miniature gantries, where partially completed rockets stood. The place was surrounded by a rather bucolic-looking log fence.

“Okay, run that by me again,” said the reporter. “You’re lifting two pounds at a time, and you’re building a deep space mission? From here?” Continue reading