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Some satellite shenanigans

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In this photo transmitted from the lunar module on the moon to NASA Mission Control in Houston, Texas, Edge columnist Todd Parker is seen atop one of the agency's lunar vehicles. In this photo transmitted from the lunar module on the moon to NASA Mission Control in Houston, Texas, Edge columnist Todd Parker is seen atop one of the agency's lunar vehicles. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Todd Parker visits the lunar landscape

MOONBASE ALPHA, The Moon – What’s up, losers? Me, that’s what! I’m on the best vacation ever. Where am I, you ask?

Four words: On the f---ing moon!

That’s right, true believers. Your old buddy Todd called in some favors from his shadowy power broker buddies and got himself an all-expenses-paid trip to the Moonbase!

What’s that you say? There is no moonbase? No man has been to the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972? The lunar surface is completely inhospitable and openly hostile to human life?

You poor naïve morons.

Of course there’s a moonbase. What, you think we just stopped going to the moon because it was a lifeless hunk of rock with no discernible real-world value? We’re Americans, you idiots – since when do we need a legitimate reason to devote valuable resources to a pie-in-the-sky project?

A little history: construction started in 1975, but it took almost 20 years for Alpha to reach completion. But in June of 1994, it went operational and the first crew of 40 moved in. It was built just over the edge of the badassedly-named Terminator (the line marking the light and dark sides) to avoid detection by prying amateur astronomy buffs. In the two decades since, the population has swelled to well over 500 people. Most have been researchers and such on six-month hitches, but there are more than a few permanent residents as well.

One of those permanent residents is my buddy Manny. He’s an electronics technician, spending most of his time making sure the elderly equipment that runs the show up here stays in tip-top working order. He’s been here for close to 10 years now, with no intention of ever going back. No one knows the lunar ropes quite like Manny does, so I placed the fate of my moon tourist good times in his capable hands.

Long story short, it has been epic.

Moonbase Alpha itself is legit. It’s so sci-fi I can barely keep from soiling my pants (which you can totally do whenever you want, by the way, due to the sweet spacesuits). The geodesic dome that covers us has a diameter of about five miles, but the underground tunnels go super deep. The best ones are towards the bottom – that’s where the moon people live.

(That’s right – moon people. Aliens. And they’re all right. They don’t talk much and they don’t really do names, but they pull epic practical jokes and they can drink like champs.)

But you can only watch Gleep-Glop or whoever light his buddy’s feet on fire so many times before you need to get out and stretch your legs. So Manny took me out onto the surface; let me tell you, it’s even more awesome than you think it is.

Granted, we spent most of our time racing moon buggies and GTA-ing our way through ancient alien ruins. But we did other stuff too. I aced the 2,100-yard fourth hole at Lunar Sands with a 3-iron; even though the actual hole is a mile-wide crater, I still felt pretty tough. I took a leak on both Soviet robotic lunar rovers in the same day; that’s right – I marked both Lunokhod 1 and 2; they belong to me now, Russia! And this one time, we got wasted on moonshine and I moon-wrestled a moon-bear because Manny said I didn’t have the sack to fight an unknowable alien beast. In your face, Manny!

Every day is a new day filled with fresh opportunities here at Moonbase Alpha. It’s been a fantastic time – I honestly don’t know when I’m going to make the return trip. But rest assured, punks – it will be soon. Living up here in the futuristic world of space is cool and all, but I know I’ll want to get myself back to good old terra firma eventually.

Besides – if I have to listen to Manny play “Fly Me to the Moon” on that stupid harmonium one more time, I’m going to decompress this entire place.


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