Jen looked out the window at the giant glass sphere in the distance after her first sleep.
‘It looks so much different in reality than from video.’ she said to Eszter, the pilot. ‘It’s like a giant crystal ball full of colours.’
‘Yep. I’ve come here more than a dozen times now and it still looks as amazing as the first time.’ Eszter said and prepared to turn the ship for the braking stage.
‘How do you land on the planet?’
‘I don’t. We land on one of the docking stations on the sphere. From there people and cargo go down one of the ten kilometer long tethers keeping the sphere in position around Ceres.’ Eszter said while Jen sat down during the turning of the ship. ‘There can’t be any large openings because the atmosphere would leak out too much.’
‘What about meteorites?’
‘The shield is strong enough to take on small meteorites, if they’re a bit larger the auto-healing layer closes any holes. Only on the occasional hit from much larger ones that haven’t been blown up by defensive missiles, do they send out robots to replace panels.’
Eszter called Ceres control to confirm speed and heading.
‘Then what about the pieces falling down?’ Jen asked, looking at the monitor showing the approach from the back of the ship.
‘The glass is made such that it shatters into tiny pieces. So there are no large pieces to hit anything below.’
Jen nodded, recognising spots on the shield as the various docking stations.
‘You’ve seen the large umbrella at Mars, right?’ Eszter asked.
‘This is something like that, only here it needs to encase the entire planet to protect it. At Mars it only needs to protect it from the solar wind blowing away the atmosphere, which is why it only needs to sit between the sun and planet.’
Eszter checked her readings. ‘You’d better get back to sit with your mother. We’ll be landing soon, and then it’ll probably be another eight hours before you get to see your father again on the surface.’
Jen smiled. ‘Thanks for letting me see this.’
‘Have a nice stay there, maybe you can get a trip on a mining shuttle to see this again.’
‘Thanks.’ Jen said again as she moved back to the passenger area.
Mirror, mirror on the wall..
What have you done for me lately?
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Enter at your own risk: