Part 1 The Launch
Hello everyone. My name is Tazz Anderson. I am going to the moon to collect rocks.
I am sitting in the rocket on the launchpad. It is very small inside and I am wearing a big space suit which makes it hard to move.
I have put three paper birds on the control panel. You will find out why later in my story.
It is three o’clock in the afternoon. People have been working since dawn to get the rocket ready. There is no-one here now except me. No-one is allowed near the rocket when it lifts off.
I ate a simple lunch of cereal, eggs, and a peach. For the last five days I have been living on my own so that I would not catch an illness from other people. My family had to talk to me through a window and I couldn’t hug my dog, Puzzle. My friend Ed was allowed in. He is my back up. He will take my place if there is a problem.
In the rocket I am on my own. The computer talks to me. He is called MIC. It rhymes with bike.
“Are you comfortable Tazz?” MIC asks me.
“No! I want to put my legs straight,” I tell him.
Hundreds of people are watching the rocket launch. Some of them are in the control room at the space agency. Children are watching in school. A lot of cameras are looking at me.
The weather is fine. There is no wind. We are ready for take-off.
I tell MIC, “It is warm in here.”
He says, “Your space suit will cool you down.”
It is time for the take off.
“30 seconds to lift off,” MIC says.
I feel the engines start. I am wearing ear plugs, but it is very loud. It sounds like a lot of motorbike engines.
“15 seconds to lift off,” MIC says.
The rocket shakes.
MIC counts the seconds to take off. “10...9...8.”
The noise gets louder.
“7...6...5” MIC says.
I am hot. I am sweating.
“4...3...2...1” MIC counts down.
I feel like I am being pushed into my seat.
“Lift off,” says MIC.
I am on my way to the moon.
Part 2 In orbit
It is four hours since lift-off when I left earth in my spacecraft.
I am very hot in my spacesuit. My gloves are too thick for me to able to use the controls so my computer, MIC, is flying the rocket.
He tells me, “It is all going well, Tazz. We are flying away from earth at 17,000 miles per hour. Everything is ok. How are you feeling?”
“I am excited,” I tell him. “I can see the Earth through my window.”
The 3 little paper birds I brought with me are floating about. This shows me that there is no gravity. I am weightless.
“You can take your space suit off now,” MIC tells me.
It feels good to be able to move around the cabin. It is not very big, but I have enough room to do a forward roll in the air. I feel very strange. It makes me sick. I have to use a towel to clean up the sick as it floats around the cabin.
Before I was an astronaut I went to university to become a scientist. Then I had to do lots of tests to see if I was fit and healthy.
In my astronaut training I practised being weightless. They put me in a centrifuge, which is like a very, very fast fairground ride. You sit in a small pod on the end of a long arm and it spins you round. To learn to move in space I had to wear a spacesuit in a swimming pool.
I also trained in a simulator. This is a pretend spacecraft where I learnt how to fly it. I could make mistakes and practice until I got everything right. My training lasted two years.
I even had to learn how to eat and drink. I am sucking orange juice from a
pouch, then I will heat up a tube of vegetable soup.
“Tazz,” says MIC, “your mum and dad are calling.”
I turn on the video screen to see them.
“Hello, love,” says my mum.
“Hi Tazz,” says my dad. “We watched the rocket launch on the TV. It was amazing.”
“How are you feeling?” says mum.
“A little bit sick. But I will be all right,” I tell her.
“Is it going well?” asks dad.
“Yes. It is all fine,” I say. “How is my dog, Puzzle?” I ask them.
“She’s having fun playing in the garden, chasing rabbits,” my mum says.
“You must be tired,” says dad. “You need some sleep.”
“You are right,” I say. “Goodbye. Call again soon.”
“Bye, bye,” they say.
My dad is right. I need to go to bed. First of all I will use the space toilet. This is like sitting on a big vacuum cleaner that sucks everything up.
Then I have a wash and clean my teeth. I use soap that doesn’t need water, and I swallow the toothpaste instead of spitting it out so there is nothing to float around the cabin.
My sleeping bag is tied to side of the cabin. It has a hood and arm holes.
It is very cosy.
“We are travelling at 25,000 miles an hour,” says MIC. “Everything is ok. Goodnight, Tazz.”
“Goodnight, MIC,” I say.
Part 3 Destination Moon
Today I am feeling a lot better. I don’t feel sick anymore. In fact, I am very excited because I am going to walk on the moon.
I am going there because I am an expert in rocks, a geologist. I want to find a metal called Dysprosium. We use it in our mobile phones. There isn’t much of it on Earth, so I have come to the moon to find it.
I have always wanted to go to the moon. My mum and dad told me stories about it when I was a little girl. They said it was made out of cheese. That isn’t true. I know lots of facts about the moon. It is the brightest thing in the sky. It is 4.5 billion years old. In the past some people thought it was a god.
From my window the moon looks black, white and grey, like an old film. There are rocks as big as houses and craters larger than football pitches.
I need to put my spacesuit on ready to land. First of all I put on a vest and some leggings to help keep me cool. Then I put on my spacesuit, my boots and my helmet. I need to sit down and strap myself in to land.
MIC knows where to land. The space craft slows down. It rocks from side to side. Then I feel it land. We are there. MIC turns the engines off.
I unstrap myself and get ready to leave the space craft. There are two doors. I open the first one and go through it before it closes behind me.
I press the button to open the outside door. I am going to walk on the moon.
Part 4 Ready to Mine
The outside door of the spacecraft is about to open.
Beyond the door the Moon is black, white and grey.
“Are you ready, Tazz?” asks my computer, MIC.
“I’m ready,” I say.
The door opens and I step onto the moon.
It is very quiet. I can feel my heart beating inside my spacesuit.
I can see the Earth. It looks very small.
“Can you see your moon buggy?” asks MIC.
“Yes,” I say, “I am going to it now.”
There is no gravity on the moon. Each step is like walking on a bouncy castle. It is good fun.
I start the moon buggy. It has big, fat wheels, and cameras on it to look for rocks and holes that can get in my way. There is no road. I can steer where I want to go.
It doesn’t take me long to get to the mine.
There are 20 small crates of rocks which robots have dug up and put into boxes. I take four at a time back to the spacecraft on the moon buggy. It doesn’t take me long to load them onto it.
I will stay one more day on the moon before I go home.
Part 5 A moment of Reflection
When I got back onto the spacecraft I had moon dust on my boots. It smelt like a bonfire.
The Moon rocks are a lovely dark blue colour. They are safely stored.
I can see the Earth below me. Being in space makes me feel very small. It is exciting to be here, but I am ready to go home.
I have written a poem about how I feel.
I’m the Woman on the Moon, looking down at the Earth.
No humans here.
It’s not made of cheese, rice pudding, or honeycomb.
Only grey and black rock, dusty and dry.
With the Earth hanging in the sky.
When I look at Earth I see the oceans and rivers;
It is green and blue. It is beautiful.
Brown clouds of pollution spoil the view.
I wish I could pick up the Earth and keep it safe.
I want to reach across the black sky
And pick it like a plum.
Then clean it up and put it back in the sky.
Never to die.
“What is this?” asks MIC.
“It’s a poem, MIC. It’s something humans do,” I tell him.
“We are ready for lift-off,” he tells me.
“OK MIC,” I say, “let’s go home.”
Part 6 A bad cup of coffee
I am sitting in my spacecraft drinking a cup of coffee, which is not very nice.
Suddenly a loud buzzing noise starts.
“What’s that noise, MIC?” I ask my computer.
“It is an alarm. There are space rocks coming towards us,” he calmly tells me.
“What did you say?” I ask.
“Space rocks are coming towards us very fast,” MIC says.
“Are they going to hit us?” I ask him.
“Yes. Very soon,” he replies.
This is bad. I try to think of what I can do.
“Can we speed up to avoid them?” I ask MIC.
“No. Our engines are not strong enough.”
“Can we slow down and let it go past?” I say.
“No. There is not enough time left before they hit us,” MIC tells me.
I can feel the spacecraft beginning to shake.
“Twenty seconds until they hit us,” MIC says.
I can hear something hitting the outside, like stones on a tin roof.
It is getting louder.
I tighten my seatbelt.
“Ten seconds,” says MIC.
Everything is shaking very badly now. The alarm is getting louder. I can see red sparks out of the window as the rocks start to hit the spacecraft.
It is too noisy to think. I am being shaken from side to side and up and down. The lights go out and I scream, “Help me MIC.”
He doesn’t say anything.
Part 7 Post Impact
The space rocks have gone past. The spacecraft is out of control and is rolling this way and that. It is quiet, but only some of the lights are on.
“MIC,” I shout, “Is there any damage?”
MIC says, “Bubble...blah, blah,...zero...broken.”
Oh, no. MIC is broken.
I look at the dials in front of me. Some are spinning round and round. I don’t know how much fuel I have got. I don’t know if I have lost any oxygen.
Without MIC I will have to sort this out myself. I am a bit scared.
I don’t think there are any holes in the spacecraft as I have not been sucked out into space.
First of all I need to stop the spacecraft from rolling around.
To steer it I have to lift flaps on the outside. If I get it wrong I will miss the Earth and spin through space forever.
I press a button to make the change. A screen says, ‘Confirm.’ I press it again.
Nothing happens. I keep spinning. Away from the Earth.
Part 8 A letter to the world
This is Tazz Anderson. I don’t know if anyone will ever hear this.
Hello, Mum and Dad. Hello, Ed.
I don’t know if I will get back to Earth. My spacecraft hit a lot of space rocks. Now some things aren’t working. I’m trying to stop it from spinning and steer it back to Earth.
Whatever happens, I have really enjoyed my training and my trip to the moon.
Give my dog, Puzzle, a hug and look after her. I am thinking about her and the places where we walked.
I’m ready for what might happen next.
I am going to put my space suit on and try to steer the spacecraft back to Earth.
Start engines in 5...4...3...2...1
Part 9 A controlled burn
The engines have started. I hope I am on my way back to Earth. I will find out soon. If I am wrong, then the spacecraft will burn up.
I am wearing my space suit and it is very warm.
Soon I will hit the air around the Earth.
There is a sound like a very strong wind. It is hard to move. I can’t lift my hands to reach the controls. Outside I can see red hot sparks.
I am very hot and it is hard to breath.
The red light outside becomes pink, then blue. It is quieter.
I feel the parachute open above me. It feels like the space craft is pulled up very hard.
The spacecraft lands with a ‘splash’ in the sea. It is floating. I can feel it bobbing about.
Someone opens the hatch. I am home safely. I am back on Earth.