One Man's Space Trash Is Another Man's Space Treasure

ElshaHawk LoA

Ficlets and Ficly survivor, FicMom, and Mistress of Well-Intentioned Indecision and Goddess of Unrequited Love. @ElshaHawk @HawkandYoung

hawkandyoung.wordpress.com

wellintentionedindecision.blogspot.com

elshahawkscribblins.blogspot.com

linkedin.com/in/elsha-hawk

www.facebook.com/elshahawk

www.facebook.com/HawkandYoung/


There's a lot of junk out in space in orbit around the Earth.

Even though the crew of the Refuse Recovery 3, or RR3, a play on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, had been out picking up space debris for 7 years, they'd never seen this before.

Frozen, every non-metal surface petrified, this was an airship. There was no way an airship had made it to space on its own. Something carried it there.

As the RR3 drifted around the contraption, using small thrusters, the crew was glued to the windows and camera screens. In the shadow of the craft lay the answer. Puncturing its stern and its immense balloon was a narrow missile head. It hadn't exploded in nuclear fury.

But fear of a nuclear explosion isn't what made the crew move quickly, it was the oozing liquid helium stored in the cargo tanks at the rear. A vast ocean, millimeters thin, walled off part of the vacuum of space, reflecting in their ship's lights. This would sell nicely on the black market, but it was warming and spreading, fast. They had to contain it.


Prequels

No prequels yet. Why not write one?

« Write a prequel

Sequels

No sequels yet. Why not write one?

Write a sequel »

Comments (9 so far!)

Average reader rating 5.00/5

Mighty-Joe Young LOA

Mighty-Joe Young LOA

This is an awesome lil story elsha. I liked the suspense and the surreal feeling of the plane in outer space.

  • #2966 Posted 10 days ago
  • 5 out of 5
Robert Quick

Robert Quick

Good stuff. Reminds me of a less horrifying version of one of the Aliens books (I think Earth Hive). I'd read more of this.

  • #2968 Posted 9 days ago
HSAR

HSAR

Points for SF hardness. Helium would definitely be an expensive resource in the future.

  • #2970 Posted 7 days ago
ElshaHawk LoA

ElshaHawk LoA

1. I did my research. Liquid Helium is one degree colder than space. It would warm and turn into gas, but slowly. As a superfluid, it would act differently than water in space, less like blobs and more like a flow. It would spread out.

2. It's and AIRSHIP not a plane. Think blimp. Think steampunk. I did not talk about any deceased that might be aboard and frozen in space, nor did I address the war that must be waging on Earth for a nuclear missile to hit an airship. Both are areas ANYONE may address in a sequel as I have no plans for this, not even character names.

3. THANK YOU for comments. <3 <3 <3

  • #2971 Posted 4 days ago
ElshaHawk LoA

ElshaHawk LoA

Oh, and I don't know how they would collect the helium.

  • #2972 Posted 4 days ago
HSAR

HSAR

I love the researching part! I love being able to explain how things work, if people ask. Interesting to know about the superfluidity! I'll read up.

I think either vacuuming it up and recondensing it down to liquid form, or something done using very powerful magnets would be effective ways of gathering it.

  • #2975 Posted 4 days ago
ElshaHawk LoA

ElshaHawk LoA

So, it's been noted that there is no pressure in space. One person surmised that the liquid would boil off and become gas immediately. Another said, well, no pressure is why water stays in blobs. But I kind of think it would form a vapor cloud.

  • #2977 Posted 39 hours ago
HSAR

HSAR

The physics behind whether a certain element is liquid, solid or gas at certain temperatures and pressures is not very well understood; I think there is some leeway here.

Certainly in an open, room temperature vacuum I would expect the helium to become gas immediately. But here, inside a closed vacuum at near absolute zero, I think some of the helium would boil off until sufficient pressure existed to keep the rest liquid. A lot of this depends on complex calculations and the exact numbers relative to each other, which you have (wisely) not written down :)

Or the designers of the balloon could have been really clever, and engineered a supersmooth surface that would allow the helium to remain liquid via superheating.

  • #2978 Posted 30 hours ago
ElshaHawk LoA

ElshaHawk LoA

Interesting, middle of the road take on this, HSAR, that keeps everyone happy. :) That's what sci-fi is about; making up the parts based on hypothesis and no math. LOL

  • #2979 Posted 18 hours ago
  • Published 12 days ago and featured 10 days ago.
  • Story viewed 27 times and rated 1 times.

All stories on Ficlatté are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. What does this mean?