Author : Aradhana Choudhuri

“No. There’s no funds, Mr. Lawrence. None. We work with what we’ve got.”

“Then you have to repurpose this satellite, Mrs. President, or we start losing vital assets. We’re deep in Kessler syndrome time — LEO and GEO are going to have one catastrophic collision after another, each spawning off more debris. Chain reaction.”

“I get all that. That’s why I gave you Webb! The science lobby’s gonna go nuts if I give you this one too.”
“It’s the only one left that can monitor that segment of the graveyard orbit, warn us before we start losing the Geostationaries.”

“Why can’t you build more telescopes on the ground? I can scrounge a few million out of discretionary.”

“Ma’am, Earth-based telescopes can only look out at night. We’re already using each and every ground asset we can just to keep the nightside covered from dusk to dawn. Anything sunside we won’t know about till satellites start going down.”

“What about other countries? China started this problem with their testing, and they’re the only ones with enough money left to spend on watching outer-space garbage. It can’t hurt to ask.”

“You want to ask the People’s Republic of China to launch a constellation of telescopes pointed at us?”

“Nevermind. Tell me why the Japanese repurposing their visible-spectro-thingamabob satellite wasn’t enough.”

“It was never designed to focus fast-moving near-Earth objects. Pointing requirements have been thrown out the window, delta-V budgets make any kind of repositioning? The point is, it’s not enough.”

“The science lobby is powerful, Mr. Lawrence.”

“So is the telecom lobby, Mrs. President, and it’s a helluva lot more relevant to the average taxpayer.”

“I’m aware of that. That’s why I’m here.”

“Yes Ma’am. This is no longer about competing priorities — it’s about threats to the vital infrastructure of this country. You think the ARGOS/NOAA-L collision was bad? We’re going to start seeing one like that every three months.”

“When will the next one happen?”

“In ten minutes? Tomorrow? Probability goes up to better than ninety in two months.”

“Allright, Mr. Lawerence. I’ll sign it. You’ll have Kepler by the end of the quarter.”


…peoples of earth…2051 by the…transmission…share…speck of light in a…static…we heard you…must have…scope…hear us…wait…response…


…earth…093…share joy…by now you…have telescopes…transmit…AMGE…hear…respo…




Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows