Space Travel Guide
Science Fiction

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  SpaceshipindentJamie stepped off the last rung of the flimsy ladder. He stood on the sandy surface of Mars.
indentHe felt totally alone. The five human figures beside him could not truly be people; they looked like strange alien totems. Then he realized that they were aliens, and he was too. Here on Mars we are the alien invaders, Jamie told himself.
indentHe wondered if there were Martians hidden among the rocks, invisible to their eyes, watching them the way red men had watched the first whites step ashore onto their land centuries ago. He wondered what they would do about this alien invasion, and what the invaders would do if they found native life forms.
- Ben Bova, Mars, 1992, ©Bantam Spectra Books.
indentSleeping in zero gravity is a skill that has to be learned; It had taken Floyd almost a week to find the best way of anchoring legs and arms so that they did not drift into uncomfortable positions. Now he was an expert, and was not looking forward to the return of weight; indeed, the very idea gave him occasional nightmares.
- Arthur C. Clarke, 2010 Odyssey Two, 1982 © Ballantine Books
RocketindentHe had sufficient science to guess that he must be on a world lighter than the Earth, where less strength was needed and nature was set free to follow her skyward impulse on a superterrestrial scale. This set him wondering where he was. He could not remember whether Venus was larger or smaller than Earth, and he had an idea that she would be hotter than this. Perhaps he was on Mars; perhaps even on the Moon. The latter he at first rejected on the ground that, if it were so, he ought to have seen the Earth in the sky when they landed; but later he remembered having been told that one face of the Moon was always turned away from the Earth. For all he knew he was wandering on the Moon’s outer side; and, irrationally enough, this idea brought about him a bleaker sense of desolation than he had felt yet.
- C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet, 1963 © MacMillan Publishing Co. Inc.
indentHe cut into the planet’s atmosphere, guiding the ship toward the small target. It skimmed the glassy-smooth water. Flip-flopping out of control, the vessel slashed across the island, plunged through the trees, smashing them to fibers.
indentThe impact was shattering. It paralyzed him, suspended him in a well of pain. He moaned, waited unmoving for the hurt to subside, for silence to calm his battered senses.
indentJohalla fumbled with the harness, his aching claws catching the fabric of the protective garment which covered his angular frame. He pulled at it. Without it, fragments of shell and a green puddle would be the only remains of this creature who had dared to trespass against the galaxy.
indentHe groped for the portal, hesitating before he released the cover. Every living thing here must know of his arrival. He pushed the hatch forward, peering out into the dusk. Strange forms intrigued him. He studied the terrain, eyes lingering in the trees, their silhouettes black against the heavens. His antennae quivered in harmony to the sounds and smells of the island.
- E. Amalia Andujar, Softly Touch a Stranger’s Mind, 1978 ©Davis Publications, Inc.
The scene was Earth.
indent Not that the beings on the Starship thought of it as Earth. To them is was a series of symbols stored in a computer; it was the third planet of a star located at a certain position with respect to the line connecting their home planet with the black hole that marked the Galaxy’s center, and moving at a certain velocity with reference to it.
indent The time was 15,000 B.C., more of less.
indent Not that the beings on the Starship thought of it as 15,000 B.C. To them it was a certain period of time marked off according to their local system.
- Isaac Asimov, Nothing for Nothing, from Science Fiction Masterpieces, 1986 ©Davis Publications, Inc.
indentThey moved the heat shields back to their storage positions, and went inside the bubble dome to have a look.
indentDuring perigee Mars filled most of the sky, as if they flew over it in a high jet. The depth of Valles Marineris was perceptible, the height of the four big volcanoes obvious: their broad peaks appeared over the horizon well before the surrounding countryside came into view. There were craters everywhere on the surface. Their round interiors were a vivid sandy orange, a slightly lighter color than the surrounding countryside. Dust, presumably. The short rugged curved mountain ranges were darker than the surrounding countryside, a rust color broken by black shadows. But both the light and dark colors were just a shade away from the omnipresent rusty-orangish-red, which was the color of every peak, crater, canyon, dune, and even the curved slice of the dust-filled atmosphere, visible high above the bright curve of the planet. Red Mars! It was transfixing, mesmerizing. Everyone felt it.
- Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars, 1993 © Bantam Books.

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