172 Hours on the Moon is a young adult novel about three teenagers who go to the moon as winners of a global lottery, only to discover a terrible secret about why they were sent. Below, the prologue to the novel.
Prologue: February 2010 “Gentlemen, it’s time,” Dr. ----- said, eyeing the seven some of the most powerful people in the country, together in the largest meeting room at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was nearing eleven o’clock at night.
They would have to make a decision soon.
“So, what’s it going to be, then?” Dr. ----- asked impatiently.
The cigarette smoke in the room was thick and impenetrable, making the atmosphere even gloomier. All rules forbidding smoking in government offices had fallen by the wayside as nerves came to a head.
“Well,” one of the seven began, chewing on his pencil, “it’s an incredibly risky proposition. You must know that. Is it really worth it?”
“People had already completely lost interest in the moon missions before the last launch in 1972,” another one said.
“Why do you think they’d be on board with us going back?”
“It could be done,” a third said. “We could tell them there’s a good chance of finding large amounts of tantalum seventy-three at the moon’s south pole.”
The room was suddenly buzzing, the tension starting to crescendo.
“You don’t want to go back to the South Pole, trust me.”
“Of course not.”
“It’ll kill you.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“If you ask me, I say leave the whole place alone.”
“Gentlemen,” Dr. ----- interrupted, “do you have any idea how important a discovery tantalum seventy-three would be? Most current technology is dependent on this material. People would be throwing money at us.”
“So we’re going up there to search for natural resources? I thought —” one of the other men said.
Dr. ----- interrupted him again.
“No, we’re not.”
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cleared his throat.
“Let me put the cards on the table for you, gentlemen. We are not going to the South pole of the moon, and whether or not tantalum seventy-three is found on the moon is completely immaterial.”
Confusion spread through the room.
“I presume some of you are familiar with Project Horizon?” he continued.
The man who had spoken first asked, “You mean the research done in the late fifties? The plans to build a military base on the moon? I thought that was scrapped.”
Dr. ----- shook his head. “The base isn’t military.” He looked at the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. “It’s just a research station. Isn’t that right?”
The chairman didn’t answer. He gave the man a friendly look. “It’s called DARLAH 2. It was constructed in the seventies under the name Operation DP7.”
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