Convenience stores in certain cities stocked the tickets. Advertised as the “once in a lifetime experience,” Ellen Sweeney purchased as many as her household budget would allow. It was no surprise to Ellen when she validated her winning numbers. It was confirmation that she and her family were finalists and that she had the chance to explore a new vision, a new journey. But there was to be a process that would involve some unexpected interferences and delays.
For the Sweeney family and the other finalists there would be a wait. At first there was the Congressional debate to renew the funding that would finance the trip. NASA needed guarantees that every aspect of exploration and homesteading the planet would meet Federal Regulatory Standards of Finance. And of course, there were the obligatory forms of application. Documentation of current medical health and history, and the usual requests of residence and employment information were required. And then there were five pages of questions that needed detailed answers with considerations that were subjective and projected the expectations of the journey.
Ellen thought of the advantages that would enable her and her family to embark on this new frontier. She was impressed that the gradual influx of the population was monitored by a team of scientists, medical personnel, and journalists. Charting a course of daily developments enhanced their challenges. The goal was to transport technology with human participants and offer a fresh start. This was the main incentive.
It happened. They sat around the kitchen table. Each of the Sweeneys eager to have a voice in their explanation of the reasoning that led to their interest. First question on the application fueled the discussion that led to Ellen’s remarks, “Weightlessness in travel could eventually result in calorie counting gone amuck .No more mathematical equations related to the “carb content” of the day!”
In an attempt to be involved, Ellen’s husband responded, “Drinking Tang everyday for a duration of time could dissipate an obsession with a need for SOME PULP in the carton every morning.”
“Oh, Dad, you are so dinosaur years ago,” Charlotte exclaimed. The resident teenage daughter had spoken. “There are unlimited choices offered today. Beverages are not limited to the artificial.”
“What are we accomplishing here? We need to deliberate the correct response to the how and whys of the process of adjustment. The exploratory lifestyle that we will be facing as a family can’t evolve with irrelevant notions of discussion.” This wisdom was the proclamation of the kindly Grandfather. He was in a transitional stage of retirement with every day declarations that were befitting a retired Philosophy professor.
Ellen remained calm .She wanted a team approach from the family with regard to the opportunity that had presented itself. Only one family from each of the participating eight major U.S. cities had been chosen. Her preference would have been to complete the application on her own. But if they were chosen as one of the three family finalists, she feared that the concluding interviewing process would reveal her lack of discretion. Ellen wanted nothing to interfere with their chances.
With the approach of “honesty is the best policy”, Ellen documented every attempted explanation of why this trip was of such importance. Every specific on the application that was an inquiry reflected the opinions and heartfelt feelings of a united family. A family eager to willingly experiment and travel with limited possessions. She even included her six year old daughter’s and nine year old son’s check list of toys, games, and videos that were to be left behind and what was to accompany them on the journey.
When the completed forms were mailed, the family waited for notification. The anticipation was grueling. Trying to pretend and suppress the excitement of the possibilities was difficult for the grown ups. Not so for the teenage daughter. She was “way cool,” and the younger children were too busy in the equitable division and discussion of anticipated take along toys and games.
The certified letter arrived. It had been decided that it was not to be opened until the family was gathered together. Deep inhaled nervous breaths surrounded Ellen as she unfolded the letter. The Congratulations read out loud sparked joy, clapping, and jumping.
Ellen and her family breezed through the final stages of sanctions that would allow them transport to their new home. Excitement built as their departure date arrived.
The “Goldilock’s Planet” which was discovered in September, 2010 was no longer 20 light years away. The Sweeneys were on their way. With improved technology the distance and traveling time had become minimal. Planet Earth had become a text book study of human and environmental rights and wrongs. The Goldilock’s Planet would harbor a safe and green climate. It was a slow and steady progression of the constant to develop a desired quality of life. Second chances in a new frontier!