Todd Wilps was on a Memorial Day trip to the beach when he got the news
that he was too late to sign up for a Space Center Summer Camp.
Don't Let This Be You!
While many enjoy a three day weekend, the Space Center staff and volunteers will have two days off. These rare occasions give us a chance to recharge, rebuild, reenergize and prepare ourselves for the two busiest months of the year - June and July.
June and July are summer camps months. Each week you'll find us hosting a three day camp, an overnight camp and a few dozen or so private missions. It is the time of year when the Space Center makes much of its budget for the upcoming year. If you haven't registered for a summer camp I urge you to do so quickly. They are filing quickly. Soon, you may find yourself like the boy above, shocked to his very core at the discovery that there is no place for him at the Space Center this summer. He'd waited too long to register. Now, he faces a bleak summer without an infusion of pure, unadulterated imagination and creativity. Rare, natural brain enhancing drugs dispensed at very few places - the Space Center being one of them.
Our simulators are preparing their new summer missions. The Phoenix's mission has been told several times. Each telling was received warmly by the crews who flew them. The Odyssey's mission is ready. The Galileo's had its first telling last week. The crew responded favorably. The Magellan's new summer story is waiting on its tactical screens and visual track. The Voyager's new summer story will be told for the first time this weekend.
The Voyager's New Mission
The great space faring nations are struggling to rebuild after the long night of terror unleashed on them by the Borg. The Federation, Romulan, Klingon and Cardassian nations are mere shadows of their former selves. Their home worlds devastated, their fleets all but demolished and their citizens scattered to the four corners of this galactic quadrant. Each nation struggles to regain what it once had. Each nation rebuilds, sending their tattered fleets back to the stars to reclaim the worlds which once flew their flags and proclaimed their greatness.
In the midst of this devastation, the Paklids remain - untouched by the Borg. Their home world left as it was before, their identity and national purpose unmarred. The Borg Cubes flew by the Paklids on their way to Earth, Kronos, Romulas and Cardassian Prime. The Borg scanned Paklidia and found the Paklid people undeserving of assimilation into the collective. They believed the Paklids had nothing to offer. To some extent, the Borg were correct. The Paklids appear to be a very simple people, yet buried deep in what most think to be simpleness, lies the strength, culture and national purpose that has kept the Paklids an independent people for thousands of years.
In their hurry to subdue the great nations, the Borg overlooked something else about Paklidia. The Paklid home world is rich in dilithium ore. Dilithium is the controlling agent which allows massive warp drive engines to harness the power of antimatter and channel it is such that a doorway can be opened into the realm of hyperspace. Hyperspace allows warp travel and warp travel opens the galaxy to exploration and colonization.
The Voyager's new summer story introduces us to Horace, the crown prince of Paklidia and his bodyguard Dweeb. Horace and Dweeb are on Earth with the Paklid Minister of Commerce. Starfleet Command is wanting to sign a multiyear contract with Paklidia. This contract will, once again, give Earth access to Paklid dilithium crystals. Horace and Dweeb used their time on Earth to tour, meet humans, and study the finest Federation technology offered to the Paklids in exchange for their dilithium.
Now it is time for Horace and Dweeb to return to Paklidia. The Paklid government has arranged for an escort ship to accompany the Royal Starbug (Starbug - the name given to Paklid starships) back to Paklidia. The USS Voyager has been given that task. The journey to Paklids is fraught with danger. Remember, the Federation has lost control of much of its territory. There are whole sections of space once held by the Federation that are now in the control of lawless gangs of space pirates and mercenaries.
The Orion Pirates, led by the infamous Mad Dog, control the several light years of space separating the last functioning Federation Starbase and Paklid space. Ths area, called 'The West', is named after the American Wild West of the 1800's. The Voyager will rendezvous with the Royal Spacebug at Starbase 101. Prince Horace has expressed an interest in touring the Voyager and meeting her crew.
Horace is an avid admirer of Space ships. His favorite is the Romulan Warbird. "A fine ship," Horace says. Horace's love for the Romulan Warbird led him into an admiration of the Romulan people and their former Empire. His admiration has made Horace a vocal supporter of the Romulans. He has urged his father to give the Romulan Empire the dilitium contract instead of the Federation. Horace's father, not taken in by the clever design of the Warbird and false Romulan promises of eternal peace and friendship, refused his son's request. He knows Romulan history and their preoccupation of colonizing worlds with resources they deem of strategic value to their Empire. Over Horace's objections, the King sent his Commerce Minister to sign the trade agreement with the Federation. To placate his son, the Paklid King agreed to sell limited amounts of crystals to the Romulans. The Romulans are not happy they lost the contract, but are powerless to force a Paklid change of mind. The Paklids are the current power in the galaxy, having been ignored by the Borg. Of course, with the death of the Paklid King, Horace will take the throne. A scenario the Romulans hope will come sooner, rather than later.
How Do Astronomer's Know the Distances to Far Away Objects in Space?
This post ends with a short video explaining how astronomers tell the distances to far away stars and galaxies. Please take a minute and learn something about astronomy. I promise you'll find it fascinating.