Epoch of Twilight

Chapter 501

Chapter 501 - The First Flight Test

It was now May of 2019. The Spacecraft Internal Security Administration Bureau (SISAB) had been quietly established.

On the very first day it was established, they received a document on the reorganization of the factories and research centers.

First: Any unsecured items in the spaceship had to be buckled to the deck. Lighter tools also had to be put into a secured storage box after use.

Second: The interior walls of the factory needed to be fitted with a flexible material.

Third: To assess the stability and risk of vibration sensitive equipment.

Fourth: All factories and institutions must strictly abide by the safety regulations set by the government. Violations will not be tolerated.

...

In the following month, SISAB began monitoring the progress of reorganizing all the factories and organizations.

Following that, the reorganization process even spread as far as to affect communities and families. The atmosphere grew tense and even a person who was slightly more sensitive than average could feel like something was going on.

Towards the end of May, all the factory workers, researchers and even most of the government staff were on leave. Everyone knew that the date of the first test-flight of the spaceship was approaching.

A nervous atmosphere gradually enveloped the society and was likely because the humans had been staying there for a long period of time. The fact that the ground under their feet was not ground and was instead a massive spaceship had begun to slowly slip away from the peoples' mind. Humans had yet to achieve complete peace and soon, humans would want to leave this environment.

The next morning, the usually noisy residential area became abnormally silent and the streets were empty.

"Dear residents, the flight test will begin soon. Please fasten your safety harnesses right now and remain seated. The flight test will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will last for five hours, ending at 1:30 p.m. For more details, please refer to the news network." At eight o'clock in the morning, an announcement was heard in the residential area.

After listening to the announcement of the flight test commencement, Cui Weichuan took a deep breath.

Three of them had put their safety harnesses on earlier. His daughter, who was sitting beside him was so nervous that her face turned pale. She asked weakly, "Father, we're going to be okay... Right?"

Cui Weichuan immediately forced a smile and said, "Don't worry. Remember the small-sized spaceship?"

"Is it the one that we boarded before?" His daughter asked nervously.

"Yeah, that's the one. You've only boarded the spaceship once but I've been on it several times already. Nothing happened to me and it was comfortable. You won't feel a thing and you'll arrive on earth before you know it. This spaceship is more advanced than the small-sized spaceship. It's absolutely safe. Don't worry. The flight test might be a bit exaggerated as this spacecraft would definitely be more stable. We probably won't even feel the bumps."

"It's for the sake of safety. It's the same as having to wear seatbelts in a car." His daughter smiled as she felt more relieved.

After comforting his daughter, he then turned his attention to his wife.

"The harness isn't hurting your stomach, right?" Cui Weichuan asked as his pregnant wife as he was worried. He was unwilling to try the new childbirth technology since they would have no idea if the child would still be completely their own after genetic modification. If the baby does not look like the parents, there would be all sorts of baseless rumors flying about. They would feel uncomfortable listening to the rumors. However, he had to eventually agree with his wife as she was so obsessed with wanting a child.

His wife had been pregnant for nine months and she was about to deliver the baby soon. They had never expected that the flight test would be held today. It would be good if it could be delayed for a month.

"This harness is the one for pregnant women. It'll be alright!" His wife looked as she touched her belly and said while she showed him what she was going to put on.

Cui Weichuan looked at the thick, spacesuit-liked safety harness, feeling slightly relieved. The government paid great attention to pregnant women. After pregnancy, they had an endless supply of meat every single day. A few days before the flight test, they had prepared safety equipment for the exclusive use of pregnant women.

His wife suddenly frowned and covered her belly with her hand, looking like she was in pain.

"What happened?" Cui Weichuan was very tense and asked, "Are you going to deliver soon?"

"No, the baby is kicking me again!" His wife exhaled a mouthful and said, "Such a strong kid! The baby's probably going to be mischievous."

The child would most definitely be strong. Compared to humans prior to the apocalypse, humans were now almost similar in strength to Superman. If humans did not have a strong Physique, they would not even be able to give birth to a child properly.

As time passed and they listened to the announcements that had been repeatedly made, it was soon 8:30 a.m.

Everyone held their breath.

Eight groups of jet engines with a diameter of around 40 meters were placed at both ends of the spaceship and they began to heat up. Violent, hot flames spouted continuously from the jets and after a few seconds, they could feel that the spaceship shaking a little. Before long, it took off slowly like a snail.

After a few minutes, the flame turned into beams of lights as it streaked across the dark space. The spaceship accelerated gradually.

A meteorite was moving quickly towards the spaceship but before it managed to hit the spaceship, it was hit by a high-powered laser beam that came out of nowhere, causing the meteorite to vanish.

At that moment, the central control station of the ship became crowded with people. Aside from the crew, Luo Yuan and the top management were also gathered to monitor the flight test together.

"The spaceship is accelerating to… one kilometer per second!"

"1.1 kilometers per second!"

"1.2 kilometers per second!"

Since it was the first trial, safety was of utmost importance. The spaceship accelerated at a relatively slow speed.

At the top left corner of the main control desk, there were around six large, three-dimensional screens with an endless stream of data and computational formulas that were changing rapidly. Regular people would feel dizzy looking at the screens.

It was extremely complicated to operate a spaceship like that which was flying at such speeds.

Aside from the fact that the ship could encounter meteorites at any time, the gravitational force surrounding the planets would affect the flight trajectory as well.

A great deal of effort was required to pre-calculate the trajectory of each and every meteorite pre-flight and constantly adjusting it to ensure the flight path of the spaceship reflects the meteorite trajectories. Without an artificial intelligence system that was powerful enough to take control of all these calculations, interstellar flight in the spaceship would depend on lady luck. If they were lucky, they would be safe or the spaceship could be destroyed and the passengers would die.

The data streaming on the screen was boring and aside from the silent mathematicians who had consumed the wisdom elixir earlier, quietly making calculations in their hearts, not many of them had taken much notice of it.

Most of them were focused on the three-dimensional screen placed in the center of the room. The scenes on the screen were significantly brighter and meteorites streaking across space could be seen as well. However, a meteorite sighting was rare and most times, they could only see stars that were brighter than those on earth.

During the flight, the spaceship was basically operated by the artificial intelligence system. The crew did not have to do anything else unless there was a need for them to give new instructions. They were mainly there as helpers since they were human and the artificial intelligence system could respond to accidents faster than they could. They had no reflexes and no additional pushes of buttons were necessary. In fact, it has an operating system that adapts to new instructions, making sure all the systems on the ship responds immediately as everything was linked to its logic system. Taking into account the number of computations its logic system could perform, it was without a doubt, infinitely better than what humans could do.

Even Luo Yuan could not compare to it. It was the between sentient beings and machines. Regardless of how intelligent a creature was, one could never surpass the computing power of a 100,000 qubit supercomputer. The only way a sentient being could compare with that was if it had a completely awakened, four-dimensional brain.

...…

As time passed, the spaceship sped up to a speed of close to 100 kilometers per second. The brownish-yellow planet appeared in everyone's field of vision. It was venus, which also happened to be the destination of the flight.

The reason why the spaceship was flying towards venus instead of mars was that there was a meteorite belt between earth and mars, making it complicated to maneuver. Since this was the first trial, safety was of utmost importance.

It was only a short distance between them and venus, almost similar in size to earth, looked like a brownish-yellow marble that hung silently in the night sky.

"Enlarge the view on venus!" Luo Yuan commanded after looking at it for a short while.

"Yes, captain!" The artificial intelligence system answered.

The three-dimensional screen at the center was split in two and the planet was enlarged, occupying half the screen after a few moments. However, it continued enlarging with the three-dimensional screen providing a certain degree of immersion. In addition to the high-definition display, it made people feel like they were landing on the planet.

The virtual reality at the center of the screen was separated in half. The brownish-yellow planet was enlarged and occupied half of the screen after a short while. However, it continued enlarging. The three-dimensional screen exhibited a certain degree of immersion. In addition to the high-definition display, it caused people to feel like they were landing on this planet.

After a few moments, the screen magnified the image until they penetrated the atmospheric layer and it did not look as peaceful as it did when they viewed it remotely. The atmosphere was flowing violently, creating strong winds and turbulence in the air. Compared to the winds they saw here, the winds on earth were like a gentle breeze with fine rain.

After a few seconds, the lens had penetrated through the atmospheric layer. It did not look as peaceful as it was through remote viewing. The atmospheric layer was flowing violently, created a strong wind that caused a stir in the air. Compared to the strong wind here, the typhoon that happened on Earth was considered as a gentle breeze and fine rain. Though antimatter bombs caused the downfall of mankind, the phenomenon in venus would probably wipe the humans out within a few days.

The imaging system of the spaceship was fearsome. The image continued enlarging and within a few moments, it had penetrated through the dense atmosphere and a view of the ground was now visible.

It looked like hell with a destructive atmosphere. There were volcanoes spewing magma everywhere and at the same time, the mountains were corroded by the concentrated acidic gases, forming bizarrely shaped rocks.

Most of them viewing this were terrified as it was their first time viewing such a phenomenon.

"According to what the system has detected, it's a terrestrial planet. Radius: 5051.8 kilometers. Gravitational force: 0.9G. The surface temperature is approximately 400 degree Celsius. The pressure is 90 times the pressure on earth. 97% of the atmosphere is carbon dioxide with containing a large amount of water. It has low terraforming value and it's recommended that it is used as a mining planet."

  

Luo Yuan smiled wryly as he heard the artificial intelligence system's recommendation. They were going to leave the earth soon. To most of them, it was less likely that they would be able to return to the Earth at some point in their lives.