2017-03-01 22:58:05 UTC
"Maelstrom II" is another short story by Arthur Clarke
that is in the book/collection "The Wind from the Sun".
This story is described in:
on September 20, 2007 as
Arthur C. Clarke's "Maelstrom II": A totally crazy but effective rescue
operation. This would easily class as among Clarke's best. An outstanding
shipwreck & rescue story in space."
Well,,, IMHO it's a dandy story, but not Clarke's best.
It has one of Clarke's regular themes, a person with lots of time
to consider their soon & certain death.
Cliff Leyland has been working in a lunar colony, and is now returning
back to earth. To save some money he buys a return ticket on a freight
capsule launched by an electric catapult; he is the sole passenger on board.
But there is a launch fault because of a 1 second electric supply failure,
so he does not quite get moon escape velocity. It will go to a certain
then moon's gravitation will pull it back and crash!
He talks via radio to his wife, then awaits certain death.
Part way through his elliptic crash orbit, he gets a call, from Ground staff
have worked out a totally crazy & frightening way to save him.
(Yeah, kind'a like "The Martian"!)
He is advised to don the space suite, & at the moment Launch Control will
advis him, to manually jump off the ship into space with all the force he
muster! This will be when his capsule is at its highest point in orbit and
he is to
be is facing away from moon; hopefully, this will put him in a non-crash
orbit - & give rescue ship, Callisto, time to finally fetch him.
Although, seeems to me there would be plenty of danger from
the shrapnel of the capsule hitting the moon.