Author Topic: The Prometheus Project (1) 2052-2062  (Read 4990 times)

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Offline Whitecold (OP)

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The Prometheus Project (1) 2052-2062
« on: July 21, 2014, 03:16:46 PM »
The Prometheus program was the most ambitious program to date of the United Nations Space Research, Exploration and Colonization Agency. The agency had been founded with the Prometheus program in mind, to pursue the manned exploration of the solar system.
In the first step a lunar colony would be established, to serve as permanent research base, testbed for an extraterrestrial colony and as intermediate stop for the later Mars mission.
Central to this undertaking was the Prometheus itself, the first reusable, interplanetary shuttle. The ship was built around the rotating habitat, and was powered by a nuclear thermal engine. Designed for extra-atmospheric travel only, she was to be resupplied in LEO. For the lunar part the Prometheus was overengineered, the true test was

2052 February, 7th
On her maiden flight the Prometheus commanded by Captain Alix de Bourdeille delivered a first construction crew with building equipment to the lunar surface. They began with the construction of a habitation module, which were supposed to be dug into the surface.

2052 February, 18th
The head of the agency, Alfonso Alvarez was informed that the construction crew made a peculiar find. As they dug out the pits in which the  base was supposed to be build they hit a hard, unknown type of rock which proved impenetrable to their equipment. What caught their attention was however that the formation turned out to be perfectly straight. Further excavation revealed it as a straight tube, and from the measurement of the curvature of the surface, it was estimated to about 15 m in diameter. Its length was undetermined.
While the research team of the UNSRECA still searched for an explanation, pictures of the excavation leaked to the public. Speculation run wild, half split between the preposterous, which circled around aliens, government conspiracy and ley lines to the humorous, who suggested that the London underground was confusing enough without it expanding to the moon.

2052 February, 25th
The Prometheus arrived with new cargo at the moon, including a research team under Du Xia Dong, which had been put together on short notice, as well as a mining crew with drill equipment.

2052 March, 4th
The next trip of the Prometheus brought a second team research under Markus Homberg to investigate the lunar mystery. The survey team had mapped out the structure for 1700 m, all perfectly straight. Spectroscopy of the material is inconclusive. The drill managed to chip on the surface, but was ground away itself in the process. The chips were returned to Earth for examination.

2052 April, 19th
Lewis Obrien took charge of the lunar excavations. There is preciously little new information. While the Prometheus could carry out more flights, the space lift capability to resupply her is exhausted. The frantic rescheduling to lift the additional equipment already pushed back scheduled satellite launches, and the UNSRECA’s budget was exhausted. While additional funding had been promised, little had arrived.

2052 October, 13th
With only digging up the structure every 200 meters the team made good progress. However after passing under a mountain, the team is unable to find the tube on the other side. Excavation focuses on the the other direction. A seismic thumper moved up on the priority list, but would still need some time as while supply flights have been resumed, most was used for additional life support.

2053 February, 2nd
The seismographic measurements finally had success and found the structure again. It now proceeds in a wide turn, and after the bend it continues again in a straight line.

2053 April, 1st
A break had finally been found. The tube was interrupted in a crater, and could be found on both sides. Digging from the sides of the crater finally revealed the structure that had puzzled humanity for the past year. The tube proves to be hollow, there is little doubt that it is of artificial origin, although no one had any reasonable idea who and how it came into existence. A jester had put up a London underground sign at the entrance into the structure.

2053 April, 4th
The researchers travelled 147 km into the tunnel where the tunnel split up into a series of caverns, some of which are blocked by what appears to be doors. Most of the caverns seem empty, but holes, shafts and empty slots suggest that the caverns had once contained equipment. The doors are less than 120 cm high, and the ceilings are similarly low in the structures. outside of the large main caverns.

2053 May, 8th
A senior scientist of the research team, Georg Schmidt has been killed as his rover overturned.

2053 July, 14th
The original tunnel seems to have been indeed some sort of subway. A number corresponding tube-shaped vehicles had been found, fitting the diameter of the tunnel, leaving only a gap of a few centimeters. The tubes could be coupled together, but lack any sort of wheels. Maglev was suggested as propulsion, but there were no corresponding tracks in the tunnel, which seemed to consist of the extremely resilient alloy which had unimaginatively been named duranium.

2053 August, 1st
As the researchers further mapped out the seemingly endless installations, they found a series of caverns which they suggest served as military installation, as it featured reinforced structures and few, hardened access points.

2053 August, 4th
The chassis of armored vehicles have been found. They appeared to have been cannibalized, their weapons removed, and lacked wheels or tracks. While Maglev had been plausible for a train, it was completely impractical for a combat vehicle.

2053 September, 7th
An access tunnel to the surface has been found, making the exploration easier by shortcutting the 150 km tunnel.

2053 October, 25th
An extensive survey found no recognizable remnants of the species that built the tunnel structure. Together with many of the tunnels stripped of equipment suggested that the place was orderly abandoned.

2054 January, 31st
A space port facility has been found. Hangars opened into large vertical shafts to the surface, which were covered with duranium shields. Attempts to open these shield covers have been fruitless so far.

2054 February, 12th
Exploration of the other end of the tunnel had been suspended so far, and was now resumed as sufficient personal and material was available. It revealed a second installation 19 km from the entrance.

2054 April, 12th
The research team presented the report on the excavations on the moon. There was a great public interest in the enormous dossier, but was disappointed as the conclusion that it was indeed a structure built by an advanced alien civilization surprised no one anymore. However the conclusions buried in there are startling. Almost all of the artifacts recovered included exotic matter in their construction. Further there are theories that some of the devices found are reactionless drives. The explorations are hampered by the fact that almost all machinery relied on solid state engineering which had been turned into slag over the ages, leaving little trace of its function.
However the report had no explanation on what happened to the builders, who they were, or where they came from in the first place.

2054 May
The UNSRECA started to experiment with the production, manufacture and application of those exotic compound materials. The agency was matched with an uncountable number of private and government programs with the same goal.

2054 August, 18th
The survey has been finished. The area has been subdivided in 243 different sites clustered in seven sectors connected by tunnels, which will need further excavation. Du Xia Dong which lead the excavations so far remained in charge of the site, now scheduled to begin digging up individual sites.

2055 January, 30th
The excavation team made an interesting find, which appears to be a hospital facility. The equipment found suggested that the aliens had been able to manipulate their bodies down to a molecular level. However that very ability made it almost impossible to determine anything about the alien physiology, as the software of the equipment did not survive.

2055 October, 20th
Prof. Martine Darmester’s team successfully managed to produce a working prototype reactor running on refined sorium. While not very efficient, the total power produced was enormous. The setup could only be run for 0.5 milliseconds, as the containment began to overheat.

2056 January
The technological advances made during the excavations had military applications, starting a new arms race. The first battalions equipped with pieces of advanced technology came into active service, the Chinese introduced new gauss infantry weapons, while a joint European effort resulted in new body armor. The US program only had much improved battery packs to show, and began producing the body armor in license, while the Russian efforts suffered from delays. All of the new equipment deployed originated from modifications of existing equipments, and the European program faced a lot of opposition as the costs had already exploded.

2057 February, 19th
Ross Rice managed to produce a prototype of a survey sensor that was highly attuned to the materials used in the alien installation.

2057 March, 1st
A second excavation team took up their work under Isabelle Leblanc. The team would start on sector three, which had been dubbed the residential section due to the large amount of small apartments.

2058 March, 16th
In another breakthrough the first working reaction less drive has been tested. While smaller laboratory versions had been tested since the discoveries on the moon, this one was the first producing a useful acceleration while reasonable efficiency. This significantly advanced the shuttle project of EADS, the partner in the research program. The new shuttle generation was predicted to lift the load of a cargo airliner, being only little larger, into LEO within a single stage.

2058 June, 2nd
The Galileo Project was launched, as the Prometheus Project had been completely changed due to the finds on the moon. The Galileo was planned as craft powered by the newly possible drives, and explore the Solar system with the new sensors sensitive to Prometheus materials.
Additional funding and industrial capacity were made available for the new project.

2058 November, 11th
The Airbus 700 craft took off for the first space flight. The single-stage-to-orbit shuttle circled the earth once before reentry. The flight was hailed as a milestone, massively reducing the cost of bringing cargo into orbit.

2059 August, 26th
Han Yun Shu’s team successfully tested the Galileo’s designated main propulsive unit. The X12 62EP-25 Drive System built by Siemens performed to spec.

2059 October, 1st
Boeing manages to launch its first SSTO spaceplane. With the vastly increased lift capacity the orbital yard required for the Galileo project can be built, and the rate of construction was scheduled to increase as more crafts became available. Additionally the requirement of a full examination after each flight proved overly cautious, and a proposal to reduce the test frequency was being discussed.

2060 July
The first armored vehicles based on Prometheus compounds enter testing phase. Early experiments with duranium plates bolted on ended with mixed results. The german ‘Serval’ is probably the most advanced design. All the designs have comparatively thin armor, but are still next to invincible to conventional weaponry, so while a 'Serval' was designed as an IFV, it could stand up to direct hits from a main battle tank.  The reverse-engineering of the alien weaponry was much more difficult, and lagged behind, so chemical powered guns are still used.

2060 November, 20th
A giant launch facility has been found on the moon. The structure was designed to shoot mass beyond lunar orbit. From the size and arrangement of the drive field projectors, the field must have reached up more than 100 km, propelling a slug of matter. Quick calculations showed however that it was unsuitable for anything but solid blocks of metal, as fluctuations in the drive field would smash everything more fragile into pieces.

2061 January, 18th
Alfonso Ramos Alvarez, head of UNSRECA during the Prometheus project and the following astonishing discoveries, died in a car crash after visiting Guiana space center. Jana Spranger replaced him as head of the agency.

2061 February, 4th
A sensor array has been found on the moon. It consisted of a network of passive receptors, connected by underground lines. The sensors were in a very bad shape, each showing many micro-meteorite hits.

2061 May, 25th
Construction began on the Galileo in the newly finished orbital yard.
Code: [Select]
Galileo class Geosurvey Ship    2 250 tons     42 Crew     296.125 BP      TCS 45  TH 62  EM 0
1377 km/s     Armour 1-15     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/2     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 82    Max Repair 100 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Spare Berths 1   

Siemens X12 62EP-25 Drive System (1)    Power 62.5    Fuel Use 13.26%    Signature 62.5    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 100 000 Litres    Range 60.3 billion km   (506 days at full power)

Geological Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes

2062 April, 29th
A depot is found containing spare parts for what looks like an energy shield system. While all details are quickly locked away under a top-secret flag, it sparked a round of discussion about warfare in space. Weapon placement in space had been officially banned, but the UN treaties had been based on the assumption of an armament race between Earth based nations. These aliens did seem to have had enemies, and there was now a possibility that humanity would make contact with entities outside the solar system.

2062 June, 12th
More spare parts have been found, this time large, complete workshops. It is suggested that the modules have been intended for salvage operations, and seemed to be designed for operation in zero g.

2062 October 1st
The Galileo was launched. The manned survey ship was far more capable than had once been envisaged for the Prometheus program. The Galileo would be able to freely move across the solar system. Commander Irwing Watters was in command of the ship on her maiden voyage, which lead her to the moon to calibrate her primary sensor array.

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: The Prometheus Project (1) 2052-2062
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2014, 01:27:46 PM »
Good start! I like how you justify the existence of TN-stuff.

Offline Castinar

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Re: The Prometheus Project (1) 2052-2062
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 10:16:19 PM »
Good read so far!  Looking forward to the future!