Cody snickered. "Hey Fawn, want to go see the one named Dog Turd?"
Dee laughed. "It's actually the best one. We fixed it up."
Spence nodded. "Too bad it's not bigger. It was one of the inflated asteroids . . . You didn’t hear about that?”
Gerald wasn’t the only one who shook his head.
Cody grinned. “Are you talking about when they almost-melted asteroids, then set off explosions inside to try and make habitats?”
Spence nodded. “A hundred and twenty years ago. Pretty much of a failure. The temperature range between hot enough to be pliable but not melted is small, and varies with the amount of nickel in the iron, and isn’t consistent all through the whole asteroid, plus unseen structural weaknesses and of course a high irregular shape guaranteed non-predictable results. Not very usable. I sealed off some holes, installed airlocks and so forth. So I’ve got a habitat.”
Dee rolled her eyes. “He turned it into a big terrarium. Plants and birds and stuff. There are pumps for the pond at the far end where it’s nearly 1g, up to where it’s about a tenth g. Low gravity waterfalls are cool.”
Spence flushed. “I might have gotten carried away.”
“I guess I knew the old US was out here that long ago, I just didn’t realize they did much.” Sarah looked at the plotted points. “How many asteroids did they inflate?”
“I think I read that they did twenty . . . four? Before they damaged the parabolic mirrors they used to heat the asteroids. They did a lot of different thimgs, pretty well developed all the mining techniques we still use.” Spence turned back to the lessons.
“So, Cody, show me how you'd get from here to Zero, and how much fuel you'd need to have left to brake and match velocity at the end."
Cody started bringing up the info for input. "You know, you can get computers that will do all of this for you."
"I know. In fact I have one. But if it breaks, no big deal." He tip-toed in the micro gravity over to the bulk head and returned with a book. "And if everything breaks, I can use these references and this thing called a sliderule to calculate it. Then I can manually open and close valves to run each engines just as long as I need."
Dee nodded. "He made me do it. Twice. He just sat there looking insufferably smug while I had to do it all myself. It was a real pain."
"I'm good at insufferably smug."