GALLERY OF SPACE PULP MAGAZINES

Best of Astounding Science Fiction (June 1978 Issue)

ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION JUNE 1978 
1952
COVER

Copyright, 1978 by the Conde Nast Publications, Inc.


DISCUSSION

Such artwork as appears on the cover of THE BEST OF ASTOUNDING poses a challenging accident reconstruction problem. What kind of spacecraft malfunction led to the damaged configuration of the wreckage? Judging from the planet in the upper right of the scene, the site of the collision is either one of Mars' satellites, Phobos or Deimos. There is virtually no horizon on either of these tiny satellites, the largest of which, Phobos, has dimensions of 20X23X28 kilometers. Since the gravity of each is virtually zero, these satellites are more like asteroids than planets. If little gravity exists, the drawing of the two astronauts firmly anchored to the surface is slightly inaccurate. In fact, not much effort would be required to dislodge the wreckage into space such that it, too, would become a satellite of Mars.

Examination of the spacecraft's systems reveals more than five antennas of various configurations: deep space parabolic cones, omnidirectional transmission types, and others. The propulsion system complement of engines is puzzling: three main engines and two clusters of an engine triad mounted at the rear of a delta wing structure on either side of the fuselage. Additionally, a pair of tube-like jet engines appear on either side of the craft's cockpit. The wing structure indicates the vehicle was aerodynamic, able to operate in planetary atmospheres. Since no control surfaces or reaction control thrusters are indicated, orientation control would have been impossible. (Perhaps, that was the cause of the accident?) .


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Last modified: Wednesday, 16-Nov-99 11:00:00 CDT


Author: Jerry Woodfill / NASA, Mail Code ER7

Curator: Jerry Woodfill, NASA JSC ER7

Responsible Official: Charles Gott, NASA JSC ER7


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