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Lunacy: Blood Fued

10/26/12

  10:33:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 593 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Blood Fued

Both men stared at each other, and when the needle pierced his flesh, Martin tried not to give Paul the satisfaction of wincing. ?Ground asked me to talk to the two of you,? Martin said, looking stern.

?The two of us?? Clod asked innocently.

?And Levy.?

?Fuuuuck,? she said, as Paul pushed a small square bandage over the puncture in his arm, removing the vial of blood.

?Exactly. They want you to tone down the swears- and stop flipping off the cameras. We know we don't broadcast live, but still, it gives the editors conniptions when they have to edit around things like that.?

?We'll try, boss,? Clod said, saluting him with her middle finger.

As soon as she'd put the finger away, Paul began speaking into the camera above the bed. ?Human blood is 80% water, and water is weakly magnetic. If you've ever overfilled a cup, or spilled water, you'll notice it doesn't completely flatten out. That's because water molecules organize themselves into sheets, forming a barrier that prevents further spread. Blood does this, too, and because it isn't competing with the same amount of gravity, a wound is easier to close in space.? Paul removed the bandage, and moved his hands away, so one of the cameras mounted on the wall could see that the bleeding had already stopped. ?Thanks, Martin.?   

Paul walked across the room, where the petri dishes, an incubator and a microscope occupied a bench. ?A lot of the experiments we're doing involve humans in microgravity. They're performing similar tests on the Moon, but the gravity is different. It's possible 1/6 gravity isn't enough, but what we have is just right.?

?Or it's possible there's no difference whatsoever, and anything this far away from a full g is bad for us,? Clod added.

?Exactly. So we're keeping an eye out on all of our bodily functions. This will be the longest mission in human history. Valeri Polyakov spent 438 days, roughly half the length of our mission, on Mir, in a mostly 0 gravity environment without major medical issues. Unless Polyakov is an outlier, we can expect good health at least until we reach Mars.?  

?But aside from wanting to know how the human body reacts in this different environment, we also want to know how other animals react. Specifically, we have a series of representative microorganisms we're growing. We have viruses, bacteria, single-celled fungi, plankton, planaria, protists, and I'm missing one,? Paul said, snapping his finger.

?Archaea,? Clod helped him.

?Thank you. We monitor their resource usage and growth rates, and periodically check their genetic material. We want to see if less gravity leads to more rapid genetic mutation.?

?Ahem,? Clod said.

?Right. We received some letters of concern, and to clarify, we don't use harmful strains of the microorganisms we're testing because while we're extremely cautious about our containment protocols, we have limited medical equipment and supplies on the ship- so we wouldn't want to blow through our antibiotics dealing with an infection we caused.?

?This is only a handful of the science that's being explored on the Perseus. I hope you've enjoyed your time on the ship with us.?

?You done?? Clod asked after a few moments of silence.

?Think so, why??

?Because I have a reverse wedgie, but I didn't want to excavate it out and ruin another precious shot- especially when you were on such a roll.?

?I'm done,? Paul said, turning towards the microscopes with the vial of Martin's blood, ?by all means, fish it out.?

Clod adjusted her pants. ?God, that's heaven,? she said.

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