ORBIT We’re here, orbiting Mars. For the first time in history, humans are circling another planet. As the interface between the ship’s tech and the crew, I had huge responsibilities during the process. Dave and Thomas steered us on target, and vast amounts of data were flowing into the system. I had to organize everything for the Commander and the two Pilots so they weren’t overwhelmed by a wave of meaningless numbers. Of course, we’d covered all this many times in the simulator. If in fact something was still firing rocks at us, they missed. We continued our random course corrections until we were safely behind the misshapen lump of Phobos. It obscured our view of Mars, but better safe than sorry. There’s a lot still to do before we head down to the surface. The lander has to be prepared for the dangerous descent, for one thing. (FYI, none of the children will take that journey, the parents all agreed that they stay on the ship. It really is risky.) Check that. Samantha’s child will go.