Dead on Mars

Chapter 18 - Sol Three, A Cremation Awaits a Moment’s Joy of Ripping Wires

Chapter 18: Sol Three, A Cremation Awaits a Moment’s Joy of Ripping Wires

Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon

Tomcat slowly climbed down the ladder and looked up to inspect the entire lander.

Looking upwards at a close distance, the Eagle looked like a white tower with smooth-flowing lines that stood above a desert. Mars did have an atmosphere; therefore, the engineers had added fairing when designing the lander. It wasn’t naked like the Apollo’s.

The sunlight on Mars practically added no warmth, but it made the twelve-meter-tall vessel appear milky-white. In fact, the Eagle’s back was covered in organic silicon and PEEK composite materials. Such materials were translucent at close distance.

“Tomcat, how’s it on your side?” Tang Yue asked. “I’ve just finished understanding what VLBI (Very-long-baseline interferometry) in same beam interferometry means.”

“I’m checking the Descent Vehicle,” Tomcat answered. The sunlight had cast a huge shadow of the lander onto it.

“I still have more than ten thousand articles that require checking.” Tang Yue shook his head. “I really doubt I can finish all of this within two sols.”

“That number is just staggering at first glance. In fact, more than half of the content on the manual is garbage. That’s how engineers work. Every tiny point needs an entire article to explain it. Then, it will provide a footnote explaining why this point needs to be explained,” Tomcat said. “If you are sufficiently confident in this lander, don’t run any checks.”


Tomcat nodded. “This vessel has already been checked on Earth anyway. As long as you believe in this vessel’s meeting of the most stringent quality checks; in the designers on Earth, their abilities and moral character, the technological skills of Boeing, Lockheed, and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, believing that they wouldn’t f*ck you up, go ahead.”

“I’d rather believe in God.”

Tang Yue shook his head and continued with his work.

Tomcat went down to the bottom of the lander.

At the bottom of the Eagle was the Descent Vehicle. It included a one-stage retro-rocket and four thick legs. The Eagle’s retro-rockets were two Raptor 3D oxygen-methane rocket engines installed in parallel. Each engine had two combustion chambers and two nozzles. The two rocket engines combined to form four nozzles and, when activated, could produce a powerful thrust of 150 tonnes.

When the Eagle landed vertically, it relied on the Descent Vehicle’s rockets to reduce its speed. The other four stabilizers were responsible for keeping the vessel stable. When it was fifty meters high, the lander would release its legs before landing safely.

Tomcat stood under the lander and looked up at the gigantic nozzles of the Raptor engines.

The nozzles were embedded, and huge enough for an adult to crawl in. The Eagle’s bottom had clear burn signs. The outer shell around the nozzle had been charred black, thanks to the temperature of the gases spewed out of the retro-rocket which exceeded 2000°C. This was a rather terrifying number. The human race didn’t have that many materials that could withstand such high temperatures. Therefore, the area around the engine’s nozzles was plated with temperature-resistant zirconium carbide ceramics.

Tomcat carefully inspected the nozzles of the engine. The engine’s expansion-deflection nozzle was, in fact, a very complicated structure. It wasn’t what most people would imagine—a simple conic funnel. Instead, the entire nozzle was made up of wrapped tubes. When the engine was started, these tubes would pump out liquid oxygen and lower the temperature.

Tomcat took out a wrench from the tool bag by its chest.

It opened the outer shell of the lander, revealing the engine’s main circuitry and wires.

In order to make it convenient for inspection and repairs, the designers had left an inspection window on the Eagle’s fairing. After opening the lid, one could directly see the interior. Tomcat held a volometer in one paw while holding the wrench in the other. It tapped the wrench here and there as it looked around.

“This is the Turbo Pump… the combustion chamber…”

Tomcat muttered to itself as it reached out towards the messy wiring. Raptor 3D rockets were created by the Americans, a product of SpaceX. However, for some reason, the wiring was in the style of the Russians.

The Russians had a penchant for chaotic aesthetics. They were good at using their tremendous ability to integrate several basic building blocks, that didn’t meet standards, to produce a potent whole. This was evident in their creation of the MiG-25 with nickel-steel alloys.

Stainless steel is a nickel-steel alloy. To use stainless steel to build a plane, perhaps only the Russians were capable of doing that.

“… This is the capsule tank. This is the combustion generator… That’s not right. The combustion generator is over here…”

Tomcat compared the engine before it with the design plans in its brain, but clearly, the design plans were seller-produced showcases—clean and tidy—looking like a futuristic technological product. As for the thing before Tomcat, it was what the buyer received. It was like an antique that had transmigrated from the previous century.

The dense array of wiring was confusing, so confusing that Tomcat wished to put its head in.

“This is the flow-regulating valve… What’s that? The electrohydraulic servo valve? No… The electrohydraulic servo valve is here. That’s the injector…”

Tomcat patiently used a long rod to move apart the wiring as it opened its eyes wide.

“This pipe transports liquid oxygen…

“Eh? That’s not right. What’s this wire for?

“This is the oxidant pump.

“Eh… Eh? Why is this screw screwed in an opposite manner? Was the installer a left-hander?

“Why are there two wires here?

“Where does this wire lead? That’s not right… Shouldn’t it head for the throttle washer? Why is it wired to the heat exchanger before reaching here? Bro, did you get wired wrongly?

“There must be a problem. By doing so, the turbine will definitely overheat. It’s a miracle that the rocket didn’t explode.”

Tomcat began to sweat… if he could.


“Eh, eh?

“Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh?

“Wait, this isn’t right. It doesn’t adhere to the designs… Wait. Why are there words above the box? What’s written… Eh. Irina… your ass is so sexy… F*ck, who wrote this?”

Tomcat began feeling infuriated.

“This isn’t right.

“This isn’t right either.

“This still isn’t right. That’s not right. Nothing is right!

“Hooooooly sh*t! This rocket must have been f*cking bought on Pinduoduo 1 !”

Tomcat’s anger burned as it threw up the plans. It began to pull out the wiring that was eating at its obsessive-compulsive disorder. With a ripping sound, it tore off everything.

Immediately, everything felt much more clean and refreshing.

Much more clean and refreshing.

Clean and refreshing.


How refreshing.

“What happened?” Tang Yue asked. “Did something happen on your side, Tomcat?”

Tomcat fell silent for a few seconds.


“What’s wrong, Tomcat? Is there a problem?” Tang Yue asked.

“Problem… not really. Continue on with your work. Ignore me. Everything is fine over here.”

Tomcat looked up into the air and whistled, pretending as though nothing had happened. Silently, it hid the huge bunch of wires in its paws behind it.

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