COMING SOON: The Other Things – Jonathan Dransfield

LAUNCH DATE 7th FEBRUARY

An extraordinary story of how six children became the first astronauts to go to Mars.

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With the discovery of a fossil on Mars and the threat of an asteroid heading for Earth, a frustrated American President is forced to reconsider his legacy. He decides to do something big for humanity, and orders the first manned mission to Mars.

Surmounting seemingly impossible hurdles, the maverick scientist Ford Harris discovers how to make it happen. There is one crucial problem: the weight of any ordinary crew would be too great for the rocket to return home. And so Ford proposes a bold new idea – replacing the adult crew with a group of gifted children.

An exciting and fascinating story, featuring beautiful illustrations by the author and informative scientific notes, The Other Things explores our sense of wonder. Are we alone in the universe? How do we make our existence count? And what could still be possible for humankind?

The Other Things – Mars: Illustration from the book

 

About the Author

Jonathan Dransfield was a child when man went to the moon. There was an expectation that the next would be Mars.

He felt that the current crazy schemes, like sending people on a one way trip, was not the way to go and as an architect he is used to solving problems.

The key issue is weight. The biggest problem of a manned mission is getting the crew back off the planet.

Dransfield and his partner Kath have nine children between them and know they can be smart, especially with modern technology, so why not send kids?

Dransfield has created an illustrated book ‘The Other Things’ – a study on how to go to Mars and get some peace and quiet.

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Excerpt

Luther leaned back for a few moments. He could lose himself gazing at the presidential seal on the ceiling, and in difficult times he had. Luther settled his mind before hitting the buzzer. This was the most important meeting he’d probably ever have.

A portion of wall opened slowly. Ushered in through one of the servants’ doors, Ford blinked, then, spotting the president riffling through a drawer, he hovered.

Luther Garvey got up and swiftly approached. He took Ford’s right hand in both of his. ‘Thank you!’ he said, smiling. ‘Can you hear me now?’

Ford cupped his hand to his ear. ‘Loud and clear, sir!’

Into his hand Luther had slipped an object. Ford stared down at the charred, heavy pebble. The president stepped back a pace. ‘Call me Luther. Yes! That’s a bit of the asteroid.’ Looking at the main door, he added, ‘They suggested a medal for your enterprise, your organisation, your calculations… but I think this is more appropriate. In any case, I have another reward.’

The president continued, ‘We should have a drink, but I hear you’re flying. I half-expected you to arrive in one of your famous campers. Coffee, then?’

Luther gestured to the stiff gold sofas and they both sat, facing each other. ‘Sir…’ began Ford.

The president corrected him, ‘Luther!’

‘Erm, erm… Luther, thank you, but it wasn’t just me, it was the team and we didn’t change anything, we just tracked it.’

‘You got it right and you kept a lid on it when needed. Believe you me, I am not one for secrecy, but I’ve been here long enough to know some things need to be classified. Folks were not going to react like “the young lady in the green hat”, and imagine the chaos on the stock exchanges if we weren’t sure it would miss us!’

‘There’s been enough physical damage without all that. I suppose it just gave us time to plan for it,’ mused Ford.

They talked about the effects of the asteroid: how the blast broke every window in Iceland, the tsunamis, the noise that – like Krakatoa – echoed round the world like a bell, how they had been able to plan and agree with other governments the best time to release information, how Ford’s team had been central to this, their increasing certainty that all would be OK after all. It had helped Luther’s leadership worldwide. For once, politics had had to take a back seat and everyone co-operated. The last three months had brought a change in Luther. They had given a new focus to his presidency. It had also given him time to reflect, and he had decided to do something big.

They paused and sipped coffee.

‘We’re from the same generation. When I was a child, it was tough, but the future held a vision. We really thought we would be living Kennedy’s dream: the moon, new frontiers and progress. Though I never dreamed I’d be in the White House.’ In his famous deeper voice he added, ‘It’s time to rekindle our faith in the future.’

Ford understood. ‘Well, yes, sir… Luther. Even as a little kid it felt like a brave new world. It became my life. But in reality, it’s just been more The Simpsons than The Jetsons.’

‘Well, Ford, I have three years left in this office to do something significant. I remember sitting with my dad as we landed on the moon. We felt there were no bounds out there, only here on the Earth. Do you remember Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon? Well, it feels like a job unfinished. When he said to do “the other things”, I thought we would be going to the planets. We must not forget our dreams!’

Luther reached for an envelope and handed it to Ford. ‘What do they look like?’

Ford opened it and studied the photos it contained.

‘They are classified,’ Luther told him. ‘They have been taken by one of the Mars rovers.’

Ford scratched his head. ‘Wow, they look like fossils! They’re amazing! If only we could bring them back and study them.’

Luther patted him on the arm. ‘Well, that’s why you’re here. I’m sick of dealing with naysayers. I need someone with an open mind to help me. I want to do something big, that will change our perceptions!’ Luther was staring at Kennedy’s portrait. ‘We do these things because it is hard. I want us to be brave again and go to Mars – this time a manned mission.’

Escape from Earth: Illustration from The Other Things

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