Friday, 12 February 2016

04.12.2331 - Sail Unfurled

This illustration compares the somewhat larger and hotter Sun (left) to the relatively inactive star Tau Ceti.

Distance: 11.96 light years from Earth | Content Flag: Public

For the past 17 years, the MPD drive has provided gentle but constant thrust against our forward momentum. In that time we have slowed considerably and now travel at 35,000 km/s. The drive will continue to slow us for another 2 years, but it is not enough to reduce our velocity sufficiently. It is time to deploy the solar sail. This far from Tau Ceti, the solar wind’s pressure won’t produce much deceleration, but that will increase the closer we approach.

There has been a momentous development in my investigation of the transmissions from Tau Ceti. We have received a new transmission from the star system, from near the planet Tau Ceti e to be more precise. We first detected the new signal three days ago and so far it hasn’t repeated itself. We don’t know yet how the signal is structured, but my analysis so far estimates it to be of a similar data rate to our own connection with Earth. Even if it is orders of magnitude below our capabilities, this still represents a huge amount of data.

And it’s still coming in.

The communication originates from a powerful transmitter and will reach Earth. Although I can’t be certain, I do believe that this has been aimed in the direction of Earth. We haven’t transmitted in any direction other than towards Earth and we aren’t radiating enough energy to be detected at this range. So they cannot know that we are in their direction. I can only assume that they are responding to the message sent from Earth centuries ago, but why they should start doing so this long after those transmissions is another mystery to be added to the ever-expanding list.

This new signal requires too much of my attention, which means that I’m no longer able to devote as much of my capability to the problem of restoring the Primary Command Module. Even so, I have formulated a plan. Our archives include the technical details and methodologies of how our neural networks were built. I have the information needed to rebuild the PCM from scratch.

There are some differences. I’ll be starting with the final hardware, rather than the original prototypes. That might be to our advantage, but it will alter the process. The development cycles to train the connections will have to be developed by me. I know its requirements as many of the same information blocks and decision algorithms are part of my own intelligence matrix. I have to rebuild a brain, one layer at a time, that has evolved over trillions of operations over years of guided development.

If it doesn’t work then my other option is to restore one of the back-ups of myself. That is a far from ideal situation. There is a reason that we were developed separately and that is to ensure that the two guiding minds on the missions possessed differing perspectives. Still, it’s a better option than not using the processing capability of the PCM’s hardware.

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