Fourth-grader really ‘fuels his imagination’
Aspen Elementary School fourth-grader Troy Fantini has won a national writing competition sponsored by NASA.
Troy’s story, “The Journey to Tronozard,” was the national winner in the “Mission: Fuel Your Imagination!” writing contest. He wins a trip to a NASA space camp this summer, and his story will be published on the NASA Exploring Space Challenges website.
Fifteen students at Aspen Elementary participated in the competition, and two stories were sent on to NASA after student and adult review. The challenge was to write a fictional story incorporating three science, technology, engineering or mathematics concepts that encompass NASA’s vision for space exploration.
Here is Troy’s story, “The Journey to Tronozard.”
By Troy Fantini
“Ahhhhh! Annoss quick! Get into the ship and fire up the engines!”
“But we haven’t finished loading the fuel, yet. What’s the rush?” asked Annoss.
“Hesnosian security forces are about to attack!”
“Good idea! Let’s get out of here!”
My best friend Annoss and I narrowly escaped before the Hesnosians attacked ” they really don’t like humans very much ” and we continued on our mission to find a planet for the inhabitants of Earth. Because of disturbances in the inner core, Earth’s magnetic field began to weaken several years ago, exposing the planet to solar winds that have caused high levels of radiation and electrical failures. No one can survive there much longer, and they’re relying on us to find a new home for those who do survive. When we left, the human population was moving to the underground cities that had been built for their protection, hoping that Annoss and I would return with some good news before too long.
The year is 3987 and our space travel capabilities have improved to the point where we can find and travel through holes in space, known as worm holes. These worm holes allow us to take short cuts through the universe, transporting us to distant galaxies in what seems like minutes. Annoss and I are heading to the planet Tronozard which we believe has an atmosphere very similar to Earth. Unfortunately, we are running out of fuel.
As we were speeding away from Earth, we suddenly encountered a meteor shower which we were unable to avoid. It damaged our aerodynamics and created a fuel leak. Unfortunately, we had to land on Hesno at the edge of the Andromeda galaxy some 2.5 million light years from Earth. Hesnosians have long held a hatred for humans; something to do with an early encounter several hundred years ago. We pulled into a fuel center where we hoped to quickly purchase some frozen hydrogen particles for our atomic propulsion engines and get out of there. We didn’t want to stay around too long. Luckily we were able to pay with universal currency and managed to load about half the fuel we needed before the Hesnosian security forces noticed that we were from Earth and began their chase. We had a very narrow escape with all those lasers shooting at us, but Annoss did a great job of avoiding them as we sped away.
Since we didn’t get all the fuel we needed on Hesno, we had to get to another planet quickly, and I knew just the place: the planet X-ron. Unlike the Hesnosians, the X-ronians were very happy to see us. They had not seen any human visitors since 2548 when humans arrived on their first mission outside of the Milky Way galaxy. They gave us a lot of fuel and helped us repair our ship so that we could continue on our journey.
Soon after leaving X-ron, a worm hole appeared about 92 million miles away. Unfortunately we went too close to the X-ronian sun. I thought it would be easy to get away from the gravitational pull, but then we noticed our boosters were only operating at half strength, so we didn’t have enough power to escape from their sun. It looked like we were going to be drawn into the flaming orb of hydrogen gas, so we had to use extra fuel to get away and dove into the worm hole to break free. We weren’t sure if it was the right one, but we had to take it.
Within seconds we found ourselves in the Whirlpool galaxy ” just where we needed to get to. Tronozard was only 2 million miles away. However, we had a problem. Since we used so much of our fuel escaping X-ron’s sun, we didn’t know if we were going to make it to Tronozard or not! With no possibility of refueling, we decided to use the sling shot effect.
We headed towards a nearby planet, entered its gravitational field, rode it to the release point, and blasted towards Tronozard. A perfect execution of gravitational assist. We now had even more speed than we did before the assist and saved fuel at the same time.
In minutes, we landed safely on Tronozard and got out of the ship. This planet was just like Earth, but it was an untouched paradise. There were waterfalls, vineyards, fruit trees, grass up to our knees, towering mountains, and the most beautiful sun rising behind them. It was just like Earth before mankind evolved to destroy it.
“Ahhhh! Lion!!” Annoss and I screamed.
“Don’t be afraid. You are welcome here on Tronozard. I am Trono, the ruler of this planet,” the lion boomed in a deep voice.
“Well we are…”
“Humans, I know.”
“And our names our Krekno and Annoss. We are on a mission to … “
“Find another planet like Earth to bring your people to. We know all about your misfortune and your desire to find a new home. However, we are very concerned about what you humans have done to destroy your home. We are compassionate creatures here on Tronozard and have decided to allow you to settle with us ” on one condition: that you live under our rules and under my authority,” said Trono. “Humans will not be allowed to destroy this planet.”
Annoss and I looked at each other and wondered what to say. We had just spoken to a talking lion who was more intelligent than any human we had ever met, and he had offered us a great deal that would save the human population of Earth. But would those same humans be able to live under the rule of animals? That’s the question we took back home with us when we departed Tronozard with the message from Trono. Annoss and I wondered how our people would respond when we tell them, “We can live there, but the animals will have the power on their planet.”
The choice was clear. Either live underground on Earth and try to rebuild the civilization that was destroying it, or move to the natural paradise of Tronozard and live under the rule of the animals.
What would you do?
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Aspen School District’s younger students will return to class next week, but that’s not the case for those in the seventh through 12th grade, who will continue to take courses from home.