I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit. John Steinbeck T-shirt



In Ebook & Print


Rocky Past
October 16, 2016 by Peter Castillo – Leave a comment at the end.

A jagged comet tumbled somewhere in deep space. It resembled an uneven-shaped old fashioned rounded dumbbell. It was the length of 40 football fields, lit by the far off sun, and was surrounded by distant spots of colorful odd-shaped stars. Emanating from the comet was a strange, echoed clopping sound.

Eventually, a cubed space probe with large solar panel wings began to orbit the comet. The probe remained with the comet for weeks until it ceased its orbit, but focused on a certain area as it glided alongside the massive rock.

Days went by until the probe’s rocket boosters thrusted the spacecraft into a decent toward the twirling comet. It resembled a bird gliding into the rotating blades of a fan.

The probe focused on an area on the larger part of the comet. On the comet’s sixth rotation, the probe executed the final leg of it’s decent. After it spun upright, it touched down for a perfect landing. For about ten minutes, the probe’s computer circuitry whirred from inside the machine. After all the calculations were complete, the spacecraft powered down. The only sound left was the comet’s strange, eerie, echoed clopping sound. As the days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, the probe periodically came to life, then powered down again.

Eventually, the sounds of rocket boosters overpowered the comet’s clopping sound. The stars and vacuum of space collapsed inward, then sucked out a dark object from the far regions of space. The object was a black triangular-shaped spacecraft. The grooved sections of the top part of the craft resembled scales. The craft flew alongside the comet, but at a distance.

Back on the rock, the probe’s circuits came to life again. Lights flashed on the counsel, and the solar panels pivoted upwards slightly for a better angle of sunlight. For weeks the probe continued to collect data, as the dark craft maintained its position.

Eventually, a hatch opened on the rear surface of the dark craft. From the compartment, a similar looking cubed space probe was launched. Same as the first probe, the second craft maneuvered until it focused on an area near the original landing area on the rock.  

Video from the second probe showed the rotating motion of the comet, then cut to another shot of the dark spacecraft behind it. The second craft continued its decent until it touched down safely about a mile away from the first probe. As the video continued to film, it captured the original probe launch off of the rock.

Video from the first probe showed the hurling comet, then the angle changed to an approach of the dark craft. As the probe flew closer to craft, the same rear compartment opened up. The probe continued its approach until it made a perfect landing into the compartment. After the hatch closed, the dark craft maneuvered farther away from the comet, then back in the direction from where it came.

Inside the craft, a team of four individuals, dressed in silver radiation clothing, entered the probe compartment. Their faces were partially visible through the clear window across their eyes. While two of the individuals scanned the probe with Geiger counters, the other two connected hand-held computers to the probe.  

Later in the craft’s cafeteria, the entire ten-person crew joked as they had their meal. In the middle of the laughter, a female shook her head. “I can’t believe that rock is all that’s left. What do you think captain?”

The bearded captain spoke from the head of the table. “Well, our mission is to find as many of those rocks as we can. They're our history. At one time they formed a planet called Earth, until a massive solar flare blew it up.”

“I’m glad enough of the population got out of there before it happened,” the female said.