A while back, my fellow space rodent Ham Star and I were enjoying some much deserved time off and a meal in our not-so-secret undersea base and thinking about what we should do next with our careers. Sure, we were world class explorers. We'd explored all manner of places on land and beneath the sea, but now what? We could live beneath the waves as we'd done -- hang out with the fishes and all, which was very very interesting indeed -- but the way Benny "Catfish" Barnacle, a big tomcat who lived above the waves, was beginning to stare at us made us think we should get off our tails and move to someplace a little more out of the way.
"We've explored all over the world, maybe we should think about exploring outer space," suggested Ham.
"Not a bad idea," I said, "maybe we can get a job on the International Space Station?"
"I don't know," said Ham, "Flying around in zero gravity might be fun for Captain Perry Keet, but I think I'd like to find a place where down is down and up is up."
"You mean a place with some gravity," I said, "Maybe a planet, like Mars?"
"Yeah!" shouted Ham, "That would be super! Let's talk to the chief and see what she says?"
A few minutes later, we were talking to the chief. General Ginny Apig had a long and distinguished career in the rodent rangers. Bigger, stronger, older, and wiser than most, she listened to our idea carefully before answering, "Yes. Yes. You boys have the right idea all right. We definitely want to expand our operation off of planet Earth, but the general staff and I have a different place in mind for you to start your base. It's OK for some people to go flying off to the far corners of the solar system. Pick up some rocks here and there. Plant a flag or two. But we need to start thinking about making a living out in space, not just visiting. We're thinking of someplace a little closer to home, but with a much bigger job for you two to do."
"You mean the International Space Station?" asked a slightly disappointed Ham.
"No, not at all! We want you to go to the moon!" said Ginny.
"But hasn't that already been done?" I asked.
"Sure, the Apollo Program visited back in the 60s and 70s," said the general excitedly, "but this time we're going back to stay!"
On to the next page.