When we last heard about Professor Aardvark (PA), he was being sent to the International Space Station with student assistance due to his prior devious undertakings. His daughter, Arianna Aardvark (AA), lovingly tried to rescue her father. Nearly succeeding, PA was safely secured in the special secret area of the ISS.
PA and AA were allowed to communicate daily, with PA encouraging AA to continue her studies. They even collaborated to hold a series of “virtual sailing competitions” which her like-minded student peers engaged in. Such fun, and certainly better than tampering with NASA spacecraft!
Given a second chance, the brilliant PA has been helping scientists around the world with global climate change. What better platform to study the entire world than from the ISS? (You might recall that PA’s Brevard County plans to turn residents into small fury critters using his “hyper-mutation bomb” in an effort to balance the local habitat were thwarted by students back in 2015.)
One of PA’s recent discoveries looked outward, not inward, for he discovered a clump of several distant asteroids with peculiar mineral signatures. NASA and the space community were intrigued by the discovery. The asteroids were peculiar in other ways too—they appeared to be changing their orbits! Was this a natural phenomenon or something too incredible to consider?
Wanting to know more about the asteroids, and without raising alarms about “aliens” and “asteroid impacts”, several nations and corporations secretly planned an excursion to study them.
Several new spaceships, each to be sent to explore a different asteroid in the group, and incorporating PA’s ground-breaking designs, were rapidly completed and sent into orbit to rendezvous with the ISS. AA didn’t sit idle, for she too contributed to her father’s designs and organized students across the country to help with the mission planning and ground control systems, all the while believing they were participating in a simple Design Challenge. (This was all hush-hush after all.)
So, who was going to command and pilot all the new spaceships? There was only one choice. As the propulsion and navigation systems designed by the father-daughter team were so advanced, it was decided that PA and AA would be reunited aboard the ISS to fly the primary exploration spaceship, named after Arianna’s mother, to the asteroids and determine what was going on.
Only when all spaceships were in orbit were the student ground controllers told of the importance of their efforts. Teams would control the flight path of individual robotic drone ships, making adjustments as needed. Meanwhile, PA and AA would oversee the fleet out to the asteroid group.
To better study the asteroids, PA instructs student-piloted drone ships to surround his ship in multiple formations. The formations allow for Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) using optical and radio telescopes aboard each drone ship to make observations of each asteroid, collecting vital information as the fleet of spaceships nears.
Each drone ship uses the new Aardvark Advanced Reaction Drive with Variable Accelerated Radial Kinematics (AARDVARK).
Even with the new AARDVARK engines, flight time to the asteroids will take time and many observations can be accomplished.
We're counting on you to help PA and AA make these observations by flying your drone ship to complete several formations. With your help, we should be able to discover whether these strange asteroids are just more rocks in space, or something...more.