To the members that have following this story...hang in there...I have a lot of orbital mechanics to calculate in order bring a degree of reality to the story line. Also this chapter, although a long one, will finish up Part 1 of the Early 22nd Century Mars Missions. Then to get ready Part 2, I am researching advanced propulsion technologies and there is some wild-assed physics that need to be layered into the story and explained and then re-explained in layman's terms so that everyone can understand it. (Einstein said if you can't explain it to a 10 year old, then you don't understand it your self!) And of course, as Cassandra evolves, her need to be Mack's total fantasy lover will grow the more she begins to understand both of their complex psychologies.
I have a little bit of writer's block as I am trying to finish up the story. Part of it is that I have been trying to calculate the orbital trajectory from where they are in orbit around Mars when Mars is the opposite of where it is supposed to be when you want to travel efficiently back to Earth. This means that I not only have to calculate the speed to accelerate but also the speed to decelerate, which is different, because when they get to the predicted place where the Earth will be when they arrive, they will still need to have a residual speed of 19,300 MPH to be able to go into a stable orbit around the Earth so that they can eventually get home. The trick is that the distance between Mars and the Earth is different when they start out from Mars to when they actually arrive at the predicted place in Earth's orbit around the Sun. The orbital mechanics for this last maneuver is just a real bitch of a set of calculations.