The Songs of Distant Earth Author:Arthur C. Clarke The lifting of the last snowflake should have been a joyful occasion; now it was merely one of somber satisfaction. Thirty thousand kilometers above Thalassa, the final hexagon of ice was jockeyed into position, and the shield was complete. — The Quantum Drive was activated, and Magellan broke away from it's orbit, accelerating to test the balanc... more »e and the integrity of the artificial iceberg it was to carry out to the stars.
The day had begun with a video retrospective, showing the lifting of the first snowflake. Then there had been a fascinating speeded-up space ballet, showing the great blocks of ice being maneuvered into place and keyed into the steadily growing shield.
Then the view had switched to a live camera, hovering in space a kilometer ahead of Magellan as it orbited in the shadow of the planet. The huge, greenish-white disk gleamed coldly beneath the floodlights; soon, it would be far colder, as it moved out into the few-degrees-above-absolute zero of the galactic night.
"People of Thalassa," Ambassador Kaldor said, "we thank you for your gift. Behind this shield of ice, we hope to travel safely to the world that is waiting for us, seventy-five light-years away, three hundred years hence...« less