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Magical Astronomy/Story

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< Retrospective 53 minutes   Magical Astronomy   Trojan Green Asteroid >


Eternal romance, a space wheelchair.
...What's the greatest common problem between private Moon tours and physics?


#01 月面ツアーへようこそ Welcome to the Moon Tour
"Welcome to Lunatic City."
"Fulfulling one of mankind's dreams, voyages to the Moon are finally possible for everyone!"
"Tours from each of Japan's travel agencies will begin next month."


The sound of heavy footsteps from people coming and going to the railroad station pounded in the air, along with newspaper extras flying in all directions.


While most only had interest in the sports section, this time, the unusually good news the extras held within caused people to hold onto them for keeping in their bags. Some said that they were interested in the articles, but there were more than a few who were captivated by the pictures.


Pictures of the universe soothe the soul. The reason being that they force you to realize mankind's triviality. For all the hardships we face, the feeling we get when we compare them to the sheer vastness of space comforts us. With a universe this immense, one's own efforts are not very important. Bosses and politicians and fallen dictators are all insignificant humans. One should work to their own satisfaction. This feeling can be sensed from just looking at pictures of the universe.

宇佐見蓮子とマエリベリー・ハーン (メリー) の二人は、大学構内のカフェテラスで興奮した様子で会話をしていた。

Renko Usami and Maribel Hearn (Merry) are excitedly chatting at a sidewalk café on their university's campus.


#02 天空のグリニッジ Greenwich in the Sky
"Royal Greenwich Observatory"
"They say that they're also sending off another manned Martian probe now."
"Really? But that doesn't matter right now. What I want to talk about are the 'Moon Tours' all the newspapers mentioned."
"Yes, for someone who can tell the time and the place by just looking at the stars and the Moon, you'd like to know how the Moon's surface looks up close, am I right?"
"I'd know that 'I am on the Moon,' wouldn't I?"
"What about the time?"
「私の目はJST (日本標準時) しか見られないのよ。UTC (協定世界時)は能力外。
"All I know is Japanese Standard Time (JST). Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) is beyond my abilities.
It'd be strange if the Earth and the Moon used the same time, anyway."
「ちょっとちょっと、能力外って...... ただの引き算じゃないの?」
"Wait, wait. 'Beyond your abilities?' It's just a matter of subtraction, isn't it?"


They use UTC in space at the moment, but it's basically the same as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
The Royal Greenwich Observatory was constructed in the 17th century. When you think about a time system designed to observe the universe to be used in that universe, it's somewhat funny.


#03 東の国の眠らない夜 Sleepless Night in the Eastern Country
"Vampirish Nightlife"
「で、いつ行くの? 月面旅行」
"So, when are we going on this Moon Tour?"
"You're awfully hasty, Merry.
Well, but I would like to get the reservations made soon as well, since I'm sure it will be crowded."
"It will probably be extremely crowded during summer vacation and such. Since that seems a bit warm, how about delaying it until fall?"
"I don't think the Moon gets too hot, but I agree.
Fall's nice; it feels Japanese.
In that case, let's go during the Harvest Moon."
"And we'll bring dumplings!
That's the ticket! Let's do it!"


Even with all the knowledge we have about it, we feel nothing for the universe but eternal romance.
Concerning one of these romances, if we were able to go and stand on our captivating Moon, I'd think that everyone would be itching to go.


However, these two haven't yet found out about the expenses such a tour would incur.


#04 車椅子の未来宇宙 The Wheelchair's Future in Space
"History of Time"
"But a manned Martian probe has yet to be carried out with any success.
I wonder if we can witness the universe imagined by Hawking."
"In the end, the problem is that there haven't been physicists that have surpassed Hawking."
"Oh, but what about you, Renko? You just need to work hard at it.
You do have a rare ability."
"I'm in a different field, but maybe I am as smart as Planck. Plus, I don't think it's practically possible to observe the dissipation of a black hole.
I don't even think that mankind will make it to Mars."
"Oh, how pessimistic. But if that's what you think, I'll believe you."
"The amount of energy needed in order to observe it is enormous.
In fact, practical, much less theoretical, observational physics is coming to an end.
And while I'm thinking about it, the Moon Tour is too expensive."


Physics is coming to an end. Our world was already rapidly progressing into an age of explanations and philosophy.

Demystify Feast

#05 Demystify Feast Demystify Feast
"Beyond a Veil of Mystery"
"Yes, even though it's on campus, this café is rather trendy and the food is nice, too.
So, why is physics coming to an end, Renko?"
"To be brief, the cost of observation is too expensive."
"The same reason why we can't go on a Moon Tour, right?"
「小さい物体を分離させるのに掛かるエネルギーは、小さければ小さいほど大きいの。分子より原子、原子より核子、核子よりクオーク......。こうしてどんどんと小さくしていくと、無尽蔵にエネルギーが必要になっていくでしょ? すると究極まで行き着くと、宇宙最大のエネルギーを使っても分離できない小さい物体に当たってしまう。この物体がこの世界の最小構成物質だって言えるじゃない。
"The energy needed for separating small objects becomes greater as the objects become smaller. From molecule to atom to nucleon to quark... If these became any smaller, we would need an inexhaustible amount of energy to split them, right? And then when we finally get to the point where we find an object that cannot be separated even if we used all of energy in the universe, we can say this object is the smallest substance in the world.
Physics is moving on into the next phase because it has already reached the smallest world. We can not longer observe anymore, so this is now mostly the realm of philosophy."
"Ah, this new cake looks delicious!
Its smallest units would be artificial egg and artificial strawberry, right?"


The amount of energy is said to be limited to 1019 GeV. If an amount of energy exceeded this quantity, it couldn't exist in the space-time. Incidentally, this 1019 GeV is called Planck energy, which is about as 1021 times as great as the energy created by nuclear power.


#06 衛星カフェテラス Satellite Café Terrace
"Satellite Cafe"
"Geez, I keep forgetting not to discuss physics with you, Renko.
It always turns into a one-sided conversation."
"Yeah, yeah, my bad. It's just my specialty.
But this cake is pretty good."
"I wish we could go to the Moon......
But naturally, it costs a fortune."
「そう言えば、宇宙旅行客用に人工衛星にカフェが出来たらしいわよ? 何でも無重力で淹れた珈琲は格別だとか」
"That reminds me. Did you know they opened a café in a satellite for the space travelers? They say coffee brewed in zero gravity is phenomenal."
"But it has to be an indoor café, doesn't it?
I prefer outdoor ones, like terraces."


When coffee is exposed to a vacuum even for a moment, it boils instantly because of the low pressure, but then the water freezes as soon as the heat dissipates.
This boiled yet frozen coffee, Satellite Iced Coffee, is the main attraction on the menu.

G Free

#07 G Free G Free
"Zero Gravity"
"Now that you mention it, doesn't coffee need gravity to brew?
The drops won't fall without it.
How do they make coffee under zero gravity?"
"That's why they brought siphon coffee back from the dead.
It circulates hot water with vapor pressure."
"Siphon coffee...
I've only seen siphon coffee makers as decorations in cafés, but I suppose they are used for making coffee, too.
Even so, I heard that drip coffee tastes better..."
"Those are siphons modified for zero gravity. Since there is no convection, they can make coffee with a rich flavor."
"Hmm... Were it not for coffee, I would be wide-awake in space. With excitement..."


Mankind, released from gravity, is now developing a new culture. But at the same time, they found that many of their tools relied on gravity to operate.
It was just recently that gravitational force, which had been proven long ago and tormented physicists for a long time, was unified with the other forces.

大空魔術 ~ Magical Astronomy

#08 大空魔術 ~ Magical Astronomy Celestial Wizardry ~ Magical Astronomy
「はぁ、宇宙には魅力があるわねぇ...... 」
"Wow, the universe is sure fascinating..."
「どうしたの? 溜息なんて吐いちゃって。地上にはもう魅力が無いとでも言うの?」
"What's the matter? Are you saying there's nothing fascinating on Earth?"
"At 16:31, I saw the evening star.
It's just that there are hardly any mysteries left on Earth."
"If I could see all the mechanisms of this world like you, Renko, I think I would start to become nihilistic."
"That's why I envy your eyes, Merry.
You can see plenty of mysterious worlds.
Besides, I wanted you to see the gap in the Moon's boundary."
"I'd do if the fare was lower."


The boundary is not a part of Earth; it's just a border, so it is only natural for the Moon to have one as well.
The boundary of the Moon is one which separates the dazzling Lunar Capital from the desolate, lifeless satellite. As long as the boundary exists, even if you went to the Moon, you couldn't get any of the rice cake or medicine the Moon rabbits are making; at most, a moonstone.

"The Moon may be hiding a forgotten world; a lunar capital with advanced civilization where nobles live.
Rabbits would make medicine of immortality while gazing at the three-legged crow living in the sun and worrying about mankind, excited about the Moon Tour.
You are the only one who can see that world, Merry."
"You're right. I want to go there before humans gather and colonize all of it."
"If it's decided then, let's start preparing."
"If we want to see the Lunar Capital, maybe we should learn more about it.
About the ancient Moon that has been forgotten for a long time.
About the dazzling Moon capital of legend.
About the Moon that symbolizes insanity.
Yes, knowledge will help discern the gap in the border."
"Wait, in my opinion, what we have to take care of first is getting a part-time job, so we can make enough money to go there."


#09 ネクロファンタジア Necrofantasia


Even though the sun has set and dinner time was approaching, they finally left the café after eating the new cake.
In this university, students can pay with a student card in any of the shops on campus. The price is collected along with the tuition monthly.
It reduces the need for managing money, avoids crowded registers, and lets students shop easily (because their parents pay for the tuition), increasing sales as a result. But thanks to that, students now find their expenses piling up much more than expected.

"There's supposed to be an elixir of immortality on the Moon, apparently."
"Immortality, huh?
Doesn't seem like someone like you would need it though, right Renko? What with the end of physics fast approaching and nihilism about to take hold of you."
"Who are you calling a nihilist?
I'm practically bursting with life.
Why, I'm sleeping soundly at night even now because I'm so excited about what the universe holds."
"Then, would you take it if you happened to get your hands on it, Renko?"


Although the world had developed rapidly, with just about every country enjoying prosperity to some degree, mankind itself had merely moved on to its next stage. The human population, which had continued to grow exponentially since before the Common Era, had shifted into a phase of gradual decline.
Like a proverbial Noah's Ark, capitalism had exacerbated society's inequalities through economics. As a result, nations across the board had shown a decline in birth rates, though this was all merely a sign that they had entered capitalism's final stage: population control.
As one of the first nations to have had to turn its attention to the issues brought on by rapidly declining birth rates and population collapse, Japan was able to skillfully avoid the downsides brought about by this depopulation. Moreover, thanks to the efforts of its chosen people, it was able to successfully revitalize its national character, rich in industriousness and mindfulness.

 物語なんかでは不老不死は辛い物だとされているのは何故だか判る? アレはみんな欲深さへの戒めと権力者への反抗を謳っているだけよ。でもそれが反対に、不老不死の薬の実存性の裏付けの証拠になっているわ。
 まさに顕界でも冥界でもある世界 (ネクロファンタジア) の実現だわ」
"The elixir of immortality?
Of course I'd take it.
You know why immortality is portrayed as a terrible thing to have to bear in stories and such? Those were all meant to serve as cautionary tales against greed and to celebrate rebellion against figures of authority. But on the flip side, the fact that those stories even exist serves as proof that the elixir of immortality is a real thing.
Immortality doesn't imply the absence of death. Rather, it merely implies a state of existence in which the boundary between life and death disappears, and you exist as neither alive nor dead.
It'd be like a bona fide Necrofantasia—a practical realization of being in a world somewhere in between the world of the living and the Netherworld at the same time."


#10 向こう側の月 The Far Side of the Moon
"Megalopolis of Moon"


The two of them sat down by fountain-equipped lake inside the university's campus.


The Moon was already out, and a flat Moon with no craters could be seen floating on the lake.





Merry the magician saw them:

Rabbits making medicine;

Celestial maidens wearing dazzling dresses,

dancing gracefully in the sky.


She saw the other side of the boundary through the Moon reflected in the water.
Seeing this Moon, Merry had an idea.

"Hey, Renko.
If the Moon Tour is too expensive, why don't we try thinking of another way to get there?"


例えば、初めましてなZUNです。 For example, nice to meet you, I'm ZUN.
いやぁ、宇宙の大きさに比べたら自分なんて小さいものですね。どんな失敗をしようと些細な事。数年ぐらい進級や進学、就職できなかったとしても、宇宙の大きさに比べたらへっちゃらへっちゃら。締め切りぎりぎりで胃が痛くなろうとも鼻歌歌いながら作業できるって......。 But man, we really are tiny compared to the vastness of the universe. Any and all failure is trivial. Even if you couldn't go to graduate school for several years or couldn't get hired, this is nothing compared to the enormity of the universe. Even though the deadline is so close, it's giving me a stomachache, I can still hum a tune as I finish this...
んなわけない。人間は必死だ。締め切りは死線。胃が......。 ...Yeah, right. Humans are frantic creatures. And they take deadlines literally. Ouch, my stomach...
で、宇宙旅行。行きたいですよねぇ。行きたくない? いやいやそんな嘘つかなくても良いですよ。宇宙に行きたくなかったら、他にどこに行きたい場所があるって言うんですか。 So, space travel. Don't you want to go? You don't? No, it's fine; you don't have to lie. If you don't want to go to space, it means there are other places you want to go to, right?
実はもう民間人の月面ツアー(ただ、着陸は無いらしいが)は実現寸前なんですよね。何でも、予算は1億ドル(約120億円)。蓮子じゃないけど、 Actually, it seems that private moon tours (but without landing, apparently) are about to become reality. I hear it'll cost 100 million dollars. I'm not Renko, but:
「月面ツアーは高過ぎるよね」 "The Moon Tour is too expensive."
But seriously, how is that price aimed at normal people? Is this the Noah's Ark that capitalism is showing us? And should the people left on Earth drown in the flood of information?
I wonder if there will come an age when the dreamers on Earth who work frantically and with no holidays can enjoy a casual holiday on the moon.
上海アリス幻樂団 ZUN (P◯3も方舟?) Team Shanghai Alice: ZUN (The P◯3 is also an ark?)


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