The astronaut scanned the console. All green. Good to go.


Far away engines roared, his helmet muffled the noises but vibrations still rattled his teeth.


He thought of the crowd, miles away, cheering. He imagined his parents and his wife and child. He smiled.


He would be a hero. The first man on Mars. Three years in space. His boy would be almost full grown when he returned. Three years without his wife. Three years and his father, already sick, might be dead.


Was it really worth it?


“…blast off.”

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