A science fiction short story
Available from Amazon as an eBook
The European Space Agency's Venus Express 2 spacecraft is making a high- definition radar survey of the unimaginably hostile surface of Venus, and computer enhanced survey images are posted on the Internet.
One image shows what appear to be artefacts, regular shapes on quite a large scale. Although the image is quickly taken down, a screenshot emerges. A retired BBC science correspondent decides to take advantage of the sensation caused by the image, and pitches a project to management.
Paul Weston's first science fiction short story is available now as an eBook from Amazon
"In the morning, I called Kevin Pickford. He was friendly and relaxed, and quite expansive about Space Millimetrics, telling me how he’d started the company and how it had grown quickly. I came round to the image from VE2, and as he said he hadn’t seen it, I sent it to him, and we agreed that I would call him back in half an hour so that we could discuss it properly.
When I called back his phone was busy. I tried several times over the next hour and a half, and eventually he answered
“Hello Kevin - what’s your take on the screenshot I sent you?”
“Sam, it’s just a bit of radar noise which the software has had a good go at resolving, and has come up with something which isn’t there.”
He didn’t sound as relaxed as he had earlier
“Perhaps we’ve made the software a bit too clever for its own good. There’ve been a few similar problems before”
I thought I would confirm that the previous party line – that there had been no such image at all, had been dropped, so I asked:
“So the spacecraft did actually generate this image?”
“Yes, well, the spacecraft and the software between them, but there’s nothing actually there, and I think there may have been a bit of Photoshopping done on the screenshot you sent me”
- Extract from "Venus Express"