Clavius

Illustration from a theater poster for 2001: A Space Odyssey

Jackie put us into a low orbit around Luna that took us right over Clavius and while the protocol and so forth was being settled I got a pretty good view of the place before we actually landed. You could tell the whole thing was bigger and more complex than Schiaparelli and vastly larger than Copernicus; but I didn’t realize just how big it was until I saw it as we were finally coming on approach. I had never seen a man made structure on that scale before: the place was huge. What was doubly unsettling was that this wouldn’t even be a small town on Earth; the Earth that now hung in the sky so close it seemed you should be able to reach out and touch it.

We landed at Clavius within a few hours of sunset so that the shadows cast by the manmade structures clearly contrasted them with the landscape, making them highly visible. Unlike Schiaparelli or Copernicus, Clavius had started as a planned settlement but then went chaotic. The core of the city was laid out like those two, but there the similarity ended. Living quarters, laboratories, garages, greenhouses and other structures were added in what looked to me to be no pattern at all. There were also numerous outlying structures not connected to the main colony, including several privately owned estates and a couple of resort hotels. I had a great view of all of this as we warped into our final approach. Jackie set us down on their landing pad with hardly a bump.

Excerpt from Chapter IX: Clavius

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