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Introduction by ARTHUR C. CLARKE O neoftheadvantagesoflivingontheEquator(well, only 800 kilometers from it) is that the Moon and planets pass vertically overhead, allowing one to see them with a clarity never possible in higher latitudes.
Prologue S he lay exposed on the operating table. Men and women sheathed in sterile plastic ﬁlm leaned over her, wielding black instruments. The rank smell of onions threatened to suffocate her. Her mind’s eye invol- untarily displayed complex sulfur compounds as the circle of lights above her began to swirl in a golden spiral.
II “The man who proposed Kon-Tiki is Howard Falcon,” said the commander. “He will personally pilot the Jupiter probe.” It was the same bright morning, but no one could have known it from the surroundings—a dim, quiet basement brieﬁng room, its walls and ceiling carpeted with thesame brown wool as its ﬂoor, its only illumination leaking from brass-shaded lamps on low tables beside the leather arm- chairs where Sparta, Blake, and the commander nestled.
IV The moon was a fat ca¨ıque riding on cold, billowing seas of October cloud. Something was chasing the moon. He heard it coming long before he saw it, a black winged thing whose wings beat the night.