Their job was travel across the Long Earth and map, log and study it, as well as "plant the flag," as President Cowley put it. Another objective of the mission was to possibly find the lost USS Neil A. Armstrong I.
The Armstrong II and the Cernan hold the record of the largest flying machine ever constructed. Their length is around a thousand feet from stem to stern and their hull have massive tail planes mounted with compact jet engines. Its envelope is emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes and its undersides are armoured with Kevlar and filled with observation decks, sensors and weapons.
Unlike the old designs, the crew compartment, still called 'gondola' by the crew, is inside the lift envelope and not suspended below the ship's body for streamlining reason. It has enough space to accomodate ninety crew and passengers and goes from the Captain's cabin, in the prow, to the wheelhouse. It has two decks, the upper one containing all the crew quarters and facilities and the lower one containing stores and life-support gear.
If there is one thing that the early expeditions into the Long Earth taught humanity (like the Journey back in 2030), it's that you can't rely on every Earth to have Datum-like conditions. Therefore, the Armstrongs gondola is built to endure extremes of temperature and pressure and can sustain its crew on recycled air and water for extended periods of time.
Thanks to the Chinese advance stepper technology it's equipped with, the Cernan can cross fifteen million worlds in a week at its nominal speed.
On their way they retrieved the lost Armstrong I crew, discovered new Gaps and sampled and studied new lifeforms.
Notable crew members
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Long Mars - Chapter 5
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Long Mars - Chapter 6
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Long Mars - Chapter 42
- ↑ The Long Mars - Chapter 22
- ↑ The Long Mars - Chapter 35
- ↑ The Long Mars - Chapter 41