Alpena to play role in Mars mission

In September of 2000 Johnathan Rand had published the fourth installment in his best selling Michigan Chillers series – Aliens Attack Alpena. It was a story of two local children – Mark and Meghan – who stumble across an alien spaceship that crashed in the woods after a meteor streaked across the sky just days before their discovery.

We were reminded of that book this week after learning that early next year a space capsule destined for Mars will land at the Alpena County Regional Airport, then be transported through Alpena on its way to be loaded onto a freighter awaiting it in Thunder Bay.

And no, that’s not science fiction.

The Orion spacecraft will pass through Alpena as NASA officials have determined this was the easiest route to get it to Mansfield so as to not disrupt major population centers full of traffic. Alpena had an airport runway long enough to handle the large cargo plane that will be transporting the spacecraft, plus quick access to a deep water port where it can then make its way to Ohio.

It is exciting to think that Alpena will play a small role in this exciting new space exploration endeavor.

Seventeen years ago Rand had visualized a space craft landing in Alpena. Were he to write an updated version of his best seller in January, perhaps it might titled — Mars Mania Makes Michigan.