Cultivated fields and large buildings would be easily visible in many

places around the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The Pyramids were

old even then. (The Great Wall in China probably had not been

started.) There would be no radio sounds, except for an occasional

lightning click. We do not know how well their cities were lighted at

night, but they were probably too dim to see. Tiny orange pinpoints of

light from outdoor bonfires could probably be seen around the globe,

but there would be more of them around the Mediterranean and in the

East and Near East than anywhere else. The radioactivity level would

be low. Our visitors would conclude that the inhabitants were either

in the early stages of civilization, or were once highly civilized and

now sunk back to a primitive stage. They would know that this was due

to something other than atomic war.

We have to conclude that these were moral beings. If the conditions

below were as they seemed to be, that of an early civilization, they

would not want to interfere. They would want to observe without being

observed, so even if it were technically possible they would not want

to bring a large ship down. They would send down as small and

inconspicuous a vehicle as possible.

We usually picture such a craft as a small version of the larger ship,

or a large--by our standards--rocket, or an aircraft similar to our

Dyna-soar. For people this advanced technologically something a lot

simpler might be used. It might be an open vehicle, similar to our

flying platforms, but with vastly more powerful nuclear power plants.

The men going down would have to wear air-tight suits--spacesuits, and

would have to leave them on all the time they were below, for fear of

becoming infected with molds and viruses that the natives would long

since have become immune to. One man, the pilot, would stay with the

platform while the others did the observing and recording.

The flying platform would have no need for rapid forward motion, at

least inside the atmosphere and therefore would have little need for

streamlining or protective covering for the passengers, who would

carry their equipment with them. Most of the equipment for the survey

would be built into the suits. They would each carry a set of portable

helicopter attachments so they could cover more ground in a hurry.

Like small helicopters of our time, these probably would have a rather

limited speed and range, but they would be extremely maneuverable.

The platform on the other hand, being nuclear powered, would probably

be very powerful and have almost unlimited range, but it would be less

maneuverable. The products of its exhaust might be radioactive and

therefore its operators would be reluctant to operate it above or

near the natives of the planet, or places that they frequented.

As they push away from the mother-ship the spacemen would be in

free-fall and would tend to "float" nearby until they turned the

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