Type Story
Date 1939-03
Pages 11
Tags science fiction

Marooned Off Vesta

Three men, Warren Moore, Mark Brandon, and Michael Shea, are trapped in a damaged ship in orbit of an inhabited asteroid, Vesta. They have a year's worth of water and a week's worth of food, but only three days worth of air. There's no chance of being found and rescued before their air runs out. If only they were falling to the asteroid rather than orbiting, they'd be fine--the gravity is low enough to survive the fall--but without the ship's engine the few hundred miles to Vesta might as well be lightyears.

Moore realizes their situation is not so hopeless: he crawls around the outside of the ship and burns a hole in the water tank. The resulting jet of steam propels the ship slowly toward Vesta.

I'm reminded of Leslie Fish's song "The Ballad of Transport 18". In that song, the stranded spacemen use the tanks of beer they're hauling to propel the ship--and to get drunk, besides.

Name Role
Isaac Asimov Author


Relation Sources
Contained in
  • Amazing Stories, March 1939 (1939-03)