New Horizons Station, 4/25/38 T.A.D. – In a historic moment for humanity, a baby girl was born yesterday in the orbiting habitat of New Horizons Station, becoming only the second child born off planet Earth. The proud parents, Dr. Maria Santos and engineer Jack Thompson are longtime residents of the orbital complex, home to over a thousand scientists, technicians, and support personnel.
New Horizons Station, initially constructed around the modules of the decommissioned International Space Station (ISS), was hauled to a higher orbit in 2031 under a public-private partnership with the newly reformed International Space Agency (ISA). The small cluster of modules has since undergone significant expansion. The habitat now includes a state-of-the-art O’Neill cylinder, which provides artificial gravity through centrifugal force. The cylinder’s construction was made possible by the abundance of metals harvested from the burgeoning captured-asteroid mining industry in lunar orbit.
Dr. Santos, an astrobiologist working on the Artemis mission to Europa, and Mr. Thompson, a propulsion engineer, met and fell in love while working on the station. When they discovered they were expecting a child, the couple faced the difficult decision of whether to remain in space for the birth, despite the potential risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth in a low-gravity environment.
Pregnancy in space poses unique challenges, even with the roughly 0.4g spin-gravity equivalent provided by the O’Neill cylinder. Microgravity environments can affect bone density and muscle development, and scientists are still researching the long-term effects on human physiology. However, significant progress has been made in space medicine in the last decade. The couple received guidance and support from a team of dedicated medical professionals, both on the station and on Earth, who closely monitored the pregnancy.
Former NASA Chief of Public Science Communications-turned-wealthy philanthropist Nick Oakes, who was a primary financier of New Horizons Station from his fortune as an early investor in the Celestial Foundry asteroid mining operations, sent a personal congratulations to the new parents and released a public statement:
“I barely have words for my excitement for Dr. Maria Santos, Jack Thompson, and their beautiful baby girl, Aurora. I am thrilled to see New Horizons Station become the setting for such a momentous occasion.
When I first started as an intern at NASA, I never imagined I would one day play a part, even a small, indirect one, in the birth of a human being in space. Everything about my involvement with NASA, the ISA, Celestial Foundry, and New Horizons Station has been tremendously fulfilling.
As I sit here in my backyard, watching the same stars that cradle baby Aurora, I feel how interconnected we all are as human beings, both on Earth and beyond. I believe that the birth of Aurora heralds a bright future.
To Maria, Jack, and little Aurora, I wish you a lifetime of love, adventure, and discovery.” – Nick Oakes
The first off-planet birth occurred in 2034 when a girl named Stella Tran was born in Lunar Habitat Module A, located in lunar orbit. Stella’s birth was a significant milestone in humanity’s quest to explore and inhabit space, proving that life could begin and thrive beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
Baby Aurora, named after the ethereal natural light display often visible from the station’s observation deck, was delivered by a team of doctors and nurses who had undergone specialized training for the unique challenges of childbirth in space. Both mother and baby are reported to be in excellent health.
The birth of baby Aurora marks a new chapter in the story of humanity’s expansion into the cosmos. While the people of Earth watch on, hooked on every new feed from the station, the residents of New Horizons Station celebrate the arrival of their newest member, a symbol of hope and progress for all those who dream of a future among the stars.