John Koenig is at Moonbase Alpha to supervise a deep space prope that will explore the rogue planet Meta, from which there are signs of an advanced form of life. But on the other side of the Moon, at a disposal area where all Earth's nuclear waste is dumped, there is an accident. There is a nuclear explosion, gravity control is affected, and the Moon is pulled out of orbit, moving inexorably away from Earth. Koenig takes a decision that the entire crew should stay on Moonbase Alpha - because to evacuate and attempt a return to Earth would be suicidal.
September 9, 1999: John Robert Koenig is assigned to Moonbase Alpha, located in the Plato crater on the near side of the Moon, to replace Commander Gorski as Base Commander.
His mission, to make sure the Meta Probe, currently in Lunar orbit with the Deep Space Launch Platform, launches on schedule.
Koenig is told by Commissioner Simmonds that a viral outbreak is threatening the launch of the probe designed to carry man to the newly discovered planet Meta, and a failure would be a tremendous blow to the space program when it comes time to review funding.
He meets with the base's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Helena Russell. She informs him that there is no virus and that nine men have died from brain damage. The illness more closely resembles radiation sickness, but no radiation leaks can be found.
Koenig then convinces Commissioner Simmonds to cease the shipments of nuclear waste, at least temporarily, while they figure out the cause of the illness.
The source of the problem becomes apparent when Nuclear Waste Disposal Area 1 burns itself out in a magnetic sub-surface firestorm. The Meta Probe launch now takes a backseat to the larger problem of Nuclear Waste Disposal Area 2.
Containing one-hundred-and-forty times the waste of Area 1, the resulting explosion would be catastrophic. With the temperature rising in Area 2, it is a race against time to disperse the waste over a larger area to avert disaster.
Time runs out, and Nuclear Waste Disposal Area 2 goes up in a massive explosion that pushes the Moon out of Earth orbit.
Unable to return to Earth, the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha begin their journey into the unknown.
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