Year 9, Day 116

I’ve been here ten years today!

Needless to say, I did not remember this: the ship’s computer did, and reminded me that it was time for a deep-space check. I had totally forgotten that I defined year one of my calendar as starting on the first northward equinox after my crash landing.

Which, among other things, means that Patches is almost 10 years old. For a mammal species of her size, that’s close to an expected life span.

She seems perky enough today, though, so I compared the results of my exploration to date with my first impressions of the planet, including those recorded by the escape capsule – if any. I really didn’t expect to find much, as most of the computer capability would have been busy trying to get the capsule down in one piece, but to my astonishment the crashing ship had acquired considerably more data than I had realized, and transmitted it to storage in the escape capsule’s library. I’d been far too busy staying alive those first few fivedays to query the computer about something I didn’t even know was there, and even now I did not expect a lot of new data.

The areas I had mapped agreed with the data in the computer’s memory, and usually with more detail – clouds had hidden a great deal of the surface. One thing I was pretty sure of after studying the computer data, though. This planet does indeed have ice caps at both poles. The one to the south is considerably south of this continent. But the continent to the north, where much of the land north of the region I have explored is snow-covered in the winter and even has perennial snow on the mountains, might even extend to the ice cap. This is the ideal time to explore – late summer in the northern hemisphere. If I quit trying to map the northern shore of the tideless sea for a few fivedays and flew directly north from the mountains, I could find out. Why not? I certainly have enough time!