The Andromeda Strain Michael Crichton

Essay by blake_crosbyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, July 2004

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The book I read was The Andromeda Strain by renowned author Michael Crichton. The story takes place in the sixties, during the time of major space travel. It is a fiction work, but it deals with a real-life issue. That issue is the sterilization procedures of returning probes from outer-space. In the book a small group of scientists are worried that organic matter from a space capsule could cause such a disaster as a plague. Even though this matter is generally laughed at by the majority of scientists, the small group devises an organization in which to deal with this very real problem.

This organization is called Wildfire. Its main staff includes a pathologist, Dr. Charles Burton; a professor of bacteriology, Dr, Jeremy Stone; a physician Dr. Mark William Hall; and a clinical microbiologist, Dr. Peter Leavitt. With direct permission from the President, Wildfire designed a secret facility for holding and researching potential contaminated space matter.

The multi-million dollar facility is located in northwest Nevada. It is divided into five sections according to the level of sterilization, section five being the most sterile. It takes approximately twenty-four to reach this section. This being because the sterilization procedures increase dramatically with each section. These procedures are almost totally performed by machines, and the facility laboratory includes the best equipment money can buy. The facility also included an atomic bomb that would detonate if the building was contaminated. It was believed that no living thing could survive an atomic explosion.

The story begins with the landing of a space capsule, belonging to project called Scoop, in northeastern Arizona. Project Scoop was a secret government program trying to find bacteria from space which they could use in biological warfare. A surveillance van tracking the capsule arrives in a small town named Piedmont,