blight – some disease that destroys crops
lander = a vehicle that separates from a larger orbiting vehicle to take passengers down to the surface of a planet and back.
to rule smb out = to rule out = to exclude, to eliminate as a possible choice
to stumble in = enters in a clumsy manner = to stumble => to walk unsteadily
long shot = a very low probability of success. It’s a long shot. (basketball idiom)
to harness = to control, to make use of
stage one separation = the release of the first booster rocket after it has exhausted all its fuel. At that point, it becomes excess weight with no value. There may be two or three booster stages. They drop off as their fuel is expended. Only the final payload enters into outer space (or orbit)
Dramamine = a medicine to prevent motion-sickness, which some people are prone to get.
hab pod = habitation pod = living quarters in an off-world location
discretion = tact, politeness
hatch – air-tight door with some kind of locking or tightening mechanism.
lockout = inability to operate