Saturday, January 26, 2008

Keep Watching The Skies!

Now look what they've done. They've gone and lost control of one of their satellites, and now it's going to fall sometime soon (late February, early March, they can't seem to say when yet) over somewhere unknown (might be the big blue ocean, might be your living room). Personally I find it hard to believe that our government has no one capable of solving problems in orbital mechanics like this. I mean, they knew exactly where the satellite was when it lost power and they lost control. They knew its velocity (which includes both its speed and its trajectory) when that happened. They know its co-efficient of friciton. They know its mass. (They built the damn thing.) Other than upper air weather patterns, the only other force acting upon it is gravity. Seems to me like they have enough information to figure out when it's going to hit the atmosphere and start burning up and falling to Earth. Why can't they tell us this? Ah, yes, because the fact that this is happening is still considered classified. Because it's one of their spy satellites.

Shouldn't the safety of the public be considered at least as important? If it's a rural area where the satellite might land, they should at least speak to local government officials. Tell them that what they are about to hear must remain classified for the time being. Besides, there is no need to alarm the public over what may be nothing. Be prepared to evacuate your town should it become necessary sometime around the end of next month and the beginning of the month after. We cannot say why right now. And if it's projected to land in a major city, what are they planning to do? Let thousands of innocent civilians die? Again?

What also bothers me about this story is the fact that they leaked enough classified information to make you nervous, but not nearly enough to make you feel like the potential danger to yourself is minimal. I mean, they could at least remind people of statistics like "You're 1,000 times more likely to be hit by lightening than by a piece of falling classified satellite debris." (Or whatever the actual odds are.) Instead, they leak this much info and no more. Why? If they have no intention of telling us whether or not we really are in danger, then of what benefit is it to us to leak this info at all? I mean, there's clearly nothing any of us could have done to stop it, of course, nor a Wile E. Coyote-style umbrella strong enough to hide under should it come right at us. Nothing we could do at all, really, except just try to stay out of its way if and when it comes down toward us. But they can't tell us when that will be, possibly because they expect that the laws of Gravity might be changed through a Bush Executive Order, or something.

Oh, yeah. I forgot. Gravity is just a "Theory".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! The satellite is gonna hit ME! Better get the wiretaps going! Better round up the brown people -- they might be illegal or terrorists! Henny penny!