Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Space Is Getting Colder

Don't you miss the Cold War? Our government does. All that muscle-flexing and ball-grabbing as we and our opponent, the good ol' CCCP commies, traded insults and ominously positioned our forces across the iron curtain, awaiting with childish glee and fear the First Strike as we aimed our nukes at the other sides.

Duck and Cover!

Ah, those were the days.

But, hey, there are other bad guys out there, right? I mean, China is a rising world power, with a space program of their own, big guns, millions of shouting, goose-stepping commies marching through blood-soaked Tiananmen Square, stomping on the human rights of their people. Doesn't stop us from giving them favored-nation status for trade, but I guess they'll do for the next Cold War enemy.

Well, dig out that back yard bunker, boys and girls. They've gone beyond buzzing our warships with their fighters.

Remember last month, when China shot down one of their defunct weather satellites? Now that was a novel bit of Cold War-ness if ever I saw it. Remember the worldwide condemnation of the act, led by the U.S. and our allies? If they can shoot down their own satellite, they could shoot down ours (spy satellite or otherwise). Here's a taste, in case it's too hard to remember back a month:

What a furor that caused. Oh, how our government admonished China for breaking the treaty against militarization of space, chided them for failing to restrain themselves, shook our heads at their blatant disregard and aggression.

So now I'm chuckling. Surely you've heard the reports over the last week or two about how the U.S. is going to shoot down a defective spy satellite. It's supposed to happen today or tomorrow, depending on the weather:

But we aren't flexing our Cold War muscles! No way! Not according to Bush. We're protecting our civilians against the potential for the satellite to crash into the good ole US of A and getting poisoned and eaten alive by satellite fuel (hydrazine). Very thoughtful.

Don't believe the hype. This is posturing at its best. Gotta keep up with the Johnsons, don't you know, or the Jong's. And we don't want damaged military imaging components sold on EBay.

As for the deadly hydrazine, it's not really so deadly. You'd have to eat the stuff or swim in it before it could kill you. It's an irritant, sorta like gasoline is. Read it yourself:

So, when you look up at the sky tonight at the last lunar eclipse until 2010, cross your arms and try not to shiver. A space-based military arms race may have already begun.

Addendum (2/20/08): The Pentagon announced that the satellite has been successfully blown up. They are still sticking to the save-the-public-from-deadly-hydrazine story:

Update (2/21/08): See footage of the satellite's destruction:

1 comment:

KimberlyDi said...

They blew it up last night.