Nuke it from the ground…it’s the only way to be sure.

Okay. So it’s all over the news that The Gummint will be blowing up a spy satellite in orbit. “To prevent its hazardous fuel from creating a safety hazard on the ground.”

Hunh.

I’m not saying that this isn’t a perfectly plausible explanation.

I’m just asking (question one) is if it’s possible that the aforementioned Gummint is siezing upon a handy excuse to announce and then demonstrate to the world “we have all kinds of wonderful toys for destroying any satellite of any kind any time we feel like it”?

Question two: is it possible that the so-called “spy satellite” is actually an incubator for an ungodly bioengineered weapon-monster, and to the scientists’ alarm and horror, exposure to nonterrestrial radiation has caused it to evolve at such a logarithmic speed that it must be terminated before it succeeds in overriding the pod’s ground-based commands and initiates a manual re-entry?

I’m just askin’.

14 thoughts on “Nuke it from the ground…it’s the only way to be sure.”

  1. I would simply add that the planned interception of this mobile toxic waste dump headed for one of backyards will be brought to you by the same folks who thought we’d be greeted as liberators in Iraq. Hopefully, this will turn out better than that did.. Also hope that W was at the ranch the day they drew up the plans for this.

  2. It could also be that they’ve realized that certain very sensitive parts may well survive all the way to the ground – and they certainly wouldn’t want anyone to get their hands on say, the sensors?

  3. Meh. Bart Simpson only needed a carefully aimed shot from a tank to bring down Major League Baseball’s nefarious spy satellite. Isn’t this just overkill?

  4. If we have learned anything from comic books, it is that radiation in space can cause astonishing and sometimes terrifying transformations. We can only hope that whatever IS in those satellite bits when they come crashing to earth won’t cause nearly as much suffering as the recent Fantastic Four movies.

  5. I think we can guessimate both answers.

    #1: China has itself blown up an old weather satellite, so this could be a good side-effect.

    #2: They claim they lost contact when everything went pear shaped related to power (beyond that of the chemical engines), and they can’t raise it on the radio. So whatever home-grown alien life is there, it’s already taken over.

    I believe, though, it’s deeply thinking if Dubba’s worth it, so we have a chance. Plus, it’s a spy sat. We can’t let anyone get a hold of the tech!

  6. There are three possible reasons I’ve come up with for why they may want to do this: 1) China blew up a satellite last year now we need to. This is unlikely since about 20% of the orbital junk is from this one intercept. No one, particularly the Air Force guys who track space trash, wants to see more razor sharp shards orbiting the earth at 15,000 MPH. 2) The satellite has super cool spy gadgets that we don’t want anyone else to get. Slightly more plausible, I guess, but if this were the case it could be blown up with an intercept in the atmosphere (gee, wouldn’t this be a good time to demonstrate how well that anti-ballistic missile shield we’ve been pouring billions into since the Reagan years works?) 3) Most likely in my opinion is that it uses plutonium fuel much like Cassini and other spacecraft we already know about. If this is the reason, we all had better hope that missile hits because an uncontrolled plutonium plume is crap-your-pants bad. No, it’s worse than that. It’s lethal at 4 parts per billion bad.

  7. It’s really about option #1 – a nice little note to China along the lines of “I can has ASAT missiles.” Based on my experience with uncontrolled reentry of a small university research satellite, I’ll hazard that any nifty spy gadgets on board are unlikely to survive reentry. As for a plutonium fuel source, it’s unlikely since it’s much easier to power an Earth-orbit-bound satellite with solar panels; they save the RTGs for deep-space stuff where sunlight isn’t quite as shiny. Even if it were powered by RTGs, those things are designed to be super-safe even if the rocket carrying them blows up halfway to orbit (an unfortunate but not unlikely scenario) — each tiny little bit of plutonium is encased in its own ceramic reentry capsule.

    That said, if Milla Jovovich is indeed involved in this recovery effort, I’m all for it.

  8. But let’s be specific: I vote for the Milla of “Fifth Element.” I’m even willing to provide the Ace bandages. The “Resident Evil” one has plenty of charm but she’s also rather heavily armed.

    I mean, you thought you were under pressure buying a Valentine’s Day gift for your current girlfriend…and she works in Marketing!

  9. @tim – Yeah, that’s why I was suspicious of the “it’s too dangerous to let fall” story. And on top of everything else, what are the chances that it’ll even come down in a populated area? I’ve no idea what its track is.

  10. They’re saying the chances are decent (i.e. 0.00something %, not 0.0000000something %) that it’ll land in a populated area. Looking at the ground track (which can be found at http://www.heavens-above.com), I completely believe them. Since it’s completely uncontrolled, the reentry location is highly dependent on factors like attitude, atmospheric density, solar output, whether the moon is in the house of Aquarius, etc. There’s really no good way to predict the impact site with any certainty.

    Also note on the heavens-above.com website that it’ll be visible to the naked eye over the next several days; just punch in your location and the website will tell you where to look.

  11. I like your Andromeda Strain suggestion – “We have a fire”. Your suspicions are not unwarranted. When Skylab – a truly gigantic hunk of metal de-orbited, it was allowed to fall its merry way. What may be equally important is that the interceptor is reportedly going to be sea-launched from a cruiser. Any interceptor which can do this can form part of an intercept system to pick up re-entering ICBM/IRBM warheads.

Comments are closed.