Saturday, February 23, 2008

Space Traveller Alert: More Space Debris

This is a yellow alert to my alien friends who may be sleuthing near earth or even entering Earth's orbit or atmosphere to buy a Starbuck's. WATCH OUT FOR NEW DEBRIS!

In addition to being treated to an awesome moon eclipse last Wednesdy at 7:30 pm, my fellow Canadians also got to see a bright meteor-like streak in the night sky. No, it wasn't my clumsy friend, Beezl, from Tarsus-9 forgetting to use his "cloaking" device--again. It was a defunct U.S. spy satellite (from the National Reconnaissance Office) that had lost power as early as 2006 and had strayed well below the normal altitude of a satellite. As the 2,270 kg bus-sized satellite careered (at 27,400 kph) through space like a tornado on fire the Pentagon fretted that its 450 kg hydrazine (rocket fuel) tank would spill toxic gas on unsuspecting humans (upon impact). Hydrazine is a colorless liquid with an ammonia-like odour that can harm you if you come into contact with it. So, they shot down the satellite at 133 nautical miles above the Pacific Ocean down with a SM-3 missile from the USS Lake Erie at about 10:26 pm EST last Wednesday (Washington Post).

According to a senior military source (who shall remain nameless) the missile hit the satellite about three minutes after it was launched and the satellite exploded. “We’re very confident that we hit the satellite,” Gen. James E. Cartwright of the Marines, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at a Pentagon briefing Thursday morning (CNN). “We also have a high degree of confidence that we got the tank.” (New York Times). Cartwright also said the satellite seemed to be reduced to small pieces. "Thus far, we see nothing larger than a football," he said. The Pentagon confirmed that debris would enter the Earth's atmosphere right away and burn up on re-entry.

As for the rest... Well, watch out, my alien friends... especially you, Beezl!

1 comment:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It sounds like I might need to waer a hard hat at all times to help me survive the space debris, Nina.