Saturday, April 06, 2019

Space Forces

What happens above our head tends to go unnoticed. Unless it's the Super Blood Harvest Moon (with sprinkles). Celestial events tend to escape our notice because they don't tend to happen during the day. Stars come out at night, right? I'm looking at you, George Clooney.
But since we're such big fans of science here at short attention span theater, I thought I could suggest that things that happen outside our atmosphere continue to happen in large part because of Newton's First Law of Motion which states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Down here on Terra Firma, we tend to expect gravity to be that thing that will eventually stop something that comes hurtling toward us. Even a bullet, given a long enough trajectory, will eventually run out of kinetic energy and come to rest back on the ground. Kids, don't try this at home. Out in space, there are bullets that could have been fired during the U.S. Civil War that are still zipping along through the vacuum of space. This is not probable or likely because this was before the advent of our "President's" proposed Space Force.
That's not the reality, but this is: India shot a missile out into space to test their anti-satellite capabilities. Success! They blew up the satellite. Nobody got hurt, but now everyone can be afraid of India. And not just because they have this awesome anti-satellite missile technology. They can be afraid of the debris that they created by blowing something up in space, causing chunks of what-used-to-be-satellite screaming around without any particular vector or orbit. Junk that could crash into other satellites that were not intended targets, or maybe the International Space Station. NASA is currently tracking sixty pieces of potential trouble drifting about with vectors that could present a danger to human spaceflight. India has suggested that whatever mess they created will eventually be pulled back to earth and burn up harmlessly on reentry. Unless it runs into something else on the way down. Like a farmer in Des Moines.
My suggestion to the folks in Iowa: Don't farm at night. You should be safe.

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