Monday, 28 January 2008

It's the size of a bus!


Paranoia is generally to be discouraged, but a small news item in today's Guardian caught my eye. I copy and paste...
'Out-of-control satellite could hit Earth soon

A US spy satellite thought to be the size of a bus has lost power and could hit the Earth in late February or early March, government officials said. The satellite could contain hazardous materials, and it is not known where it might come down, they said. A National Security Council spokesman said that ways of mitigating damage were being considered but would not say whether the satellite could be shot down by a missile. John Pike, director of the defence research group GlobalSecurity.org, said the satellite might contain beryllium, which can cause incurable respiratory problems'.
Now, something the size of a bus containing hazardous materials hitting the earth at some stupendous speed seems to me to be just a touch serious, not least for the unfortunates in the vicinity of where it lands. I know this is a 'may' and not a 'will' and we don't have any handle on just how serious it may be but I'm surprised this is such a small news item. I must also confess that the use of the words 'may', 'might' and 'could' are less than comforting.

5 comments:

Law Minx said...

Hi WR,

I don't suppose the world at large would notice the Tunguska Event if it were to happen at the bottom of its collective garden, such is it's worrying indifference to potential disaster, but then I suppose this is the sort of situtation where someone has shouted " the end of the world is nigh" so many times it has led to complete indifference.
Still, just to be on the safe side, I am typing this sitting in the nuclear bunker underneath my kitchen floor into which I am time locked until the next Olympics......

white rabbit said...

There must be a happy medium between indifference and paranoia. I did a little research and it seems an asteroid would hit the earth at 30,000 mph and large ones would cause incredible damage (ask any dinosaur!) Of course asteroids are much heavier than satellites so it's not quite comparing like to like.

We are due for an asteroid near-miss in, I think, 2028 but all clear until then (subject to man-made space junk) so you can probably safely come out of the minxbunker for the moment!

Ron Knee said...

This could potentialy cause almost as much damage to our planet as John Prescott tripping over and falling flat on his face.

(I think Prescott actually caused the Thailand tsunami)

white rabbit said...

Well he landed on top of Tracey Whatsit and she lived to tell the tale...

white rabbit said...

I should explain to a wider world that Ron's blog is not for what used to be described as the 'easily offended'. Well I'm not easily offended and I think it's (mostly) hilarious. Take a peek but you were warned....