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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Space Junk"

A 6-ton, 35-feet long, human-made contraption called "UARS," that had been up in orbit for 20 years, has been declared to be no longer useful for measuring climate stuff, though several of its components are still operating.   In recent weeks it has been  falling back to earth, and it is expected to enter the atmosphere tomorrow, its final day, in a flaming display of not quite total disintegration.

Because in these fascist times fear has to be injected wherever possible into each and every news item, a caveat is always inserted close to the beginning of every report, saying that the chances of anyone being hit by any of the debris are only about 1 in 3,200.

With 20 acres of land here for the debris to land, I am not paying the slightest attention to all those concerns about any of those fragments hitting me or anyone else. Instead I just think of that reassuring note as being laughable.  The odds are just not there.

Instead I keep thinking about how cool it would be have some fragment crashing through my generally thick canopy of trees and landing here, hopefully in plain sight and after having made enough noise that I would have noticed something.

If that happens we are instructed not to touch the object, and instead to notify the local law authorities at once.

I confess, I would be a trifle slow in doing that, not least because of the air of extreme self-importance that local law authorities always assume when they barge onto someone's property and take charge, with their yellow ribbons and all their other bullpoop.

But that's just me.   Or would it be?   Because I can assure you, I am not the only one in the sticks all over the world with a strong appreciation of their property rights.   But that wouldn't be the end of it either.  An even stronger factor would be the appeal of having such novel forbidden objects in one's secret possession, along with the possibilities of financial gain farther down the road.   For that or other reasons, what the authorities are disarmingly pleased to call "space junk" could very easily be an ordinary man's space treasure, to have and to hold, so to speak.

However, all these are almost certain to be completely moot points anyway.  The Earth has much more ocean than it has anything else, and through the eons all that water has been pretty greedy about gobbling up by far the lion's share of all the good stuff that daily zooms in from outer space.


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