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When I was a little girl, I used to stand in my back yard and launch rocks at the sky, imagining they would reach outer space.
I never imagined that 20 years later, it would be possible to launch something from Earth that would make it to space—but, that can happen
Last week, a rogue spy satellite veered off course and began its descent toward Earth, the hydrazine gas tank posed a health concern for those in its path.
Because of a breakdown in communication researchers could not predict when or where the satellite would make impact. The hydrazine gas would contaminate an area about the size of a football field—so destroying the satellite seemed like the only safe option.
In what seemed like something out of a Science fiction movie, the U.S. Navy launched a missile from the U.S.S. Lake Erie with the hope of destroying the rogue satellite. Now, when they tried similar things in movies like “Deep Impact,” it didn’t work. But, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, the U.S. Navy made impact,
It took only a few hours to determine the mission was successful, leaving the satellite in football-sized pieces.
The fact that we, mere earthlings, possess this sort of technology is amazing. The ability to launch rockets that travel to other planets and return to Earth still amazes me, I cannot imagine traveling to space any other way.
Before the movie “Apollo 13” was released, I heard my parents talk about people returning from space in a capsule. The capsule would return by “splash-down” by falling out of the sky and into the ocean where a boat would be waiting to fish the crew out.
I thought they were joking, and responded by laughing like a hyena. This scenario was hard for me to imagine, and seemed a little unreal. A rocket is definitely the only practical way to go.
I have heard some Oak Island residents say that if you go out to Caswell Beach, you can see the rockets after they launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I have yet to make it out there to see one for myself, but hope to do it someday.
With the technology we can use to examine outer space, “the final frontier,” it is hard to comprehend how we can have so many unsolved mysteries here on Earth.
I am not saying that we should quit exploring space—on the contrary, we need to find a suitable place to inhabit because once global warming takes hold, we’ll need a place to go.
For me, the question that remains is simple—how is it possible that a nation capable of launching missiles into space remains unable to locate a bearded Saudi hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan? The U.S. has been looking for Osama Bin Laden, since the war on terror began in 2001.
Since then thousands of people have died, another dictator, Saddam Hussein, has been captured, but the leader of the Taliban and terrorist mastermind still eludes us.
Did he not lead the Taliban’s attack on the U.S. on Sept. 11? Is he not the leader of the Taliban? Isn’t that the reason that we began fighting the “war on terror?”
Yet, six years later, here we are—no Bin Laden. But don’t worry, we’ve captured Hussein and his imaginary weapons of mass destruction are no longer a threat.
So, if a nation is capable of launching missiles from the ground that can reach outer space, doesn’t it seem likely they would possess the manpower and technology to locate the mastermind of the Taliban and his accomplices?
Of course, that is assuming that the U.S. government hasn’t already located him and is just waiting for the right moment to “find” him.
Well, maybe we’ll find him when the Republicans are about to lose the next election. After all, it took a dip in President Bush’s ratings to produce Saddam from a hole in the ground.
Until then, I guess we can be grateful for the technology we have at our disposal. With the spy satellite crisis averted, now we can focus on something else.
Maybe by next week we will be able to vaporize some hydrogen and oxygen molecules to replenish our extremely low water supply. Who knows? Anything’s possible.
RENEE SLOAN is a staff writer and page designer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.