Despite weather fears, here in Central Indiana we had a gorgeous view of the lunar eclipse last night. I bundled up and popped outside several times last night between 11pm and midnight to witness the beauty of the larger universe at work. It was cold, but I had a great fire going, so I could bundle up, pop outside for a while and then crash on the bean bag chair close to the fire to warm up again. It was one of those nights that makes me ache for a much better camera, as mine could not begin to do justice to the scene. Luckily, there are people out there who have the equipment to do the job right, and there is a great gallery of pictures that the Discovery Channel put up. If you missed the event, hop over and give it a look-see.
Further west, the US Navy successfully shot down the failing spy satellite, and is convinced they destroyed any potentially dangerous fuel. This whole event amuses me on some level. My twisted brain imagines that about a month ago, there was a smoky back room where the following conversation took place:
NASA dude: Just wanted to let you know that we have an old spy satellite that is failing and will crash to earth some time this spring.
Government dude: Crash!!?? Is there any danger to my citizens? No? Whew...How about my beach house?
Military dude: Is there any information or technology on that satellite that could compromise us if it fell into the wrong hands?
NASA dude: Nah. This is an old satellite we are talking about. Most high school students have toys with more sophisticated equipment in them these days..
Military Dude: So you are sure there is no danger? No toxins or radioactivity?
NASA dude: Perfectly safe, we just issued a press release letting people know they have nothing at all to fear.
Military Dude: That's too bad. Not that I would ever want to put our citizens at risk, but if it were just a little bit dangerous.....
(lightbulbs go off and all three sit a little straighter, you can feel the excitement explode in the air)
All three at once: We could SHOOT IT DOWN!
NASA dude: Cool! Rockets!!
Military dude: It would show those $*&^@ once and for all what we can do.( flexes arms a bit). Danged de-militarization of space treaty....
Government dude: Yet, it would be no threat at all.. we would be assisting the global citizens and helping our fellow man, at our personal expense.... hmmm...
Government dude: ( looking at the NASA dude) Are you SURE it is perfectly safe, nothing you could have missed in those numbers??
NASA dude: ( flipping through simulations and excel spreadsheets on his laptop).. wait..... this does say there might be a little bit of fuel left in it......
Military dude: ( picks up phone and begins dialing Navy)...
I am glad that there is no threat to any citizen of the world, or to the precious natural resources we usually squander recklessly.
I am impressed and slightly amazed that we can sit on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, target something in orbit and hit it, vaporizing all its bits and pieces.
I just have to wonder how many other government officials are sitting here like I am, one eyebrow cocked, thinking to themselves... ORLY?