Wednesday Three-fer

Posted: February 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

A space shuttle, a lunar eclipse, and an out of control sattelite. How many times has this happened on the same day? This is interesting to me: Three major events are happening on the 3rd day of the work week of 2-20-08. 2+2+8=12. 1+2=3. Are the three horsemen of the appocolypse appearing tonight?

Shuttle landing
We’re all so 21st century now that probably most of us don’t give much thought to the accomplishment of bolting a plane to some really massive rockets and then throwing it out of our planets atmosphere and eventually have it turn around and land safely back on our planet. That happened today at 9:07 AM EST which I think was a pretty damned good idea since the Navy will be taking pot-shots at the out of control sattelite with missles on the same day.

Lunar eclipse
This isn’t rare. It happens every two or three years. See? The number three again. Astronomy is one of my favorite subjects. I rarely miss events like this but this time all of us in this part of the state will miss out because it’s raining. We can’t even see the sky. I can live with missing a single lunar eclipse (what’s two or three years?) but this time I wanted to take my telescope out and see if the rings of Saturn, which is positioned to the right of the moon in our field of vision right now, were visible using what I have.

Hydrazine-laden sattelite on collision course with Earth
It doesn’t get much more newsworthy than this: A U.S. spy sattelite carrying a deadly fuel loses power, plunges back to earth and has to be shot down with missles by the Navy. Apparently it’s happening tonight. They’re going to try anyway.

As I understand it, the threat seems to be less than the 1908 Siberian Meteorite but more serious than when everyone was expecting a part of Skylab to land on their house in the 70’s.

If the fuel tank on this sattelite is as small as they say it is and hydrazine is as flammable as I’ve heard it is, why wouldn’t it burn out upon entry in the atmosphere? Maybe it is just too encased inside the sattelite and would be the last of the parts exposed.

I can’t wait to find out how this turnes out. As you know, if this is successful we should be able to intercept any incoming missle attack from another country from now on. And by the way, do you think this was just a malfunction of one of our sattelites or a sacrificial piece of equipment used to test our ability to take out other spy sattelites?

  1. laanba says:

    I just love you Greg. You are my kind of guy.

  2. catrina says:

    I have never seen a lunar eclipse before! Can you believe that!? It was cloudy that night, but I did manage to get a great look at the eclipse. Beautiful with our smoggy clouds…It really was!
    I went to the CDC website yesterday to find out what noxious gas we are all inhaling from that sattelite.

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