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Posts Tagged ‘space shuttle discovery’

Looking up at the innocent night sky, I wonder where is the 600+ pound chunk of unwanted space junk? The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) has served the purpose it was designed for. It flew first class on the shoulders of the space shuttle Discovery in 1991. No passport was needed. No government identification with a photo was requested. There was no charge for excess baggage. It travelled miles and sky-years that no person on earth has travelled.

In 2005, NASA declared it defunct. It could have stayed above circling around in the sea of junk left by space travel, following its own purposes, until it tired. Then it might have slipped under its own weight down into the atmosphere, to its end.

That bright and reflective, complicated piece of machinery had its own vision. It did as it was told but flying at a high speed, imagination took hold. No longer working long hours, spinning through galaxies nor sending information back to earth, the big idea came †o it. “I will just tumble along and see what interests me up here.”

NASA decided it was better for it to make the decisions about its own satellite. It would bring it down slowly and not listen to the desires of a defunct satellite. After all, it was programmed to have a definite life-cycle by NASA and it could be changed by NASA.

And so the UARS is tumbling at speeds over 500 miles per hour to connect with earth. The number of pieces and their weight on entry have been determined using all of the available technology and brains available. The largest of piece will weigh 330 lbs. “Chances are that no person will be hit. There will
be a warning.” The exact day and time cannot be determined until its path is seen. But it is coming.
And it will be exciting for the satellite is deciding where and how its journey will end.

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Who knew?
Trees could be grown, like tomatoes, upside down.
"Growing Trees Upside Down"

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