“Guess we’ll give it a try,” says Pentagon
“Like hell,” say the Chinese
February 20, 2008
Giving in to pressure that the U.S. prove it can shoot down satellites in space as well as the Chinese, the Pentagon announced that they’ll try to shoot down a defunct spy satellite that they previously said was harmless. President Bush announced last week that the Navy will fire a modified tactical missile at the gizmo just before it reaches earth’s atmosphere and knock it down into the ocean. The Chinese say the U.S. will miss and start an accidental war in space. Experts are debating whether attempting to blow up the satellite is a good idea.
“We’ve had bits of space stuff falling out of orbit and disintegrating in our atmosphere or falling on Australia in the past and have never given it much thought,” said social scientist and Trix eater, Jimmy Jeff, doubling as a security advisor. “But we’ve decided that since we have missiles that are supposed to shoot stuff in space and the Chinese took out one of theirs last year, that we should take out one of ours this year. That and we need to eliminate a potential disaster of Biblical proportions that we dismissed last month as being trivial.”
China reacted angrily to the plan and has warned the U.S. against destroying the satellite. “The U.S. is threatening peace and security in outer space by firing weapons at their own equipment,” said Wi Bin Spying, a Chinese diplomat who enjoys Fresca and playing ping pong with the heads of dissidents. “Just because they figured out it would land in Outer Mongolia and we’d be able to dissect it and learn their secrets isn’t a good reason for them to destroy it. We’re already supplying all the parts to their new space technology anyway. We’re the low cost supplier they count on for crying out loud.”
The Pentagon announced last week that the U.S. decided to shoot down the disabled spy satellite before it enters the atmosphere to prevent a potentially deadly leak of toxic gas from the vehicle’s fuel tank. U.S. officials said they were not trying to protect classified information on the satellite or to demonstrate their capabilities to China, which downed one of its own satellites with a missile last year, drawing criticism from Washington. According to James Jeffries, deputy national security adviser, the U.S is taking the action because of the likelihood that the satellite could release much of the more than 1,000 pounds (454 kg) of hydrazine fuel as a toxic gas. China doesn’t buy what Jeffries is selling.
“If this satellite is shot down, the toxic fuel will still be there. Therefore, the pollution still exists,” said Li Bin, an arms control specialist at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, said “Relevant departments of China are closely watching the situation and working out preventative measures.” Insiders say the Chinese message was somewhat unclear and that the “preventative measures” could mean shooting the U.S. missile attempting to shoot down the satellite, or increasing the use of condoms when engaging in sexual activity.
In related news, consumer activist and part-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, says spy satellites are inherently dangerous and should all be destroyed because sometimes we find out stuff that makes us uncomfortable. “No one wants to be uncomfortable,” he was reported to have said. “I’ve adopted the ‘Ignorance is bliss’ attitude. That’s how I get by.”
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