Sunday, February 17, 2008

Is Poland in danger from exploding US spy satellite?


The Polish ministry of defense has gathered a special task force together after George W. Bush ordered a crippled US spy satellite be shot down. The resulting toxic fumes will rain down on central Poland. Are Poles in danger? Hmm...

The TVN Fakt news program, which ran the story first item on Friday evening, said the resulting fumes from the fuel onboard could be a threat to our health! So the government is getting organized - just in case.

A satellite launched in 2006 by the US immediately mis-functioned and has been staggering around in a wobbly orbit ever since.

The Whitehouse finally ordered it be shot down sometime next week, so worried are they, apparently, that the lemon satellite will have an ‘unpredictable re-entry’ next month and come crashing down on someone’s house, or head, and unleash kiloliters of the dangerous, ‘highly toxic’ rocket fuel hydrazine.

Blimey! Worse – experts in this type of thing have worked out that after the US zaps the satellite the resulting vapor trail of scary hydrazine will be sprayed over an area covering central Poland.

Don’t p..p..panic!

So how lethal is hydrazine? The Theoretical and Physical Chemistry Lab says on its web site that it is “Harmful if inhaled or swallowed.” Wikipedia, via the Technology Transfer Network Air Toxics Web Site (for it is they) says:

Individuals may be exposed to hydrazine in the workplace or to small amounts in tobacco smoke. Symptoms of acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of hydrazine may include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, and coma in humans. Acute exposure can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system in humans. The liquid is corrosive and may produce dermatitis from skin contact in humans and animals. Effects to the lungs, liver, spleen, and thyroid have been reported in animals chronically (long-term) exposed to hydrazine via inhalation. Increased incidences of lung, nasal cavity, and liver tumors have been observed in rodents exposed to hydrazine. EPA has classified hydrazine as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.

Crumbs! That’s scary!

But wait a minute. The US government's Air Toxics Index notes that:

Accidental discharge into water, air, and soil may occur during storage, handling, transport, and improper waste disposal. However, hydrazine rapidly degrades in the environment and is rarely encountered.

“Rapidly degrades...”? And the World Health Organization says:

Hydrazine is degraded rapidly in the air, through reactions with ozone, hydroxyl radicals, or nitrogen dioxide. In polluted air, the life-time will be approximately 1 hour.

Rapidly degrades? In one hour?

So if the US blows up the satellite as planned at 250 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, the resulting vapor is going to be extremely dispersed and ‘rapidly degrades’ anyway. By the time any of it gets down to Earth it won’t be any danger to anyone - except, maybe, a very small beetle, with an asthma complaint and nervous rash.

So why exactly has the Polish defense ministry got together an emergency task force to plan for the end of Poland as we know her on March 16?

And why, for that matter, is the Bush administration ordering shot down the old banger of a satellite in the first place?

The Whitehouse has been ‘shocked’ that many are saying the orbiter is not really any danger to anyone, and that the Pentagon is simply doing what the Chinese did last year when they tested out a missile system especially designed to shoot down spy satellites.

“But it’s a health and safety issue,” the Pentagon bleats, lamely. But few believe them. Few believe anything the Whitehouse says anymore, somewhat wisely.

And the ‘emergency task force’ scrambled together by the Tusk government? Another sign, if we needed it – which we most certainly don’t – that maybe they have too much idle time on their hands.

46 comments:

S M said...

The shootdown is the way to control where this 'school bus' size object will crash...
into the ocean and not into some city.
and, yes, it is a great test of the weapon system.

Anonymous said...

The satellite is not an old one, it was launched in 2006 and almost immediately went dark.

Certainly the US decision to shoot it down is the responsible course of action.

beatroot said...

Sorry but I think I indicated this:

A satellite launched in 2006 by the US immediately mis-functioned and has been staggering around in a wobbly orbit ever since.

Well, I think it gives a clue...

beatroot said...

The shootdown is the way to control where this 'school bus' size object will crash...

Don't you think it might...you know...burn up...a little bit...on re-entry? What happens to a space ship returning to earth and it gets the angle of the craft just a fraction of a degree out when it is re-entering? It goes BBBGHYTRDHKKLHFHBKLOHGHKLJJH

...boom!

Do you think the satellite might just by a flook, get the angle right, then?

Anonymous said...

In style, I bet Poland will scramble all the new F-16's during the time in question

beatroot said...

What style? When have they ever done that kind of thing?

You are mssing the point. The government is acting like this is some great action by them to give the appearence that they actually DOING SOMETHING.

But they are not and there is no risk.

beakerkin said...

This is more mindless hysteria from the salon set. The mathematical odds of any danger to Poland are off the scale.

You are far more apt to get food poisoning from your poorly compensated neoserfs in the local salon than falling space junk. If Geez is making minimum wage, he's over paid.

beatroot said...

And it was going so well...

As usual - you are off on a tangent. What has this got to do with the 'salon' set?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that the hysteria is overblown. The destruction of the satellite before it hits the atmosphere is a good idea because a larger object *does* have a better chance of hittingthe ground/ocean intact which would then expose the hydrazine a bit more. As a bunch of small pieces it will ensure that everything burns up more effectively.

Don't get me wrong I would bet that the US government is happ to test out some system, but I think the reaction to this as some kind of conspiracy (not by beatroot, but others) is stupid.

luridtraversal said...

Hey Beaktwat. Only "stakeholders" should be able to comment on this!!! Since the satellite is going to fall on Poland, you have no business commenting or pointing anything out!!! And I'm still keeping my US citizenship.

But Beatroot... I think you're a little off the mark. I know that you think that the govt. is trying to LOOK like they're doing something, but if they didn't do anything, and on the off chance that something DID happen, they'd be screwed big time. Basically I think they're covering their bases, and making sure that everyone knows they're "on the ball". It's kind of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't thing".

Dying said...

Stupid reaction? If I am announced that bad gases will be sent to my house by another person, I'd rather do something about it.
No one has been able to explain Beetroot why can't the satellite controllers just let it disappear -like all the other satellites- when entering the earth surface. Does it have to targeted and shot down?

Why Poland? :(

Can't the US "experts" make the thing (or the remains) fall into some vast ocean or desert?
May the force be with the Poles!

beatroot said...

Lurid
How can you 'cover one's arse' to a threat that does not exist? The government are just bullshiting...

luridtraversal said...

Very easily if you're the government...you create a "possible threat" and then proceed to look like you're "on top of it". I actually agree with you on the whole thing, but I just think Tusk & co. is trying to look like they're prepared and doing something. That's all. Like the U.S. does in many of our new "policies".. :)

beatroot said...

So we are agreeing.

This is typical of governments in the UK, where I come from. They know there is no threat. But they have to be seen as 'doing something'. In control. By doing this, they increase any hysteria there already is about the subject - I am thinking about the green lobby here - and then announce far reaching, and ultimately useless plans, to fix a threat that either doesn't exist, or their self important plans will not address anyway.

It's a PR stunt.

And Bush is a bad, smurking liar.

beatroot said...

By the way, the ministry of defense was the source that intriduced this story here.

luridtraversal said...

As long as the satellite doesn't drop on Szpital Bielanski when my kid is being born...that's all I care about!!!

beatroot said...

When is that?

luridtraversal said...

Any day now...if not in 8 more days, they're going to induce her. She should have had it yesterday, but nothing yet. Mieszko doesn't want to come out I guess!!!

beatroot said...

Mieszko?

Are you sure?

But you must tell us when s/he comes and then I will do a post about how every human being born is precious and why the Green party won't be sending you a congradulations card.

But I will!!!!!

luridtraversal said...

Yes, we're sure. We wanted to go with a unique name... :) Although I've actually met another guy in my work building named Mieszko. So he won't be the only one. And don't worry, I'll be looking for an excuse to tell people!!! We're just hoping to get the 1000 PLN from PZU within 6 months!!! I really like the name Mieszko. There's too many Mikolajs and Andrzejs, and Pawels...they're nice names, but I'm a big fan of unique (barring naming your kid a city or fruit that is) names...

beatroot said...

OK. But his second name has to be 'Luridtraversal'.

Now quick - we have to say something to get this thing back on topic - otherwise I can't beat Beakothing when he goes on his commie red herrings....or red commie herrings...under the bed...

luridtraversal said...

you have Gadu Gadu or anything...

And I would also like to say that this will somehow turn into a scandal for the government here. Somehow I'm sure it will. Maybe Kaczynski can call someone else in the middle of a meeting and ask for an update!

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Bush is just a twat going around Africa and the middle east making a fool of himself. All this dull nonsense of trying to create a 'legacy' is deeply dull.

This sat shot is just another one of these cheesy stunts. Same goes for Tusk.

10:59 PM

michael farris said...

If it comes to unique Polish names for boys, you can't go wrong with Polikarp or Świętopełk.

Of course, the kid may never forgive you.

luridtraversal said...

hehe. I think we'll stick with Mieszko. My first choice was Miroslaw!!! But my mother-in-law threatened to kill me! And with Mieszko, I'm sure I'll have a lot of explaining to do, but I personally think it's a pretty cool name. Polikarp??? Wow. That's a rough one.

geez said...

BR, you got it all wrong.

The gas in the space station is nitrous oxide.

It's the reward Poland is getting for the missile base.

Whip-it good.

Damien Moran said...

But isn't the actual bleedin' potential range of the satellietubbie-lite between Sweden and the Antartic? It's such a f***in farce that this is such a big news story.

And I'm surprised nobody has commented that they also want to blow it up so nobody finds it in one piece, puts it on the back of his tractor, drags it home to the barn, gadu-gadus Ahmadinejad, gets a private Ryanair plane to fly him to Tehran and passes on the secret spy technology to the mullahs - thus consequently receiving a fatwa being issued against him by His Royal Highness Lech K. for betraying the nation by consorting with them islamicaliststists way over there in that country we know SFA about.

Surely this is the real reason why they are going to take it out? Or maybe I'm just bonkers!

Renegade Eye said...

It's covered in the US, in a matter of fact manner. All they say is a defective satellite will be shot down.

Salon set?

beakerkin said...

Beatroot

There is no mathematical model to predict where the debris will fall.
This is hysteria is just stupid even by your low standards.

You should ask the neoserfs to increase the amount of gin.

Anonymous said...

Beetroot - that is exactly what I meant by their 'style' - ridiculous and meaningless over reaction to an event that is a non starter. They are always as we say - a day late and a dollar short, not the sharpest knives in the drawer and it is a shame. The Polish people deserve better but voted them all in so, I guess citizens get what the deserve. (I do generally support PO but they are having a hard time getting traction, the road they are on has been made slippery by decades of their predecessors 'work')

beatroot said...

True, but I get the feeling that they either were not prepared for power, or, there is more conflict within the coalition than we realize.

varus said...

conflict within a coalition, no it can't be possible.

This brings us back to the fact that PR is an arse system of government and should be got rid of ASAP.

As far as the sat goes, my gut feeling goes with the missile test idea, as near space is full of fifty years worth of junk, but we don't see much being done about it.

geez said...

Harkening back a bit...

Brits out of tune with rest of Europe...

Europeans back Obama, Brits Clinton:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f3eeaaa8-dd86-11dc-ad7e-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

Anonymous said...

Far better for our health in Poland if the Polish ministeries would concentrate on reducing particulate pollution from coal burning and the diesel engine!

To think we are in danger from this satellite burning up is crazy!

Let's put some reality into the real reasons for bad health due to pollution of Poland's atmosphere and do something about it.

John ,Poznan

varus said...

Geez, when have Britain and Brits been in tune with Europe? :)

Brits would choose the other guy (or girl in this case) just to be different, and i should know!

Seriously though, Brits are generally a traditional people and would rather go with something they know, rather than experiment with a new guy. Clinton is something quantifiable and somewhat safe. The previous clinton administration was generally good for Britain, and so 'lets have another one of those' .

pinko said...

Does anyone not think this is just an exercise in softening up the collective psyches of the Polish general public "chicken-licken style" into thinking 'maybe we do need a tarcza antyrakietowa over our heads after all'?

Certainly would seem to suit the agendas of the current govts in the US and Poland....

jannowak57 said...

Had Poland not procrastinated on the anti-missile system it could now be resting easy knowing that it was well defended against such a treat. No matter some good may come of all this, rumours have it, that its trajectory is straight for Warsaw likely to impact directly on the “salon” itself……….no loss.

Geez, do you really think Obama’s going to raise the minimum wage? Just like a liberal when you boil it all down it’s really about what’s in it for me. Try and stay on topic numb-nuts.

geez said...

Hehe. Now you're starting to echo the saddest of the sad, 57.

... "the salon," suggesting I only make minimum wage (so what if I do?)...

And really, start worrying about frozen shit falling on your head from airplanes. That's more of a threat than the satellite. And only because shit impacting with shit will cause a fatal shit storm that will harm others.

Warmest regards as always...

jannowak57 said...

Question - What is the difference between a liberal and a puppy?
Answer -A puppy stops whining after it grows up.

Question - What is the only thing worse than an incompetent liberal President?
Answer -A competent liberal President.

Question - Who was the first liberal Democrat?
Answer -Christopher Columbus. He left not knowing where he was going,got there not knowing where he was,left there not knowing where he’d been and did it all on borrowed money.

beatroot said...

geez/jan
:-))))))))

geez said...

Q: What's the difference between a porcupine and car full of rightwingnumbnuts?

A: A porcupine has pricks on the outside and they serve a useful purpose.

jannowak57 said...

Q: When does a liberal come out against illegal immigration?
A: When he has to learn another language to tell others how tolerant he is.

Liberal -- Someone who proclaims horror and disgust at his own position once you explain in detail what he supports. (Try this with homosexuality for maximum entertainment value).

Liberal -- Someone whose tolerance requires them to not tolerate an opposing view.

Liberal -- Someone who proclaims that dissent is patriotism, but stomachs no dissent from liberal positions.

Liberalism -- In foreign policy, the theory that you can win any war by running quickly away from your opponent.

geez said...

Very original and witty.

beakerkin said...

Hey morons where is the chunks of steel falling on Poland. Funny but the salonista Beatroot did not seem to concerned about China's test. This is more example of brain impaired anti American paranoid blather from a gin soaked fantasy life of Beatroot.

beatroot said...

a gin soaked fantasy life of Beatroot.

I like gin and tonic. But gin soaked is a little over doing it...as BeakoFreak is want to do. sad he can;t get through one post without some dumb personal insult.