Monday, October 04, 2004


The Day US Supremacy was Only Second Best

A day like today 47 years ago, the whole world had chance to hear, over radio and TV news programs, the first beep-beep of a man-made satellite in space. Scientists and engineers of the Western world were in shock. The Russians, the reds, the commies, had taken the virginity out of space travel. There had been an atom bomb, a hydrogen bomb and a powerful weapon called V-rockets, but in contrast with those weapons of mass destruction, this was the first invention born without a directly lethal purpose. That was until spy satellites and star wars devices came along. I was only 13 years old then, living in Miami, but I still remember the awe and debate which arose in our eighth-grade class. It was long before I knew what socialism and communism was all about, yet I felt such satisfaction that US supremacy had failed where underestimated Russian science had excelled. After all, I had already seen in movies, the press and on TV what American bombs had done to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one year after I was born. A new era was being born with incredibly good and bad consequences for the human race. The globalization process took giant steps forward by multiplying telecommunication options, bringing a world unknown out of the shadows and into the light, making distances so short as the movement of your hand to dial a phone number. The planet was something more than the United States, Europe and Japan. Knowledge and research results spread like wildfire. Even ferocious transnational corporations or hegemonic powers cannot prevent the truth from being known any more. According to Cuban scientist J. Alvarez Pomares, guest in Reinaldo Taladrid´s popular Sunday TV Program: Passport to the Unknown, the sputnik (it means travel companion in Russian) put into orbit by the former Soviet Union was very small, weighing a few pounds. Almost half a century later, there are 5,000 tons of metal debris orbiting in space at fantastic speeds of almost 20,000 miles per hour. This means that a piece the size of a marble might do the same damage as a heavy half-a-ton safe falling from a 10-story building. Only one company, the ATT has over 20 Intelsat satellites hovering the earth, military sats are capable today of detecting a softball from a height 22,000 miles up and tracking every move or conversation of persons and vehicles all over the world. A complex network of radars is responsible of keeping track of every particle of metal, operational satellite or space station, so they won´t hit any rocket launched or device put into orbit. There is a new project of an orbit lift, held by plaited giant wires, inside of which persons or satellites can be lifted to orbit without the launching of rockets, held to one point on the equator. This plan already in the stage of feasibility studies may prevent contamination from burning fuel, leaving no debris and much more secure. The catch is there are only a few places in the earth´s equator from which such a lift can be built. Alvarez Pomares even believes this elevator can become operational in about 20 years. Four years after the sputnik, there was another “first” for the USSR, the first man to orbit the earth and return alive after something more than an hour. Four decades after these momentous events, the situation changed radically. Russia cannot surprise us now, or challenge Washington´s arrogance, to mankind´s sorrow. Her wings were cut by the Western powers, but there still is China and India, which have come to achieve notable scientific development. Anyway, let´s just hope that scientific goals prevail over the military, that will only take us to global destruction.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?