A few days ago I blogged about an unusual negotiation between Japan and the USA to monitor "space debris"... or, space "whatever," a blog that was based on an article in a Chinese news service (presumably of Communist, not Nationalist, China). There I pointed out that one of the unusual points about the negotiation was that one provision apparently was to cover both countries monitoring "space ships" and reporting their data to each other:
"But there is that “second interpretation” that hovers over the words “Japan and the United States on Monday held their first meeting of the Comprehensive Dialogue on Space and agreed to cooperate in monitoring ships from space, local media report.” The phrase “ships from space” is just barely ambiguous enough to tolerate the meaning “terrestrial space capsules”, but it is also ambiguous enough to mean “ships from elsewhere” and indeed, most speakers of English would take it in this last sense, as an oblique reference to…
"… UFOs." (Emphasis in the original. Read more: JAPAN AND USA SIGN AGREEMENT TO MONITOR SPACE DEBRIS... OR WAS THAT SPACE SHIPS? )
This followed, of course, in the wake of the "meteor" that exploded above the major Russian city of Chelyabinsk, and stories that began to surface (in the Russian media!) that the meteor may have been shot down by "someone." All this occurred about one month after former Russian Federation President Dmitri Medvedev made a statement to the effect that Russia was going to build its own asteroid defense system. The Chelyabinsk meteor and its alleged deliberate destruction was thus viewed by some - and I entertain the suspicion myself - as a "demonstration of capabilities."
Well, now NASA is getting into the act with proposals for a Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids and exploration, or DE-STAR:
"UC Santa Barbara physicist Philip M. Lubin and California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo researcher Gary B. Hughes have unveiled plans for DE-STAR (cough, cough), or Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids and exploRation. The system, they say, could slowly vaporize earth-bound rocks over the course of as much as a year. From a UC Santa Barbara news release (emphasis mine):
"'Described as a 'directed energy orbital defense system,' DE-STAR is designed to harness some of the power of the sun and convert it into a massive phased array of laser beams that can destroy, or evaporate, asteroids posing a potential threat to Earth. It is equally capable of changing an asteroid's orbit –– deflecting it away from Earth, or into the Sun –– and may also prove to be a valuable tool for assessing an asteroid's composition, enabling lucrative, rare-element mining. And it's entirely based on current essential technology.'"(See Proposed Asteroid-Destroying Satellite Sounds An Awful Lot Like A Death Star, My thanks to Ms. P.H. for this story).