...wait... whoa... just a minute... stop the presses...
...What!? (Face palm). You're kidding, right? Please tell me you're kidding...
...ok... I'm calmer now.
For those of you who remember Tom Lehrer, the musical-political satirist of the 1960s and 1970s, you have to wonder what he would have made of this one. After all, he gave us such memorable songs, like the periodic table of the elements sung to a tune of Gilbert and Sullivan, or "Who's Next?", a musical-comedy look at nuclear proliferation in the 1970s. And who can forget these memorable lines from "The MLF Lullaby":
"Sleep well, my baby, in sleep may you slumber,
no danger lurks your sleep to encumber,
we've got the missiles peace to determine,
and one of the fingers on the button will be German."
Well, my first thought when I read this submission by P.A.I. (many thanks) was "What would Tom Lehrer have done with this?"
Now the headline is much more sensational than the content of the article (this is, after all, RT). What's described in the article is actually a description of a test bed for tracking asteroids:
Hera, named after the Greek goddess of marriage and family, is Europe’s addition to international asteroid defense systems. The contract covers Hera’s design, integration and testing — and OHB will take the helm of a team of companies from 17 ESA member states all aiming for an October 2024 launch.
If all goes to plan, Hera will take up orbit around the remains of the so-called double or ‘binary’ asteroid system of Didymos and Dimorphos, using autonomous navigation systems not too dissimilar from those found in driverless cars here on Earth. The system comprises about 15 percent of all known asteroids.
Dimorphos, the smaller of the two asteroids, measuring about the same size as the Great Pyramid at Giza, will be the target of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, mission scheduled to launch in July 2021.
DART is aiming to smash into Dimorphos in September 2022 in an attempt to deflect it off course as a test run of our planetary defenses.
If all goes well, DART is expected to change Dimorphos’ orbiting speed by about 0.5mms per second and lengthen its orbit by around 200 seconds, but we won’t be able to confirm the success, or failure, of the mission until Hera arrives on scene in late 2026 to conduct a six-month study.
See? Nothing to worry about here... all the Dual Monar... er... The Franco-Germanic Empi... uhm... The European Union are really doing is simply sending up a system to m0nitor how successful NASA's attempt to nudge an asteroid is. (Here's a link to NASA's description of the DART mission, and, gee, that larger asteroid looks... well... symmetrical... no wonder they call it Dimorphos: https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart)
Nothing to see here. Move along. After all, we were told by Dmitri Medvedev a month before the Chelyabinsk meteor incident that Russia wanted international cooperation to build out a planetary asteroid defense system, and that we earthlings could nudge those asteroids aside with thermonuclear-warhead-tipped missiles. And oh look, Europe is interested in helping us Americans by sending up their own satellite to see how successful we were. That's pretty darned nice of them, don't you think?
I don't know about you, but I'm sensing there is something wrong with the whole narrative. I suspect rather that the purpose of these missions might be to find out more about Dimorphos, and just exactly how much they can affect and "steer" that kind of binary asteroid system... provided it is a binary asteroid system.
And even if I'm entirely wrong in that high octane speculation, there's another nasty implication of the article here. If one can steer such asteroids or double asteroid systems by kinetic impact - and of course, one can steer things by mere kinetic impact, just think of billiards - then one can not only steer them to avoid planetary collisions, but to create them. Indeed, NASA's mission and Europe's response seems rather to determine just how minutely and precisely they can do so and that would imply a potential military application, one recalling the Varo edition of Morris Jessup's The Case for the UFO, and Carlos Allende's alleged markings in the Jessup book referring to a great interplanetary war using asteroids for a "great bombardment". Nor is the implication here purely military. There's a commercial aspect to this: why bother going out there and trying to snag an asteroid that you want to mine with a big chemical rocket, when you could just "nudge it" into dry dock, so to speak. "Asteroid, side pocket..."
So, my bottom line here is, I suspect the DART Mission, and Europe's response, is about reconnaissance, and a proof-of-concept test both for defensive and offensive military purposes, and for commercial purposes.
And there's a final implication of the article:
Germany is squarely in the center of the effort.
See you on the flip side...