Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cell Phones Save us from a Meteor


I assume you all heard about the meteor that exploded over Russia on St. Valentine’s Day, injuring over a thousand people. 


I’m going to put a different spin on this and say that digital cameras, dash cams, and iPods and similar devices helped prevent a greater catastrophe.  In the old days, when nuclear missiles in silos and submarines were constantly ready to be launched, and when long-range nuclear bombers could be scrambled at a moment’s notice, the possibility of a misunderstanding setting off a nuclear exchange was a real possibility.  In particular, the fear of an exploding meteor like the one just experienced was openly discussed. 

Consider that with a slightly different trajectory, the meteor could have exploded over Moscow.  Before so many people with handheld or dashboard digital cameras could make such clear, amateur recordings, the Russians might have suspected the worst.  If this happened over the former Soviet Union, missiles or bombers might have been launched in retaliation.  But nowadays these amateur videos with their clear recordings show the object does not look like a nuclear missile.  Scientists in any nation could glance at the recordings and identify the object as a meteor. 

You might reply that even during the height of cold war tensions, the major powers would try to communicate with each other before launching a retaliatory strike.  Fair point.  But this sort of thing could happen a few years from now, when rogue states like Iran or North Korea have credible nuclear missiles.  What would happen if a blast went off over one of those nations? 

To see the best-researched movie on how a nuclear exchange could have gone out of control, watch By Dawn’s Early Light, starring Powers Booth.

2 comments:

Tammy Theriault said...

So scary what happened in such a rural area...

Tammy Theriault said...

So scary what happened in such a rural area...

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