Monday, February 16, 2009

Fortean fireball weekend

I guess that's what happens when you stay inside in the morning and tap away at the laptop. You miss the flaming space junk raining on the Sunday morning marathoners outside.

Local news reports:

Mystery fireball streaks across Texas sky
Updated: 2/16/2009 7:40 AM
By: News 8 Austin Staff

The U.S. Strategic Command said Monday that the weekend shower of fireballs over Texas was not debris from last week's collision of two satellites over Siberia. They said it was a natural phenomenon.
(((We still have a Strategic Air Command? I thought it was "disestablished as a MAJCOM" in 1992. Nothing reassures like a denial from a nonexistent agency*...)))

What looked like a fireball streaked across the Texas sky Sunday morning, leading many people to call authorities to report seeing falling debris.

Preliminary reports from Williamson County officials said a small aircraft went down, and then officials said it was likely space debris from two satellites crashing.

(((Williamson County is north suburban Austin, home of Dell computer, endless new suburbs, and plenty of actual Texas farms and ranches.)))

The Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday that it received numerous reports across Texas of falling debris and they are uncertain what the fireball in the sky was.

FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said officials initially suspected the debris could be related to the collision, but he said that had not been confirmed.

News 8 received numerous calls saying debris was falling around midmorning Sunday, what looked like a meteor. Some of the callers reported what looked like a fireball in the sky.

Williamson County officials combed the area in a helicopter searching for any trace of a small aircraft landing, but were unable to find anything.

((("Hey, sheriff, I think that there lid on that thang is startin to unscrew like all by itself.")))

The FAA notified pilots on Saturday to be aware of possible space debris after a collision Tuesday between U.S. and Russian communication satellites.

The chief of Russia's Mission Control said clouds of debris from the collision will circle Earth for thousands of years and threaten numerous satellites.

(((How very Ballardian of them — orbital ruins! Ozymandias monuments of the Cold War superpowers. Like the opening of the second act of Kubrick's 2001, but with all the space stations and satellites dead, The Blue Danube replaced with some more suitably entropic fugue.)))

The debris field from the collision is described as huge, but scientists are still trying to determine the full scope of the crash.

News 8 Austin photojournalist Eddie Garcia caught the fiery streak in the Central Texas sky Sunday morning.

The people running were not running from the fireball. They were actually running the Austin Marathon.

(((Yeah, right, we know they were running from the zombies.)))


The U.S. Strategic Command said it is not debris from last week's crash between U.S. and Russian satellites.
(((No, it's debris from our secret war with the aliens.)))

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said they don't know what the fireball in the sky was.
(((First-rate big budget viral marketing for the new season of 24, which postulates a sinister African dictator who captures a device that allows him to magically hack any infrastructure system and cause plant spills and mid-air plane crashes. Keep fear alive!)))

The debris field from the collision is described as huge, but scientists are still trying to determine the full scope of the crash.
(((Just imagine the redneck who's still digging up tiles from Space Shuttle Columbia, walking out Sunday morning to find space junk carrying the Andromeda Strain smoldering in the ditch. So that's where the zombies are coming from...)))

I look forward to the singer-songwriters of this "live music capital of the world" to come up with some suitable Texas-centric remakes of the prescient song from Devo's first (Spacelab-era) album:

Space Junk

she was walking
all alone
down the street
in the alley
her name was sally
she never saw it
when she was hit by
space junk

*(((Correction, it's not S.A.C., but the new U.S. Strategic Command, our "Leaders in Strategic Deterrence and Preeminent Global Warfighters in Space and Cyberspace." )))

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