Sunday, February 17, 2013

Russian politician theorizes Friday's meteor explosion really a 'U.S. weapons test'

Does the U.S. have the technology to simulate a meteor strike?  Anyone who recalls the novel "Footfall" would know just how devastating a kinetic energy weapon of that type would be.  On Friday, Russian parliament member Vladimir Zhirinovsky theorized that morning's meteor explosion was actually a U.S. weapons test..

According to a report from the government-sponsored outlet Voice of Russia:
Russia’s controversial Liberal leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has blamed Americans for today’s meteorite scare, local media report.

“Those were not meteorites, it was Americans testing their new weapons,” Mr. Zhirinovsky confessed to journalists.
In addition, Zhirinovsky theorized, new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had attempted warn the country about the test. Reportedly, Kerry repeatedly called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but the Washington Post said that Lavrov has been "dodging Kerry’s phone calls for a few days."

Zhirinovsky added:
He was looking for Lavrov, and Lavrov was on a trip. He meant to warn Lavrov about a provocation against Russia.
It's interesting to see such ideas still exist in the minds of Russian politicians.  On the Hal Sparks radio show on Saturday, it was theorized that if the Russian meteor incident that took place on Friday had taken place in the 1980s, we might no longer exist. The reason, it was posited, would have been that Russia would have assumed it was an attack by the U.S., and responded in kind.  One has to wonder about Zhirinovsky.

Admittedly, his idea doesn't sound like reality, but instead the stuff of fiction. For one thing, why would the U.S. perform the test of such a weapon in public, and above Russia?

A kinetic energy weapon is an inert projectile that is used to attack a planetary surface. There is no need to include explosives or nuclear material in the weapon, as the destructive force comes from the kinetic energy of the projectile impacting a target at very high velocities. The concept is often used in science fiction, as in "Footfall" and others.

At the same time, weapon test or not, re-evaluated estimates of the energy released by the meteor say that the incoming space rock released 500 kilotons of energy, or the equivalent of about 30 Hiroshima atomic bombs (15 kilotons). First estimates put the energy in the several kiloton range.

For the purposes of comparison, the world's largest nuclear test of all time was the Tsar Bomba, tested by the Soviet Union in 1961. That weapon release 50 megatons of energy. A megaton is 1,000 kilotons, meaning that the energy released was 100 times that of the meteor explosion.

No comments: