Look, Up In The Sky

Since watching the video today, I’ve been reading as much as I could about the Russian rocket that burned up over the Rocky Mountain States, Thursday.

The beautiful video came from a Denver TV station’s helicopter starting its early morning run aloft. Lucky catch, and well done.

What you see burning up in the atmosphere, the rocket, had only been up since last Wednesday. That doesn’t seem very long.

NORAD says they tracked it all the way. Hey, guys, thanks for the heads up – not!

This rocket was part of the launch vehicle for a French satellite, COROT. Very international – French satellite with six international partners: the European Space Agency (Esa), Austria, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Brazil, launched on a Russian rocket in Kazakhstan. But that’s not the interesting part.

COROT will look for planets, hospitable to life, outside our solar system. There’s a practical idea! What didn’t get funded so this could?

These planets, hopefully around Earth-sized, are too far away to see. We can, however, detect their shadows across the stars they orbit. This is beyond geeky.

I’m sure in the long run, there’s important scientific knowledge to be discerned, but if we find a nice place, it will be much too far to visit. Imagine, a journey taking entire generations. The distant ancestors of the people who decided to go would be the passengers upon arrival.

Not gonna happen.

Someday, COROT too will fall to Earth. Probably a whole less spectacular then.

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