New developments in waging war from space

State geologists find contaminated water at Fort Wingate purified by explosives-eating bacteria

*A recent study commissioned by the US Congress entitled "Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years" discusses at length how space is destined to become the military installation of the future. As claimed in the report, control of the space between the earth and the moon, where the gravitational pulls are equal, is key to domination. The study reveals that, "who controls circumterrestrial space commands Planet Earth," and "who rules the moon commands circumterrestrial space." The winner will be the country whose military can afford the most sophisticated technology, and can point, aim, and shoot its infra-red laser driven missiles within an accuracy range of fifteen feet or less.

In 1957, the Soviet Union set the pace for space exploration by launching Sputnik, the world's first spacecraft. Space exploration was then coupled with navigation, communication, meteorology, surveillance and military applications. As President John Kennedy said, "No one can predict what the ultimate meaning will be of mastery of space."

During the Persian Gulf War, the world was witness to a war waged from space though satellite technology. Space-based Global Positioning Systems (or GPS) with night and low light vision devices were used. Billions of dollars have been spent on this type of technology. These modern advances in satellite technology help to make life more convenient, with such services as accurate weather forecasting and cloud mapping, instant telecommunication, and radio and television broadcasting. The downside to these modern technological advances is developments like geo-strategic spying from space.

According to a recent article in India's national newspaper, The Hindu , inferior satellite clones are being developed based on United States GPS. The article points out that breakthroughs in space-oriented missile operations are now being developed through commercial enterprises, unlike in the past when secret military research and operations were conducted. The commercial GPS clones could be utilized to target fixed objects with one-meter satellite resolution. The article's author claims that the commercialization of guidance and navigational technologies for cruise missiles, GPS, and satellite resolution imagery could lead to more military-like activities in space by private entities.

Critics, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin in his address to the United Nations on the challenges it is facing in the 21st century, are worried about the militarization of space by both the military and private enterprises.

*State geologists investigating contamination at Fort Wingate, near Gallup, New Mexico, have discovered that the lagoons near the fort are slowly becoming less contaminated, thanks to explosives-eating bacteria found in the water. The state is requiring cleanup in order that the land be returned to Navajo and Zuni tribes.

Fort Wingate was opened in the mid-1800s and was used as a munition depot from 1916 to 1933. Munitions recycling done between 1949 and 1967 left the lagoons contaminated with chunks of TNT and other explosive materials. When geologist Dennis McQuillan and his team from the state Environment Department began searching for the contamination, they found various waste materials which indicated that the bacteria, or "bugs," had been feeding on the explosives. As McQuillan said, "The bugs are getting fed. There's no food other than high explosives."

McQuillan also said that he and his team are now working to find the genus and species of the bacteria, and are investigating whether the bacteria will eat radioactive materials as well as explosives. If so, the bugs may be used at other contaminated sites. Scientists are unsure if the bacteria are simply a mutant of some other bacteria, or were forced to eat the contamination due to famine. Either way, "it's exciting," says McQuillan.


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