Thursday, February 14, 2008

Uh oh. There's a gun on the space station. It's not doing anything, mind you, it's just sitting quietly minding its own business in a Soviet survival kit, where it has been since the darn thing was launched. But that doesn't sit well with the gun-fearing crowd.
Former NASA engineer Jim Oberg, who is an author and journalist, wrote about the gun on his Web site. He said the gun has no place in an environment where people are under such high stress.
"There have been cases of severe psychological strain on people in space, strain that they have taken out - that their shipmates worried about the ultimate actions," Oberg said.
If I am floating 200 miles up in space, and I am worried about my shipmate's ultimate actions, I think a bigger concern would be that he might open the door. Oddly, Oberg even admits as much, but still he's worried about that scary-ass gun:
Oberg knows an astronaut bent on orbital manslaughter could simply throw any number of switches to do the job, but he said the crews would be safer if the gun was locked up or left on Earth.
You have to laugh that this is the sort of thing some people find worrisome, and laugh that this is the sort of thing other people consider "newsworthy."

Update: The more I ponder this whole thing, the more ridiculous it becomes. If a gun is somehow inherently dangerous among six people in space, wouldn't it be a threat to far more people if it were to be "left on Earth" as Oberg recommends?


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