Space Wars

I had a dream, and it troubles me.

I had a dream a couple of weeks ago and awoke knowing I had seen something very disturbing, but couldn’t remember what it was. Then on February 21st I had a lucid dream where I realized that what I was seeing was what I’d seen the previous week. Then I understood why I was disturbed.

It was a scene from a vantage point in space. It was cinematic in quality, big screen, IMAX, at least. I was there.

The troubling part was observing a space vehicle moving up to the space station, then seeing the vehicle suddenly yaw its nose away from the station as if slammed by some powerful but invisible force, followed a split second later by the white paint on the space station charring before my eyes. Not all of it, just the part closest to an out of view source of blistering heat. The curved portion on top of the station was spared; from a thermal radiation standpoint it was very realistic.

Curiously, the station was not the ISS: it was much smaller but the markings on the white paint were clearly U.S.. I overhead two men talking on the coms, supposedly ground control, saying the heart rates of the station occupants soared.

It woke me, and I realized the entire dream sequence had lasted about five seconds, at most. It must have been the sauerkraut from the night before.

But what struck me as startling was the news article the next morning about the Chinese preparing for war in space.

To quote, “Beijing is developing missiles, electronic jammers, and lasers for use against satellites…The Chinese, as well as the Russians, are also developing space capabilities that interfere with or disable U.S. space-based navigation, communications, and intelligence satellites.”

Suddenly, the thought of either space-based or ground-based attacks on manned vehicles or space stations becomes a frightening possibility.

Then tonight I read that a NASA notebook computer containing codes for controlling the Space Station was stolen.

“These incidents spanned a wide continuum from individuals testing their skill to break into NASA systems, to well-organized criminal enterprises hacking for profit, to intrusions that may have been sponsored by foreign intelligence services seeking to further their countries’ objectives,” Martin said. “Another attack involved Chinese-based IP addresses that gained full access to systems and sensitive user accounts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.”

We tend to think of space as a neutral environment where brave souls put their lives at risk to be part of man’s push away from our planet. It is an environment for scientific pursuit. Of course we have raised a generation or two on images of space battles where humans are fighting to preserve humanity. There is lots of death and destruction, but it is heroic in scope and detail. If death can be glorious, then dying to protect Mother Earth from Klingons is a glorious way to die.

But what I saw in those five seconds of searing imagery left me with a profound sadness. I had witnessed, so to speak, the end of our honeymoon in space. Man’s evil nature was reaching way beyond our stratosphere.

I put no stock in dreams, at least not  my own. But that particular dream did serve to increase my awareness of the not-so-subtle signs that man is determined to extend his malevolent reach into what was once considered hallowed ground; the firmament, the very heavens we have for so long dreamed of reaching.

And now we would spoil it.







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