WWJD – What Would (space) Junk Do?

There�s nothing like a decommissioned NASA satellite, the biggest piece of U.S. space junk to reenter Earth�s atmosphere in 30 years, to excite us.

While some made light of the much maligned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), others half seriously wished upon a star as to where or on whom they wanted it to land. 

News of its plight certainly captured our attention and has made for lively chit-chat, some with tense political overtones � that�s for sure.

After six years of tumbling its way through space, finally the debris made its decent to Earth. Blame it on gravity. At this writing, NASA scientists are still trying to figure out the precise location or locations of the 26 largest pieces of the fallen craft.

Even though the risk to the general public was very remote all along, many were busily drafting their own personal petitions, vendettas and paybacks as to where they wanted the heaviest metal parts to crash land. Some thought Congress would be a fitting spot, while others chided Wall Street. Heaven, forbid!

Throughout the 50-year history of the U.S. space program, no one has ever been injured by space junk.  Even so, the number and length of wish lists grew longer by the minute. Frustrated voters, everyday law abiding citizens and comedians alike participated in the fray. Among their targets were competitors, ex-lovers, former teachers, despised coaches, nasty neighbors and even mothers-in-laws everywhere.

I wonder how some would react if they encountered space debris, which by the way is headed toward Earth every single day.

For those with obsessive compulsive disorders, they would first count, then organize all the many fragments, lining them up into categories and sub-categories and finally naming the groups according to size, color and distinct features.

Tinkerers would find innovative uses for discarded satellites, creating a new fangled what-cha-ma-call-its for man caves everywhere. For goodness sake, wouldn�t this be a good time for someone to remake the Kirby vacuum cleaner?

Opportunists would mount pieces of it on varnished walnut plaques and trophy stands, and then sell them for $99.99 each, including Certificates of Authenticity. Engraving of the buyer�s name would be offered free of charge, excluding shipping and handling, with this limited one-time offer to the first 100 callers to 800-UAR-JUNK in the next 15 minutes.

Wanting to ride the wave of energy and excitement over the space debris, I did some of my own wishing as to where it should land and possible uses. Here�s what I came up with.

Let the space junk fall on�

hunger, wiping it off the face of the Earth,

poverty, ridding the world of it and

apathy, lighting a spark under all those who suffer from it.

May space junk cause�

deaf ears to hear

what�s lost to be found and

the unlucky to win.

I wish space junk would replace�

ruthlessness with humanity,

doubt with faith and

despair with hope.

Let space junk change�

pride to humility,

divisiveness to unity and

darkness to light

May it turn�

pessimism to optimism

heartlessness to compassion and

winter to spring.

Let space junk transform�

failure to success,

discrimination to inclusiveness and

faint pulses to strong hearts.

Finally, I wish for space junk to land on…

reigns of terror, ending violence forever,

evil, purifying it and

war, bringing peace to all.

2011 � Copyright Paula Damon.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at my-story-your-story@blogspot.com and find her on FaceBook

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