Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1551560-Space-Blunder
by Light
Rated: E · Short Story · Sci-fi · #1551560
A government run scientific experiment goes very awry.
Space Blunder

J. E. McCarty

         Sue is in her friend Betty’s back yard on a pleasant weekend afternoon. The family has come over for a barbeque on the patio. The children are very actively playing with a popular hologram projection game. Betty’s husband, William, is tending to the barbeque.

         The barbeque has five rotisseries turning, suspended between the infrared micro-diode panels, and smoke is rising off the carbon-silicone heat plate. The lower left rotisserie has chicken on it, because Bert likes fowl flesh.

         Sue takes her I-Page out of her bag, which she has not turned on yet today. She turns it on and downloads today’s local news file. Her son and one of his friends, growing tired of the hologram game, come up and ask if they can read the comics.

         She replies, “I want to read the news, Jeff. Why don’t you use your cell-pod?”

         “Okay, Mom,” he says.

         She looks through some ads. Then, upon checking the editorial page, the title “Space Blunder” catches her eye. She starts reading the article, and calls to her partner. “Harold, here is Crier’s article about the Gov Science Unit messing up again.”

         He responds, “Let me see, Sue. Thanks.”

         He sets down with Sue’s I-Page and begins reading the story aloud.

         “Due to a leak from an undisclosed Mars outpost yesterday, it has become known that another secretive Gov Science Unit project has gone awry.

         “The information that has become available indicates that the Gov Science Unit was conducting a shortcut version of the League of Scientists plan to simulate a star nova on a small scale, to analyze the elements it produces.

         The League of Scientists plans a deep space simulation of the core of a massive star at the time of a nova, on a much smaller scale, by inducing iron fusion, and the intense explosion produced by the collapse of the core, by the introduction of positrons.

         “The influential Gov Science Unit concedes that this experiment is worthy of pursuit. However, they concluded that the approach is too costly and time consuming, and planned and conducted their own experiment.

         “Drilling to the core of a large solid asteroid in the asteroid belt, they made a reinforced enclosure and filled it with the light element mix that would be at the core of a massive star about to go nova. In the center of this mix they placed a thermal-nuclear warhead in an iron casing. They placed indestructible remote sensors in the enclosure at the center of the asteroid.

         “Upon detonating the warhead, there were some unexpected results. In addition to the expected gamma-ray burst and X-ray emissions, the EM pulse was more intense then expected, and was a rapid series of bursts. They caused malfunctions in some asteroid belt satellites, as well as interference for equipment on Mars (The Magne-Brella project is not yet on line) and many satellites in our star system. The cosmic-ray emissions were also greater than expected, and caused disturbances in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

         “The solid asteroid, so far not specified, shattered into many fragments. The fragments are projected to coalesce back together in a month or so. However, the infrared radiation from the asteroid may interfere with the environmental modification project in its early stages on Mars. So, hold off promising your children or grandchildren any Martian property deeds just yet.

         “Jim Goodman, a spokesperson for the Gov Science Unit, stated in a net-mail, ‘The energy levels produced by the experiment far exceeded most predicted levels.’ The data from the experiment is in question, due to most of the indestructible sensors failing.

         “Dr. Ronald Freeman, head of astrophysics at the League of Scientists, was quoted, ‘The most likely reason for the energy levels produced by the Gov Science Unit’s experiment is that the blast was relatively more contained than it would be in an actual nova at the star’s core. The physics involved is very complex and produces a great deal of energy.’ Dr. Freeman also stated, ‘The data from the Gov Science Unit experiment will be tainted due to the heavy metals in the thermal-nuclear warhead, which they probably obtained from the old near Earth asteroid defense system.’

         “The network newsfeed has spiked since this story leaked. Expect a significant amount of media coverage in the next week or so. Investigations seem likely from entities around the globe and the Moon.

         “In closing, this is another incident resulting from the bungling of a League of Scientists proposed experiment by the Gov Science Unit in the interest of saving time and expense, which has produced significantly undesirable results. This seems due, largely, to the Gov Science Unit being a body of bureaucrats, contracting less than the highest qualified scientists for their projects. This blunder was nearly a catastrophe. I plan to send a net-mail to my House Representative about funding requirements for the Gov Science Unit.”

         Harold says, “Sue, I’m glad I turned down that offer to work for them. I could just feel that government bureaucrats and science would be hard to mix.”
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