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NASA tried to turn Earth into Saturn using copper wires

Posted By Vamien McKalin On August 13, 2013 @ 12:37 PM In General Tech | No Comments

space_debris [1]

Due to the U.S. success in successfully landing a man on the moon, some of its failed space exploits have fallen off the radar, but as usual, nothing stays hidden forever. Did you know the U.S. attempted to wrap a ring of copper wires around the Earth? Yes, this happened and it failed, though there were signs such a feat could have worked out.

The plan here was to create an emergency communication system, so the U.S. looked to the skies and thus attempted this strange idea. The folks behind this idea are a team of MIT scientists, who thought they could wrap thousands of miles of copper wires around the Earth without hiccups. According to a Wired report, the team called it Project West Ford, and if it had worked, it would have served as a giant antenna.

NASA sent the first set of wires into space in 1961, however; it failed to deploy and therefore, all wires were left as space junk spewing around in orbit. NASA tried a second time to get this thing up and running two years later, this time, it worked for a short while. The wires were dispersed between the South and North Poles, after doing so, tests showed the team could have actually sent and receive radio transmissions.

At the end of the day though, the copper wires began falling apart and the idea failed a second time. NASA didn’t attempt a third try as the U.S. came up with communication satellites that were capable of serving the same resolution.

It’s probably a good thing this copper wire ring around the Earth plan failed to work out. If it had, improvements in technology would see NASA attempting similar projects on a broader scale that could turn out to be dangerous for us on the ground.

[via Wired [2], image via India Times]


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[1] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/space_debris.jpg

[2] Wired: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/08/project-west-ford/

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