Monday, May 24, 2010

Gov't can't do it?

Various articles and news reports recently talk to how "the government doesn't have the expertise to handle the underwater well leak." (Sorry if I've disappointed you, but I haven't put any links to such articles here; you are welcome to use Google or Swagbucks to search them out yourself. Don't know about swagbucks? Neither do I, but it supposedly gives you gift cards from points you get by searching on the internet and other activities; I think I'll check it out after I post this blog.)

Well, take a look at this video of BP engineers (or somebody at BP) remotely modifying the blowout preventer valve a mile beneath the surface of the ocean. Pretty interesting, really, but what I want to mention is this: doesn't this look like something NASA could do? Or even has done, just in the near-vacuum of earth orbit (vs. the tremendous pressure of being a mile down in the ocean)? Point is, it's remotely operated vehicles performing maintenance tasks. I know that frequently the astronauts use spacewalks... but also, frequently, they use remotely operated machines to perform maintenance tasks. Surely NASA engineers and astronauts would be capable of operating these underwater ROVs as easily as operating space-ROVs. In other words, the government DOES have the capability of responding to the underwater well leak, just not in the typical capacity. Thinking "outside the box" affords the experience, capability, and expertise to respond.
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