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Indian Army Mistook Planets For Spy Drones

Unknown Lamer posted about 9 months ago | from the alien-invasion-fleet dept.

The Military 143

hackingbear writes "BBC reports that India's army spent six months watching 'Chinese spy drones' violating its air space, only to find out they were actually Jupiter and Venus. Between last August and February, Indian troops had already documented 329 sightings of unidentified objects over a lake in the border region next to China. India accused the objects being Chinese spy drones. The incident even escalated to a military build-up and a stand-off at border between the two countries. Residents of the solar system are glad that India does not possess the capability to shoot down such high altitude objects."

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143 comments

Must be a cracked Veeblefetzer... (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44394477)

in their Potrzebie. They'll need an Axolotl to fix that one...

rehabilitating 50's novelty phrases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394803)

Not sure if troll or Mad Magazine.

Re:rehabilitating 50's novelty phrases? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44395179)

Not sure if troll or Mad Magazine.

If you think I'm going to give away inside information to unethical people such as /. readers, when I'm on to a good thing, you've got another think coming. This could get me some really big zorkmids.

Give credit when credit is due (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44396539)

At the very least they checked with their astronomers, not astrologists, before they took any further action

Just FYI (5, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 9 months ago | (#44394519)

India has nuclear weapons. Sleep tight.

Re:Just FYI (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44394577)

India has nuclear weapons. Sleep tight.

Sometimes it's really comforting to be in a different hemisphere ... but as in On The Beach, we know it'll eventually find its way. :(

Re:Just FYI (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 9 months ago | (#44394653)

'On The Beach' is fiction and is about as scientifically accurate as the average science story in USA today.

Re:Just FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395683)

I don't think it's being stated as a fact, moron.

Re:Just FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394665)

Yeah, like most in the US military know Saturn from Sputnik. Riiiight.

Re:Just FYI (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394925)

With the collaboration of the NSA, now they can identify Uranus.

Just one problem ... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44396627)

With the collaboration of the NSA, now they can identify Uranus

The problem is, until now they have yet to locate their own anus

Re:Just FYI (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395061)

It's not a big deal. I once emptied a magazine at Canopus before I realized what was going on. We've all been there.

Re:Just FYI (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#44395075)

India has more than nuclear weapons. It has nuclear armed neighbors (Pakistan, China) with designs on its territory. One of those neighbors, Pakistan, has fought several wars against India, and has been both a host and sponsor of terrorism against India. Pakistan is riddled with terrorists and faces an insurgency by Islamists of the Taliban flavor for control of the country, and ultimately its nuclear weapons. India is not far from Afghanistan, long a hot bed of extremist Islam and terrorists. India has fought skirmishes against the Chinese army in the past, and Chinese troops have occupied territory claimed by India. India also has an insurgency in part of the country by Maoist guerillas. (That would be Mao as in Chairman Mao, former leader of the People's Republic of China.) There is little distance separating India from Iran. Iran is a major sponsor of Islamist extremists, and terrorism world wide. Iran also has long range missiles, and has been found to have developed plans for a nuclear warhead that would fit their missiles. Iran is currently refining uranium on a growing number of centrifuges. Another neighbor is Myanmar nee Burma, which was reported to be developing nuclear weapons with cooperation from North Korea (which also isn't that far away).

Now India as well as China has long range ballistic missiles: Signs of an Asian Arms Buildup in India’s Missile Test [nytimes.com]. Pakistan has medium and intermediate range missiles.

India is developing a missile defense system: India to have shield from missiles of 5,000 km range [dnaindia.com]

India, as well as China, is buying and building aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines.

Nearly all European nations resist nuclear weapons. Many Europeans and Americans resist missile defense. Europe's defenses have been shrinking massively since the end of the Cold War. The next century may be very interesting indeed. Some may find it humbling.

Re:Just FYI (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 9 months ago | (#44395163)

And yet, somehow, the US still outspends the next biggest spender almost 3 fold, and more than the next 10 biggest spenders. It also is the only country with a missile shield technology that has been deployed and used, several iterations in fact. So where did you get your data from?

Re:Just FYI (3, Informative)

jkflying (2190798) | about 9 months ago | (#44395229)

When you spend $300 for a "hexiform rotational compression device" (AKA 'nut') spending more than everybody else isn't that difficult.

Re:Just FYI (4, Insightful)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 9 months ago | (#44395375)

When you spend $300 for a "hexiform rotational compression device" that conforms to MILSPEC-93-5475-32-J which include requirements of max torque of 132 ft/lbs for 5,000 hours of usage in temperatures ranging from -40F to +130F or be fined $10,000 per failure (AKA 'nut') spending more than everybody else isn't that difficult.

Fixed that for you. Anyone can go to Ace and buy a nut. But if I don't want to get fined $10,000 per failure, I'll hire metallurgists and engineers to make sure the 'nut' I supply exceeds the required specs.

[John]

Re:Just FYI (4, Interesting)

smaddox (928261) | about 9 months ago | (#44396331)

Those are actually pretty lax specs. Any stainless steel nut should do.

Perhaps the $300 nuts are just rediculously large? Like aircraft carrier anchor line large?

Re:Just FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44396781)

India has one advantage over China:

IBM.

Re:Just FYI (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 9 months ago | (#44395137)

India has nuclear weapons. Sleep tight.

It's worse than you feared. India announced just a few weeks ago the development of what they call their "Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator." Word is that they can destroy an entire planet with that thing.

Re:Just FYI (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395339)

So has 'MERICA. About 77 TIMES those of India. And more active ones than the rest of the world COMBINED.

Plus is LOADED with crazy religious extremist lunatics. (Basically, a majority of the population is gravely mentally ill with extroverted schizophrenia and other illnesses.)

PLUS the most heartless dog-eat-dog law-of-the-jungle-glorifying society on the planet. And that has be scientifically shown. It's not just a statement of mine. (My own country was number 3, by the way. But we don't have religion nor nukes.)

Sleep tighter. Glow brighter.

They have the perfect defense against drones (5, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 9 months ago | (#44394529)

They can just request the drone to do the needful and reboot itself into safe mode.

Re:They have the perfect defense against drones (1)

tobiasly (524456) | about 9 months ago | (#44394945)

...to do the needful...

I'm seriously LOLing over here. Thanks for the Friday laugh...

Re:They have the perfect defense against drones (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395129)

After the collect all the details, of course.

I will restrain from comment... (1)

gagol (583737) | about 9 months ago | (#44394543)

Except to say, goverments want us to trust them? How? They are SO stupid!

Re:I will restrain from comment... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44394671)

Except to say, goverments want us to trust them? How? They are SO stupid!

Exactly when are Kang and Kodos going to get here? I don't know how much longer I can wait to welcome our new alien overlords.

Re:I will restrain from comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394719)

Military intelligence? Hahahaha. Yeah right...

Re:I will restrain from comment... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44394781)

Military intelligence? Hahahaha. Yeah right...

Yeah, dumb, but they have very nice hats. The higher up you go the more ostentatious your had can be, with more stars. gold braiding, eagles and laurels. Dang. All I have is this cotton cap from MSU with a Spartan on it and its getting a bit old and needs replacing.

Re:I will restrain from comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394937)

You could try going to a better school where you might get a better hat...

Re:I will restrain from comment... (5, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 9 months ago | (#44394867)

Technically the goverment got it correct. Army officers reported unidentified objects they believed to be drones. A branch of the goverment checked and discovered they were planets. So +1 for goverments versus stupid individuals.

Re:I will restrain from comment... (3, Insightful)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 9 months ago | (#44395035)

I have to say, I was impressed people didn't get slaughtered over the border dispute they had with China recently. Both countries avoided people getting slaughtered over literally a few hundred yards of frozen ground. Something humans thought was normal until quite recently.

So, that's real progress.

But yeah, they have nukes too.

Re:I will restrain from comment... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 9 months ago | (#44394965)

If they got in that position then the ones that elected them shouldn't be very bright neither.

Re:I will restrain from comment... (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about 9 months ago | (#44395111)

Well in this case it was the military. They are quite well know to howl at the moon.
Let me put it to you this way. They require you to follow orders and respect the chain of command. On the other hand the Nuremberg Defense is a thing and will land you in real hot water unless you stick to the party line and get to be tried in a military court. So you are required to follow orders and you will be in trouble if you follow orders which in hindsight prove not to be popular. Which in turn implies to require a certain level of being of two minds while doing one thing and expecting different results while doing the same thing all over.

Joining the armed forces is in my book the very core of the definition of the armed forces. Getting military training and getting out of dodge ASAP propably is the best way to serve your nation if you are interested in being capable of actual defense of the realm. And that is not the same as leaving the forces and prostitute yourself to Blackwater/G4S and other rent-a-nazi fucktard rings.

Walk before you run (3, Insightful)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 9 months ago | (#44394545)

This is what happens when your society tries to leapfrog technological advancements without understanding the stuff that preceded them.

Re:Walk before you run (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44394593)

This is what happens when your society tries to leapfrog technological advancements without understanding the stuff that preceded them.

But nothing is half so dangerous as a madman with The Bomb.

Time to watch Dr. Strangelove again and take copious notes...

Re:Walk before you run (5, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | about 9 months ago | (#44394731)

Time to watch Dr. Strangelove again and take copious notes...

Maybe they should make a Bollywood version.

Re:Walk before you run (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394779)

I would pay to see that. Especially the dance sequence.

Re:Walk before you run (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44394797)

Time to watch Dr. Strangelove again and take copious notes...

Maybe they should make a Bollywood version.

Musical version of Dr. Strangelove, with a lot of exotic dancing? Hmm. Nobody ever accused them of having a decent script, yet.

Re:Walk before you run (5, Funny)

toygeek (473120) | about 9 months ago | (#44394939)

They could call it "Dr. Strangelove does the needful"

Re:Walk before you run (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 9 months ago | (#44396571)

Please intimate me with the details of this cinema.

Re:Walk before you run (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44396751)

Considering the ending, it fit great for a porn sequel.

Re:Walk before you run (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#44394615)

well they did at one point know what planets are..

how did they come to the conclusion that they were in their airspace though, since obviously they had no fucking clue about where they actually were.

Re:Walk before you run (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395565)

I'd imagine it was similar to the time an airline pilot took evasive action to avoid Venus.

The planets look like lights in the sky, which is also basicly what aircraft look like at night.

Re:Walk before you run (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394893)

This is what happens when your society tries to leapfrog technological advancements without understanding the stuff that preceded them.

Yeah...I guess they just lucked into developing perfectly functional nuclear weapons and long range ballistic missiles. Obviously those third world idiots don't actually understand science. /sarcasm

WTF slashdot moderators. How the hell does such an idiotic comment get a +5 for being Insightful. Are all of you so goddamn ignorant of other countries / cultures?

Re:Walk before you run (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395947)

I thought that he was talking about when 17th century Europeans _finally_ got their hands on Calculus and figured out how to design effective cannons, resulting in endless wars

my bad

Re:Walk before you run (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about 9 months ago | (#44396389)

I thought that he was talking about when 17th century Europeans _finally_ got their hands on Calculus and figured out how to design effective cannons, resulting in endless wars

my bad

Yeah, cause there wasn't endless war before that.

Re:Walk before you run (5, Informative)

slew (2918) | about 9 months ago | (#44394921)

People in the society (e.g., India) understand, but of course some people (e.g., messr Singh) was a bit less informed... From the original article...

Army lance naik [wikipedia.org] Sheminderpal Singh — a regular observer at Point 4715 — told the astronomers that he had noticed a delay of four minutes in the appearance of one of the objects each consecutive day. Singh also told them that the object seemed to be the brightest light in the sky and always appeared to move with respect to the stars.

The IIAP team told the Indian Army to use an instrument called a theodolite [wikipedia.org] to record the horizontal angle and vertical elevation of the two objects. Army personnel performed these observations between February 17 and 22 and submitted the data to the IIAP.

The astronomers have concluded that the object observed from Point 4715 is Jupiter as the observations coincide with the planet’s diurnal motion [wikipedia.org] and the apparent motion of the object due to the rotation of the Earth.

The description of the second unidentified object that appeared early in the morning suggests that it is Venus, which is currently moving behind the Sun and will in the coming months appear as an evening object.

The IIAP team said stars and planets over the horizon in Ladakh appear very bright because of increased atmospheric transparency at the high altitude and both Jupiter and Venus at the time were the brightest planets in the sky.

The astronomers also clarified that objects that rise in the east may appear to be moving across the LAC [wikipedia.org] and approaching the Indian side.

Of course venus and jupiter get mistaken for UFOs by many folks [wikipedia.org] from time to time, but inflating the mistakes of an individual, to the group to which they are a member makes for a better tagline...

Re:Walk before you run (5, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about 9 months ago | (#44395547)

In all fairness, if Mr. Singh was from a low altitude and this was his first high altitude posting it's somewhat understandable that he wouldn't recognize the planets for what they were. Jupiter and Venus are really bright at altitude, brighter than he would ever have seen anything that wasn't human in origin. That he noticed a delay of four minutes each day is surprising, and really quite commendable.

Re:Walk before you run (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394931)

Remind me again which countries population was freaking out about a 2012 apocalypse and inundating NASA phone lines, resulting in the need for an actual website to reassure the population that the world wasn't really going to end?

Re:Walk before you run (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395399)

Belgium.

Re:Walk before you run (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395251)

This is what happens when your society tries to leapfrog technological advancements without understanding the stuff that preceded them.

Wait, you seriously think India doesn't understand basic astronomy? Holy shit.

Re:Walk before you run (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395741)

The concept of zero. Mathematics. Algebra. Baskhara. Chess. .... Dr.Chandra Bose. Millenia of sciences, mathematics, philosophy, literature, international and intercontinental commerce, diplomacy to match that, rockets, advanced steel and metalworking, astronomy, waterworks, ... At few of the world's major religious systems. And Buddhism. A few hundred others. The place Europe came to, between the 19th and the 20th Centuries, to try and learn something about advanced philosophy and spirituality.
Between when the US didn't exist yet and still was trying to join east and west. An when the British were still going about in Woat and animal-skins - except those that picked up stuff from Meditarrenean tin merchants up to the Roman invasion - and playing at drug trafficking to destabilize and destroy China, and other Eastern Empires - who focused on stability.

Re:Walk before you run (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395757)

Such as actually dropping a Nuclear Bomb as we did, I suppose? What moral high ground are you talking from? Mountains of dead bodies in Hiroshima or Nagasaki?

Re:Walk before you run (2)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 9 months ago | (#44395823)

Keep talking like that, and they'll take their concept of the number zero and go home. Then we'll be in big trouble.

Shoot them down! (1)

br.blue (697767) | about 9 months ago | (#44394551)

Shoot them down!

Astrology (2)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 9 months ago | (#44395271)

Shoot them down!

That could be dangerous - you'd really get into trouble with the astrologer's union. I doubt "Venus ascends in aquarius and then disappears in a large nuclear fireball shortly before teatime" is something they have a prediction for in their charts. In fact you might force them to just make something up! ;-)

You think that's bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394621)

Well in America, during the '60s people thought that the alignment of Jupiter with Mars meant the beginning of a golden age of harmony and understanding on earth.

Re:You think that's bad (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 9 months ago | (#44394695)

Astrologers as dumb as rocks. But you should report their crazy beliefs accurately. Not like you have to make shit up for them to look very stupid.

'The Age of Aquarius' is about the precession of the earth's orbit.

Re:You think that's bad (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#44394827)

Astrologers as dumb as rocks. But you should report their crazy beliefs accurately. Not like you have to make shit up for them to look very stupid.

'The Age of Aquarius' is about the precession of the earth's orbit.

Well, all the planets experienced peace, but ours. Not a bad track record percentage wise when you think about it.

Re:You think that's bad (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 9 months ago | (#44395417)

'The Age of Aquarius' is about the precession of the earth's orbit.

Are you sure? Which verse mentions that?

Re:You think that's bad (1)

cusco (717999) | about 9 months ago | (#44395555)

You need to take that up with the writers of the musical 'Hair', who wrote the song he's misinterpreting.

Re:You think that's bad (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 9 months ago | (#44395633)

Astrology came first. Then the hippies wrote songs about it. Which is the only thing many people know about the subject. I blame the hippies. /Cartman

Wait a minute... (5, Funny)

RileyBryan (1475681) | about 9 months ago | (#44394645)

Thats no planet, thats a battle station!

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395841)

Thats no planet, thats a battle station!

Turn in geek card you must. Bet you don't know if I'm imitating Yoda or Bangalor, too. Sheesh.

And part time when off the job,.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394655)

they program for America's offshoring to India.

Maybe they should... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44394687)

Maybe they should start outsourcing some job positions to the US.

Re:Maybe they should... (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about 9 months ago | (#44394823)

We pass laws against imaginary Sharia infestations of the sticks, we're not much of an improvement.

Incorrect sensationalist summary (5, Informative)

kaka.mala.vachva (1164605) | about 9 months ago | (#44394735)

Since most won't RTFA - the confrontation didn't happen or escalate over the sightings. That was because the Chinese army setup camp in Indian territory. During that time soldiers reported these sightings, and the army (responsibly) went to the Indian Institute of Astrophysics for confirmation. This won't stop the India bashing of course, but hopefully someone will read this post or TFA.

Re:Incorrect sensationalist summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395151)

So if an alien craft parked itself between Jupiter and earth, would we even know?

Ironically (4, Insightful)

wcrowe (94389) | about 9 months ago | (#44394889)

...from a nation that practically invented astronomy.

Re:Ironically (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395249)

Astronomy was developed by the Babylonians. India invented shitting in a hole.

Re:Ironically (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395379)

Astronomy was developed by the Babylonians. India invented shitting in a hole.

Pity they're not smart enough to actually use their own invention. Ever smelt a street in India?

Re:Ironically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395595)

Astronomy was developed by the Babylonians. India invented shitting in a hole.

Pity they're not smart enough to actually use their own invention. Ever smelt a street in India?

Well a street is basically just a really shallow hole...

What would have happened.. (5, Informative)

abalacha (56157) | about 9 months ago | (#44394977)

I am an Indian - so let me try to fill in the possible missing pieces in the story and the cultural perspective.

First of all the China-India border, especially in Ladakh is very tense with China occupying a border region called Aksai Chin for many decades. The Indian Army soldiers, who are most likely from the plains and who have never seen the sky in all its high altitude glory (we are talking about 15,000 - 20,000 ft altitude here) were likely tasked with looking out at the night sky and see anything 'interesting' - the officer who issued the order must have meant Chinese drones, but by the time the order got to the lookout guy from the officer via the JCO through the sergeant, it must have read look out for something 'bright'. The soldiers were seeing the brightest planets in their lives and obviously had plenty to write in their reports.

Then the sighting reports started pouring in and the officer in charge probably got suspicious and looked out and concluded that the objects were likely celestial. But just to make sure that he is right, he must have ringed up the battalion HQ to get some astronomy duded flown in to get a confirmation. That is probably why the request went straight to Indian Institute of Astrophysics. The astro-dudes flew in, confirmed that they are looking at planets and on their way back talked to a journalist about the incident and how stuuuuuuupid the army guys were.

That, I guess what would have happened.

Re:What would have happened.. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395371)

Problem is India have been wrongfully accusing China for the drones for 6 months and the border for decades. About time to send your apology.

Re:What would have happened.. (1)

cusco (717999) | about 9 months ago | (#44395591)

Thanks for that. You're not kidding at how different the sky looks at altitude. I grew up 1000 feet above sea level, and the first time I saw a black night sky at 14,000 feet altitude I was stunned. I had not imagined that it would be so different. I incidentally also got to see the 1987 supernova that night, but that was just luck.

Re:What would have happened.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395723)

no radar?

There not the only ones to be fooled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395193)

From: http://www.bwcinet.com/thule/4techdr.htm

The single exception occurred shortly after the BMEWS at Thule went into operation. In October, 1960, the moon rose over the horizon directly in line with one of J Site's detection radar beams. The engineers who designed the BMEWS system had apparently not considered that the ultra-high powered radar beams would reach the moon and in about 2 seconds, return to the super-sensitive BMEWS receivers. The resulting returns swamped the MIPS with return information, sending thousands of threat warnings to Cheyenne Mountain. While the angles, speeds, and doppler information did not fit the model algorithms of a real threat, the sheer vastness of the return information overwhelmed the system. The U.S. did not react to the point that we were brought to the brink of war, but the doors to Cheyenne Mountain were closed and locked for several hours while analysts tried to determine the cause of the fiasco. Once it was understood what caused the problem, a solution was quick to come. A modification to the radar receivers, called a "Moon Gater" for its ability to block, or gate, moon returns by shifting receiver frequency every one-and-a-half seconds, was designed by RCA engineers and installed on all the BMEWS receivers. When moonrise was forecast in one of the BMEWS sectors, the Gater was turned on. Every second and a half, the receiver frequency shifted, and the returns from the moon were ignored. The frequency shift caused the receivers to run somewhat detuned, and lights in the DRAM room routinely turned yellow.

When in doubt stellarium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395363)

Hey kids rocks and rolls...Venus has a higher albedo than my libido so be careful when you ride to the chruch in your new tuexedo.

that's because Indians are just stupid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395477)

I don't understand why the Americans feel Indians should ever be the go-to place for technology off-shoring. On average, Indians are just plain dumb. Don't take my word for it -- Indian IQ statistics are in the public domain.

These are the people we outsource to? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 9 months ago | (#44395497)

I know Americans are pretty dumb as it is. But when hicks from the sticks mistake a planet for a drone or a UFO, it's understandable. But I tend to think we would have figured it out before it became a military operation. This is pretty ridiculous.

Moon sets the U.S. into motion (5, Interesting)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 9 months ago | (#44395643)

When the U.S. installed one of the first Radar stations to catch Russian missiles as they came over the hemisphere. The Moon set off one of the first alerts, was a tad too sensitive.

Best cite I can come up with; but a common snicker when I was growing up.
http://nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/issues/accidents/20-mishaps-maybe-caused-nuclear-war.htm [nuclearfiles.org]
"The rising moon was misinterpreted as a missile attack during the early days of long-range radar."

Re: Moon sets the U.S. into motion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44396529)

"The rising moon was misinterpreted as a missile attack during the early days of long-range radar."

That must a been a very long range radar (as in 200000 miles)!

Unsurprising (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395731)

India also can't provide hundreds of millions of its citizens with basic sanitation. Why would its army be any better?

Too much innovation, I tell you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44395801)

In my day, we made do with nothing more than weather balloons, and a few half-size test dummies. Darn whippersnappers!

Key word: spy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44396451)

Spy drones always fly with their lights on. Safety first!

Have you guys *looked* at the sky? (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | about 9 months ago | (#44396525)

I know most of us probably haven't taken a good, long look at the night sky. Most because of light pollution, or from just not bothering to look up.

I've seen planets before. With the naked eye, you know what they look like? Little dots of light, about the size of a star, or a high-altitude aircraft. Saturn is the farthest planet that can be seen with the naked eye, and also the hardest.

Without a telescope, you don't see the rings. Or much else - it's a dot in the sky, like the billions and billions of other dots in the sky. The only easy way to tell the difference between planets and aircraft, from the ground with the naked eye, is by movement - planets move far, far slower. Unless, of course, the aircraft is circling, or even just of a type that can hover (either a aerostat, or a helicopter design).

So yeah, I can totally believe that a squad of soldiers, most of whom were likely born in cities and never grew up with a good view of the night sky, and none of whom are trained astronomers, would find Saturn suspicious enough to report as an "unidentified object".

And, contrary to the headlines, they didn't "mistake it for a drone". A team of military observers observed something, made some requests to see if it was something benign, or a potential threat. The scientists sent back some requests for better information, just to be sure (after all, placing a drone around where a planet would be sounds like a decent idea for camouflage), then reported back "yep, that's Saturn".

Same goes for Venus. Easy to see in the night sky, sometimes even in the day, but not easy to identify unless you were specifically looking for planets. It's commonly seen, but misidentified - our own President Carter did so, for instance.

Planets also *move*. They're not in fixed positions from night to night - they move through the sky. So it's not like spotting constellations, where you just need a point of reference. Knowing where those planets will be takes some pretty complex calculations - figuring out how to do that drove many advances in math.

So yeah. Stop acting like they're morons for not instantly recognizing a planet. I'd wager money that you all wouldn't even spot them in the sky, much less know exactly what they are.

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