Rise of the Machines.A robotic space plane launched from Cape Canaveral at 7:52 p.m. tonight, and god knows what that even means. The X-37b is a small unmanned orbiter that can stay in space for up nine months at a time and glides down to a runway landing like some eerie 2010 version of, say, a 1970s space shuttle. Nobody will say what it’s doing or why it’s up there.

This project isn’t run by NASA, but by the Pentagon. No wonder the NASA people are so ticked off these days.

Drone craft kill the brown people our government doesn’t like and mysterious new pilot-free space planes zoom around the Earth, waiting for a signal. The Time of the Robots is here. The recruiting storefronts in the half-empty strip malls should be going the way of Bed Bath ‘n Beyond pretty soon now. [Associated Press/Christian Science Monitor]

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  1. This is a great way to deploy unpredictable surveillance platforms. Satellites run in predictable 90 minutes orbits, so you got plenty o’ time to cover up what you don’t want seen. This thing can’t be predicted, so you have a much better chance of seeing stuff.

    Couple this with the X-51 Hypersonic Prompt Global Stike Platform, it’s a really good combination. For bombing teh browns, like we always do.

  2. [re=562649]Dashboard_Buddha[/re]:
    Are you kidding?

    Knowing the Pentagon, it’s probably intended to be Terminator but ends up to be Wall-E. I’d say that Skynet is probably one of those Paul Spambots.

  3. So which way will Foxfux go with this?
    1. This is a slush fund for the Chicago machine?
    2. What about jobs, why isn’t Obama worried about jobs?
    3. It weakens our national security, and impinges on our freedoms, what would Raygun do?
    4. Why can’t this administration keep things double secret probation, secret?

  4. [re=562663]Ken Layne[/re]: off topic, but the colbert report just used a screengrab from THIS VERY SITE.

    it was in reference to senator/diaper goblin david vitter.

  5. [re=562663]Ken Layne[/re]: Ken, Colbert just flashed a screen grab of Wonkette on his Word about Lindsey Grahmn homosexuality in back up of David Vitter and the Diaper sex.

  6. We’ve already sent the robots to conquer Mars; why not give them low-Earth orbit as well? And hey, the cold, logical emotionless rule of the robots would be preferable to the delusional illogical rule of the teabaggers.

    BTW, did anyone else catch the Wonkette screengrab Colbert just showed?

  7. Hmmm…the military ate the State Department over the last couple of decades, and now it’s fighting the NSA for the carcass of NASA. Next it’s gonna get some mayo on a bun and come after the border patrol (does anyone ever call them ICE?) I just hope they do away with all those velcro patches before they take over my employer. I’d lose a couple of those every day.

    Anyway, yay to the militarization of freakin’ everything. They’re the government employees everybody agrees do stuff right. And if they don’t, they’ve got the national security cred to call it a secret and bury it for decades. With any luck, whatever horrible shit people are doing now will come out just as the last few survivors can start talking about it, and the young people of the future can look at us with shame and horror and wonder how we let shit get so out of control.

    I look forward to looking those young people in the eye and telling them about how we arrested and prosecuted every greedy, lying, Constitution-debasing, unitary-executive authoritarian, torture-loving, body-burying, faith-based chickenhawk narcissist motherfucker who led the country into being the global neighborhood’s BTK killer.

  8. [re=562677]SayItWithWookies[/re]: we’re a country built on a war fetish and a democracy fetish. it seems to me that way too many people care only about the former. you don’t see little kids running around outside playing “constitutional convention”. too busy stockpiling camouflage from the surplus store and playing “army”.

    do kids actually play outside these days? can they find camouflage to fit their fat little asses?

  9. [re=562683]Jim89048[/re]: i had the same thought after i saw the segment. oh witty banter and trucknutz and maybe a cheney blingee on the big screen behind the desk?

  10. [re=562682]obfuscator[/re]: do kids actually play outside these days? can they find camouflage to fit their fat little asses?

    Now that’s a silly question. Yes indeed they do.

    And wow, that was a little ranty of me earlier. I feel much better now, though.

  11. [re=562694]SayItWithWookies[/re]: a well-articulated passionate rant based in fact is always preferable to a sign with a picture of barry-as-witchdoctor and other varieties of teatardity.

  12. related: saw none other than Sara K Smith this evening on a Frontier flight from DIA to SFO. It was Wally Wolf, in case you wondered. Wonkette alumni in space.

  13. [re=562654]memzilla[/re]: I remember something about recon satellites that used to actually drop film canisters that would be caught in mid-air by retrieval vehicles. It sounds like some sort of hallucination now that I write it out, but I swear the Air Force and/or NRO did this. Having a reusable vehicle that could deploy a satellite and then rendezvous with it and bring it (or some of its contents) back to earth would probably be much more reliable.

    [re=562700]obfuscator[/re]: Thanks. And look — according to this, the X-37 program was started in the 1990s as a NASA program and moved to Defense (DARPA, even) a few years ago. So the same asshole who told NASA to send a man to Mars without funding gave one of their projects to DARPA to be conducted in secret. Argh.

  14. [re=562708]SayItWithWookies[/re]: You are exactmundoly correct. But the Remote Space Shuttle can deploy the unpredictable surveillance, that’s the trick to targeting the brown people.

  15. [re=562708]SayItWithWookies[/re]: the pentagon space murder ship is a “secret” that has gone through many iterations. people who care know about it, kind of like israel’s nukes.

  16. The whole thing that worries me about robots is that so many people have such innocent faith in Asimov’s first law of robotics, which is not any kind of rule at all, but just something he made up, a plot device.
    Once robots cross the threshold (not the threshold between just calculating and being able to think independently, I suspect they have crossed that already or will soon) but the threshold between thinking and actually giving a damn, the human race will be fucked.
    Which is not necessarily a bad thing for the universe, but it will suck for us.

  17. [re=562682]obfuscator[/re]: You forgot to mention the money fetish, the fast food fetish, the Jeebus fetish and the botox face fetish.

  18. With any luck, this unmanned device should tide God over until the docking problems are resolved with the International Space Sybian.

    Can you say “Second Coming”?

    “Mmm…ohhh…yeah…oh yeah…uh huh…oooh…yeahhh…uh huh…uh huh…UH HUH! OH! OH YEAH! OHHH! OH ME! OH SHIT! OH ME! OH MY ME! OHMYME! OHHHMYMEYES! OHHHMYMEYES!! OHMYMEYESYESYESYYYESSSSSS!!!”

  19. [re=562694]SayItWithWookies[/re]: That was an awesome rant, and the image of coming after someone with mayo on a bun will take a long bit of meditation to fully grasp.

    Also, I missed out on the Colbert bump cuz I don’t have cable == will have to watch it on CC site this morning.

  20. [re=562677]SayItWithWookies[/re]: Re: rant. You have been getting into my meds again, haven’t you? In the words of Miniature Lord Wellington to Jon “Napoleon” Stewart, “Rage on!”

  21. [re=562708]SayItWithWookies[/re]:
    That was Discoverer, our first attempt at reconnaissance satellites. But digital imaging has made film obsolete so there’s no need to return anything.

  22. [re=562677]SayItWithWookies[/re]: [re=562682]obfuscator[/re]: Since the Wingtards all agree that the military is the only part of gummint that works, maybe we could turn universal healthcare over to the DOD…

  23. [re=562770]DoktorZoom[/re]: ..seeing as how DOD already has socialized medicine for its own people, of course. But that’s not really socialist, it’s just a well-earned reward for Our Warriors.

    Stopping before I launch into Rantspace myself…

  24. People are already shopping scripts around hollywood about robotic space vampire metrosexuals coming to earth and hanging out with teenagers.

  25. This has a neat ‘Intergalactic thinning of the herd’ aurora about it.

    Planet Earth Ambassadors Bill Gates and Warren Buffett will be excellent
    choices to carry on the Human Race-once the cleansing has been completed.

    Scientology Fever-Catch It!

  26. I can’t believe this thread has been up since 11pm last night and no one here has used the word “vibrator” yet. You people, you disappoint me.

  27. I’m having a bit of a personal crisis here. Many moons ago I was at one of those crazy librul war protests, and there was this dude there going on about how the Air Force was sending secret spaceships up in space to read our minds and our tax returns, and I rolled my eyes and thought, cripes, this kind of shit is why libruls are never taken seriously.

    So, the crazy dude was right? Should I start wearing a tinfoil hat?

  28. [re=562918]populucious[/re]: No try the triangle tea party variety instead and don’t forget to display your 1040’s and smile.

  29. [re=562708]SayItWithWookies[/re]: Wooks: You’re referring to the Corona series of recon satellites, which were the “real,” military version of the early Discovery series.

    Both had a film camera system (as opposed to video) that fed the exposed film into a recovery/re-entry capsule in the nose. When the film was used up, the capsule would eject and re-enter. Once/if the parachute opened, it would be snagged out of air (by a C-119 initially).

    Because of engagement envelope, the Air Farce had about three chances to snag the parachute before the capsule hit the water an sank.

    That was the theory, anyway. A number of the early capsules were lost because the planes were out of position, missed the snag, etc. But the technology worked well enough to fill in the gap before video imaging technology got good enough.

    God, I miss the Good Old Days. You know, when the Air Farce could spend BA-ZILLIONS on anything labeled “Anti-Commie”?


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