Science: Wired for Protest

The object of the experiment was to shoot a bunch of copper wires into a thin, high band that could be used to relay radio microwaves around the curve of the earth. But even before the first rocket of the Air Force Project West Ford blasted off its pad, the protests of outraged scientists soared into orbit. Metal wires, the world's astronomers warned, would also reflect sunlight, fogging the photographic plates of optical telescopes. They would foul up radio astronomy by reflecting man-made radio waves and masquerading as distant stars or galaxies.

The protests were still mounting when the first attempt at...

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