Lonesome George And The Race To Space

Two rather depressing news items burst onto our screens recently. Initially, neither one appeared to bear any relationship to the other.

The first concerned two man-made satellites in earth orbit that collided, spreading space debris over a a wide area.[1]

Even that doesn’t seem too great a disaster. No lives were lost; one satellite (Russian) is believed to have been defunct, the other (US), is part of a group of sixty-six operated by Iridium Satellite LLC, a communications company.

This is the first collision between two intact satellites, but it’s unlikely to be the last:


To date, around 17,000 man-made objects are orbiting the Earth, but more are joining them, in ever increasing numbers.

This is Lonesome George:


Lonesome George is so-called because he is the last remaining Giant Tortoise of his sub-species. He lives on the Galapagos Islands, is around eighty years old, and when he dies there will never again be any Pinta tortoises of the sub-species Geochelone abigdoni – anywhere.

George and his fellow Pintas were specific to Galapagos, like so many of the various species of animal and bird life still to be found there, but human intervention has done for the Pintas, and other species are following suit at an alarming rate.

Take a moment to consider these two news stories, and study the accompanying images. Hopefully, it won’t take too long before you recognize there is a relationship between them – and the one factor that irrefutably links them together.

[1] “Sat collision highlights growing threat” BBC, February 12th 2009

[2] “Meet the world’s rarest tortoise” BBC, February 10th 2009

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6 Replies to “Lonesome George And The Race To Space”

  1. Human invasion driven by greed without sensibleness.
    God would be preparing for punishment.
    Climate change might be weapons of punishment on humans.

  2. I suppose, considering the relatively short time man has been around on Earth, he could be likened to a toddler, wandering around on unsteady legs, throwing toys, destroying them, stomping on flowers and precious plants with no appreciation of their value. He pulls the edge of a tablecloth and brings the contents down on top of him.

    I use the masculine for convenience, not meaning to imply that it’s man rather than woman 😉

  3. masa – I entirely agree with your first sentence. However, I have to say my belief systems long ago tossed out the idea that ‘God’, or indeed ‘punishment’ were in any way involved.
    Climate change is, in my humble opinion, the direct result of man’s activities on this planet – more, I suppose, a question of, “What ye sow, so shall ye reap” – to coin a biblical phrase – rather than the “Great Schoolmaster” subjecting us all to a sound thrashing for being irresponsible.
    Either way, we’re in trouble if we don’t mend our ways quickly, and judging from human efforts to date, that does not seem very likely.
    PS I enjoyed very much the new images on your blog.

    WWW – picked up, plastered up, proclaiming the news. Well done, WWW!

  4. Twilight – missed you by a nanosecond!

    Well, man didn’t give woman much a chance to wreck anything until very recently, so I wouldn’t have admonished you for that.

    I’m not sure I can accept the idea of us all being evolutionary infants, though. At best, it’s time we grew up.

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