What is the Biggest Thing you ever Lost?

Humans, by nature, are forgetful. Our very name in Arabic, انسان is derived from the verb نسيان which means to forget. That is what makes life bearable, with all the trials and tribulations we go through, the pains and the heartaches, the deaths and losses, it is in our nature to forget, and move on.

That being said, how often is it that we misplace items of value and can no longer recollect where we placed them? I for one lost a neat pair of sunglasses in highschool. I’ve constantly suffered from “pen-behind-the-ear” syndrome and “glasses-on-my-head” syndrome.

Another part of human nature is taking comfort in the discomfort of others. It is not a nice thing but, admit it, we all relish in hearing of others misfortunes, as they make our own misfortunes pale in comparison.

Imagine how petty my lost sunglasses seem when compared to what was on the news today:

US military scientists lost contact with an unmanned hypersonic experimental aircraft on its second test flight, officials said.

Think of the litigation had it been a manned hypersonic experimental aircraft!

“We’re sorry Ma’am, we, misplaced your husband”. When all the while John Doe may have broken the sound barrier and been carted off into an alternate universe, where monkeys rule supreme, and we are the ones in cages!

(the above paragraphs are only meant to highlight a perceived comical event, in no way is it acceptable for us to take comfort in others misfortunes. And that is why I implore anyone with a conscience in Kuwait to visit Direct-Aid.org here, and to donate, even if its 1KD, via K-Net (i.e. no extra charges/ fees) to the millions suffering in Somalia. Show them that humanity is capable of great deeds).

BBC:

An artist's rendering of the HTV-2
                                  
US military scientists lost contact with an unmanned hypersonic experimental aircraft on its second test flight, officials said.

The Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) successfully separated from its rocket but lost contact shortly into its “glide phase”.

The plane is designed to travel at Mach 20, or 20 times the speed of sound.

The Falcon project is part of the US defence department’s plans to develop a rapid-strike weapons system.

A hypersonic plane could potentially enable the US military to hit targets anywhere in the world in under an hour.

Highly complex

The HTV-2 – shaped like the tip of a spear – took off atop a Minotaur IV rocket from Vanderberg Air Force Base in California early on Thursday.

It was propelled to the edges of space where it then separated from the rocket.

The aim by engineers was that it would glide back to Earth at 13,000mph (21,000km/h) – enduring temperatures in excess of 3,500F (2,000C) – before plunging into the Pacific Ocean.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), which is funding the HTV-2 programme and overseeing the tests, said more than nine minutes of data was collected “before an anomaly caused loss of signal”.

“Initial indications are that the aircraft impacted the Pacific Ocean along the planned flight path,” Darpa said in a statement on its website.

An HTV-2 plane was first tested last year, and ended with the craft crashing into the Pacific after the military lost contact with the glider nine minutes into the flight.

However, the flight still managed to return 139 seconds of aerodynamic data at a velocity between 17 and 22 times the speed of sound, Darpa said.

“We know how to boost the aircraft to near space,” Maj Chris Schulz, the programme manager, was quoted as saying on Darpa’s website.

“We know how to insert the aircraft into atmospheric hypersonic flight. We do not yet know how to achieve the desired control during the aerodynamic phase of flight. It’s vexing; I’m confident there is a solution. We have to find it.”

Maj Shulz said a team of experts would now analyse the flight data and expand “our technical understanding of this incredibly harsh flight regime”.

Some analysts say a second uncompleted flight could force Darpa to rethink the entire project, the BBC’s Marcus George in Washington reports.

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