Solar Panels to Power USA

By: Dr Andrew Impey

There was a muffled outcry with a lot of coughing and some sniggering at the back earlier today as George Bush unveiled his country's plan to provide energy for the 21st Century - a huge solar array in space.

The announcement follows last month's dossier from Sir Nicholas Stern and his colleagues - the team behind Why Money Matters More Than People and The Working Class: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em - outlining the threat to the global economy if action is not taken to prevent the increase of global carbon emissions. The plan was presented to journalists and the media in a 16,000 page dossier at the White House on Monday. World leaders were quick to congratulate Mr. Bush on formulating a plan so quickly, saying that he had done remarkably well despite never previously engaging on the subject of climate change. One cynical journalist pointed out that this was because no-one had used the words 'economy' and 'carbon emissions' in the same sentence before, but he was quickly shown the door by security officials.

Following their intention to put men on the moon once more by the end of decade, the Bush Administration are looking to head back into space again with their latest project - the construction of four gigantic solar panels in orbit around the earth. It is hoped that capturing the sun's energy using these massive panels - totalling over 400 sq km - will provide up to 40% of the USA's energy by 2017.

The first phase of the plan will be put into operation in March 2008, when a series of launches from Kennedy Space Centre will deliver the basic structural components into space. This will be followed in 2010 by two simultaneous launches carrying two engineering teams, whose task will be to construct the massive arrays over the course of four years. When asked why there would be two teams instead of one, NASA's Chief Administrator Michael Griffin replied: "At NASA we don't take chances. We double up on everything." As a result there will also be two rockets sent up in 2012 to check up on progress, followed by two addresses to the nation, two press conferences, and two congratulatory dinners for the astronauts involved, who will all receive double pay.

When the construction of the array has been completed, the panels will beam the energy collected from the sun down to earth in form of microwaves. Animal activists were seen campaigning in front of the White House this morning when it was later unveiled that the beam will cut across several major bird migration routes. In unrelated news, KFC shares rose by 13%.

Though many world leaders praised the plan, calling it 'insightful', 'foreplanned', 'futurethoughty' and 'pre-reactionary', others were not so complementary.

Following the press conference it emerged that an unavoidable side effect of the solar array will be the blocking of sunlight across the whole of the Middle Eastern region. Discovered on page 15,998 of the dossier, the unfortunate by-product of the solar panels will be a shadow cast across the earth's surface, plunging the affected region into darkness for six months of the year. When confronted on the issue Mr. Bush apologised for the inconvenience caused by the project, and hoped that the affected regions could learn to cope with the minor setback. He also commented that the 'entire' region was not affected as had initially been claimed. The meeting of the four circular panels will create a star-shaped gap, which will allow the coastal area between Lebanon and Egypt to escape the effects of the six-month blackout.

However, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and Lebanon described the plans as 'foolhardy', 'irresponsible' and 'really quite bad'.

'It is utterly outrageous that Mr. Bush can propose these plans,' said Egyptian President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, whose country will be only half obscured by the array. 'The international community must stand up against these measures immediately.'

The UN were unavailable for comment.

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Andy worked for four years studying ducks (no stop laughing, he really did). He went into his PhD thinking he was going to save the world (albeit from ducks) and now spends him time lovingly preening spoof science and other aspects of null-hypothesis

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