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Official wants NASA to destroy hurricanes

Published Aug. 28, 2005

After admitting to going "absolutely nuts" when the power goes out and having weathered Jeanne with the aid of "cheap champagne," County Commissioner Mary Aiken said Tuesday it was time the federal government put a stop to hurricanes.

At the end of the commission's meeting, Aiken called on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to seek a way _ short of using a nuclear bomb _ of destroying hurricanes when they form in the Atlantic and before they can menace Florida.

"These storms infuriate me," Aiken said. "There must be something that can be done. It's like a war. This state looks like Iraq."

County Attorney Garth Coller then informed Aiken that NASA had in years past explored the use of atomic reactions to zap infant hurricanes, only to decide that what they would end up with is both a storm and a nuclear blast.

The agency, Coller said, also rejected other technologies that it hoped might weaken or destroy hurricanes.

Aiken replied that NASA obviously had not been trying hard enough and that if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

"We are like ducks in a shooting gallery," she said. "Mother Nature is a terrorist."

Aiken's time in office is almost up, so it is unlikely that her efforts to lobby NASA will be successful. And none of her fellow board members greeted Aiken's idea with great enthusiasm, just weak laughter.

Will Van Sant can be reached at (352) 754-6127 or