One sudden cloud, made by a machine built my humans, marks a pathway to the stars. Copyright Kyle Brown, used with permission
Last weekend, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket hurtled a mysterious payload into orbit. The classified cargo, delivered on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office, is possibly a spy satellite, though we may not know for years or more what it actually was. What we can do is bask in the beauty of a rocket hurtling an enigma into orbit.
Kelsey D. Atherton is a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.