“It’s a tough thing for us to do right now.”
Notice of disconnection
The tiny island nation of Tonga has been devastated by a massive volcanic eruption that apparently engulfed an entire island over the weekend. The explosion was so strong that it released about ten megatons of energy, the equivalent of 500 atomic bombs.
Now the nation is picking up the pieces. Most of its islands were covered in a thick layer of ash by the explosion, including its airport, making landing and take-off impossible at this time.
But SpaceX CEO Elon Musk plunged into the fray – offering to provide connectivity to Tonga via the company’s Starlink internet service before apparently hesitating on the proposal.
“Could the people of Tonga let us know if it is important for SpaceX to send via Starlink terminals?” he tweeted early Friday morning.
For the record, it seems officials would be interested in the proposal.
“After the Minister told me in a phone call on Monday that the telecom cable to Tonga was down, I immediately sent a letter to Elon to see if he would contribute Starlink to the emergency,” Shane Reti, a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, wrote in a tweet.
But bringing Starlink terminals to Tonga can be difficult.
“It’s a tough thing for us to do right now,” Musk admitted in a follow-up tweet, “because we don’t have enough satellites with laser links and there are already geo satellites serving the Tonga region.”
“That’s why I’m asking for a clear confirmation,” he added.
SpaceX has already come to the rescue with its Starlink system, help stakeholders fight severe wildfires in Washington in 2020.
But will the space company be able to step up? Tonga is a million times further away than Washington State. And Musk once dove headfirst into the ER, before finally being unable to help – remember when he came up with a boy-sized sub to save children trapped in a cave?
Learn more about Starlink: Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet Dishes Attract Cats
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