Can rocket materials be used to stop volcanic eruptions? Solon asks DOST chief
MANILA, Philippines — Under scrutiny by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA), the head of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) had to answer various questions — from his favorite movies to ways on how to stop volcanic eruptions.
Curious members of the CA combed through DOST’s Renato Solidum’s profile and background as he faced the CA’s committee on science and technology on Wednesday.
“Out of curiosity, ang gusto ko lang tanungin, yung material ho na ginagamit na rocket that can withhold the heat, in going to the moon or saang exploration na yon. Yung material na yun, hindi ba gawin natin yun sa mga bulkan na instead na bubutasan yung bulkan, lalabas yung lava, para hindi na pumutok yung bulkan?”Camiguin Representative Jurdin Jesus Romualdo asked during the hearing.
(Just out of curiosity, I only want to ask about the material used in a rocket that can [withstand] the heat in going to the moon or to whatever exploration. Can we use that material to make a hole to release the lava from volcano and stop its eruption?)
“Meron ho kayang aral dyan? Kasi I am so curious, kasi imagine, hindi natutunaw yun eh, tapos babalik. Although its number of days, sabihin mo na lang months, cold or hot kayang kaya pumunta nung rocket doon tapos babalik. E kung hindi kaya natin subukan ‘yan na sa bulkan, bubutasan, lalabas yung lava para hindi na puputok ‘yung bulkan. I’m just curious, Mr. chairman,” Romualdo added.
(Is there a study on it? I’m so curious because imagine that material does not melt. Hot or cold, the rocket can travel back and forth. Can we try it on a volcano, make a hole to release the lava so the volcano will not erupt.)
Solidum explained there is no assurance that the proposed idea could stop volcanic eruptions, even warning of the risks of doing it.
“A volcano will erupt if there is too much pressure and high temperature…” he said, adding that the energy below the volcano or the magma “is so much more enormous than whatever trigger we want to do.”
“In fact it might actually cause the volcano to explode as we lessen the pressure. So if we lessen the pressure of the volcano on top, it might trigger the sudden rise of magma, it will explode. That’s why nobody has tried to do that,” Solidum said.
Romualdo was just following the lead of Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, who first asked about the food that astronauts eat when they are out in space.
Marcoleta noted that astronauts survive even without cooking in space so he wondered if the same food or a food pill could be invented for the poorest Filipinos.
At the start of the hearing, Camarines Sur Representative Luis “Lray” Villafuerte asked about Solidum’s favorite movies.
“Just to know the character of the person, my colleagues might laugh again, but this is in relation to your fitness. Your hobby is watching Netflix…My question is, what is your favorite movies in Netflix?” Villafuerte asked.
When Solidum said he was into investigative series, Villafuerte commented that the nominee should have been in the cyberlab section of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The lawmaker explained that if the DOST chief really loves science and technology, he should be watching documentaries like how other countries prospered because of science and technology.
Senator Grace Poe interjected, saying: “I think many of us, although we like our jobs, when we go home, we like to watch something that is a little bit different from what we do.”
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