Solon to science secretary: Can a volcano be punctured?
MANILA, Philippines— With suggestions about puncturing a volcano and inventing astronauts’ food, the confirmation hearing for Science Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. at the legislative Commission on Appointments descended into a theater of the absurd.
Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo asked if the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) could fashion a metal drill used to make spaceships to pierce volcanoes.
The lawmaker from an island province with seven volcanoes in Mindanao raised the rather ridiculous suggestion, and deadpanned: “I want to ask if the material used for rockets that can withhold heat in going to the moon or (space) exploration can be used to drill holes on volcanoes.”
“The lava will come out so that the volcano will not erupt. Is there a study on that? I’m so curious,” he said.
“Imagine, (space rockets) do not melt when they return from space. Why can’t we use it to drill holes so that volcanoes will no longer erupt?”
Solidum explained that volcanoes spew out materials due to the buildup of pressure and high temperature from within.
“Even if one would tamper with the volcano, it may trigger eruption, not stop it because the magma is more enormous than whatever trigger we want to do,” Solidum said.
“We cannot control it. It might actually cause the volcano to explode as we lessen the pressure,” added Solidum, who served the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology for 14 years.
“If we lessen the pressure of the volcano at the top, it might trigger the sudden rise of magma and it will explode. That’s why nobody has tried to do that,” he said.
When his turn came, Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta asked Solidum if the DOST could manufacture “food pills” or food packs similar to what astronauts eat.
Marcoleta said astronauts survive without eating freshly cooked meals since they cannot cook food in space.
“I’m thinking aloud, if we could invent the food they’re eating. I will give it to our poor countrymen. They can survive for months without eating,” he said. “Do we have that? Can we produce that?”
“We could help the poorest of the poor with your invention of pills or whatever. Once the poor people drink it, in two weeks they will no longer have to buy or cook food. That will be a great thing,” Marcoleta said.
Solidum cited ready-to-eat food relief for disaster victims that can last up to six months, “but we don’t have that kind of food (that astronauts eat).”
Marcoleta said his suggestion was just “palliative” to “fill the gap” for a period. “Because the poorest of the poor have really nothing to eat,” he said.
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