[FPSPACE] What should NASA be?[Scanned by MAIL]
epgrondine at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 2 01:10:57 EDT 2007
What we have here are fantasies about the past, as the facts are easily
verified, and many here know those facts intimately. And yes, there are a
few nuts who pursist in spewing those fantasies, as though if they spew them
enough they will somehow make them real.
Why do these nuts do it? Generally, its so thaat they can justify their
fantasies about the future, in particullar future manned flight to Mars.
As for the public, it was written on a wall somewhere (Top Dog in Berkeley,
to be exact) that anyone who pretends to speak for the people is spouting
bs. I agree with your observation that the number of people who deeply care
about manned flight to Mars is indeed small - in point of fact, it is too
small a number to sustain a program based solely on the goal of manned
flight to Mars.
But I also think that the number of people who expect NASA to keep them from
going the way of the dinosaurs is pretty large. At least their
representatives think so, which is one of the reasons why they instructed
the NASA Administrator to come up with a plan to deal with this hazard, and
that is one reason why no one is losing any sleep over it. If this
Adminstrator is not up to the job, then one who is will undoubtedly be
found. And no one will loose any sleep over that, either.
Perhaps the NASA Administrator should be focusing on what the Congress told
him to do.
You might want to ask your audiences if they think that dealing with this
hazard is indeed NASA's job, that is if you have any time left over from
preaching to them about the wonders of manned flight to Mars.
PS - Walt Anderson just went to prison. It's a wonder that Larry Klaes did
not post a message to us all about that.
Get over it.
Cao Knee Men,
Man and Impact in the Americas
>From: DSFPortree at aol.com
>To: epgrondine at hotmail.com, FPSPACE at friends-partners.org
>Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] What should NASA be?[Scanned by MAIL]
>Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2007 22:12:22 EDT
>We've got a number of different ideas here about NASA's past and its
>A few are interesting, most seem to be based on - well, I really can't
>Ideology, I suppose. A couple are pretty much nuts, in my opinion, for what
>it's worth. Some are puerile. You decide which is which - no doubt our
>candidates for each category would differ.
>Let me share a few observations. Pardon me if they seem cynical.
>All things considered, NASA is not a big deal for policymakers and the
>public. The vast majority of U.S. citizens don't care what direction it
>long as it stays mildly interesting (and doesn't appear to be getting too
>Big spaceflight dreams, technology development, science - they don't really
>enter into it, except in the minds of a small minority of wacky characters
>me (and others on this list), and people with turf to defend. At best, they
>excite interest for a short time, then it's on to something else. Bread and
>NASA technology is not that highly advanced. It adapts technologies that
>other folks develop. The CEV is not based on the latest and greatest
>- there's not enough budget for technology development. I'm not sure why
>obvious fact is not clear - I realized it even before NASA folks started
>telling me about it. And, guess what, no one cares, really. No one is
>over the limited number of U.S. flights these past four years, or the delay
>ISS completion, or slips in the return-to-the-moon schedule.
>NASA is not focusing on technology development right now - it's focusing on
>doing what the Executive Branch has told it to do. Earth sciences are not
>by the boards because NASA is focusing on technology development, it's
>because NASA Earth science has annoyed this White House.
>We've all read about the political obstacles Korolev faced (and created).
>Something similar happens here.
>Based on my interactions with the public vis-a-vis space these past 30
>I can tell you that scientific discoveries excite people. They don't change
>their lives, but people think they're cool. Just about any first is
>too. Landing on things is neat - planetary orbiters are hard to understand.
>Astronauts are neat - the wacko astronaut who drove to Florida in a diaper
>big hit right now. Probably the top two major events of the past two
>space have been the John Glenn flight on the human side and the Pathfinder
>landing on the robotic side, at least in the view of most members of the
>Almost no one is losing sleep over killer asteroids, and most people have
>idea who is on ISS (or even if anyone is on ISS). I doubt that a majority
>Americans know when a Shuttle is in space, and I know that most wouldn't be
>able to say anything about any given Shuttle mission. Even fewer know when
>Chinese astronaut is in orbit. People are not afraid of Chinese space
>The level of ignorance is appalling. But it's understandable. There are
>many more important things for people to worry about - at least as judged
>the vast majority of the public.
>I mention all this because it's important to keep a sense of proportion.
>David S. F. Portree
>author & educator
>dsfportree at aol.com
>Flagstaff Arizona USA
>"It's like when you're a kid, the first time they tell you that the world's
>turning and you just can't quite believe it because everything looks like
>standing still. I can feel it - the turn of the Earth. The ground beneath
>feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour, the entire planet is hurtling
>around the Sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour, and I can feel it.
>falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little
>world, and if we let go..." - The Ninth Doctor
> See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
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