7/28/10

The Doctor

I saw my first episode of Doctor Who in 1983 - The Creature Beneath the Pit. (While it's not my favorite, I still get a little thrill when I watch it because it was the first!) I was hooked. (The first time I rode into Chicago, and saw the Hancock Building, I immediately thought of the episode The Horns of Nimon. The towers on top reminded me of the building in that episode.) I even have an autographed poster of The Master (Anthony Ainley) in my classroom!

I heard about this clip on You Tube. I have to share it with you. Enjoy!

7/17/10

Story Musgrave and the Space Program


Story Musgrave is, to say the least, a fascinating person. He is, unarguably, one of the smartest people alive. He has seven degrees (including an M.D. and three master degrees). He is a veteran of six shuttle flights. Read his NASA biography to appreciate how unusual a man he is.

He was selected to be a Scientist-Astronaut in 1967. His group of 11 called themselves the XS-11, excess because it was clear they really weren't needed.

It would have been easy to just quit after the Apollo missions and go back to what he did before becoming as astronaut. But, this was not his way. He stayed and finally got his first flight in 1983, after 16 years of waiting. He would fly on the shuttle five more times before leaving the astronaut corps in 1997.

The August 2010 issue of Smithsonian Air and Space published an interview with Dr. Musgrave. As a part of the interview, he was asked what he thought of the Obama administration's new so-called "vision" for manned space flight. He responded...

"The entire future of space policy - it's dead. It's nothing. We need access to space in the year 2010, because the shuttle is going away. We need access this year, so what is the response? We're going to think about it for five years, and then make a decision. Which means we're fifteen years to getting access to space. That is not my kind of space program."
-Air&Space Interview, pg. 11


7/13/10

Rosetta Photographs Asteroid Lutetia



The European Space Agency's Rosetta Probe has completed a successful flyby of the largest asteroid seen by a space probe so far. (The primary mission of Rosetta is to "undertake the long-term exploration of a comet at close quarters." Rosetta will orbit Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko providing us with the most detailed examination of a comet. It will arrive November 2014.


7/12/10

Bolden Thrown Under the Bus

It would be nice if the Obama White House could get their act together.

Six days ago, the White House stood by Bolden's comments. But, surprise! That is no longer true. According to the Washington Post...

American diplomats concerned they're being replaced by NASA employees, breathe easy: The Space agency and its administrator, Charles Bolden, are not responsible for reaching out to the Muslim world after all.

Bolden caused a global stir last week when he said President Obama had asked him to reach out to Muslim leaders on science issues. He made the comments during an interview with Al Jazeera while visiting Egypt.

But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday, "That was not his task, and that's not the task of NASA."

Gibbs said White House officials have spoken to Bolden and NASA about the comments. (emphasis mine)

In the grand tradition of Obama, Bolden has been thrown under the bus. He's not alone. He can say "Hey" to Prof. Samantha Power, Grandma, The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah T. Wright Jr. , The Rev. Otis Moss III, Fr. Michael Pfleger, and Jim Johnson. Aunt, Gov. David Patterson, and Van Jones, just to name a few. Global Politician says that these people deserve a t-shirt that says “Barack Obama threw me under the bus, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!”

Who is to be believed? The NASA administrator who was supported by the White House July 6th (see that entry) or a White House that is well known for throwing people under the bus?

As far as I'm concerned, it's a no brainer.

7/6/10

More Obama Nonsense With NASA

Update July 8, 2010

The Obama administration stands by Bolden's comments:

The White House stood by Bolden on Tuesday. Spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a written statement to FoxNews.com that Obama "wants NASA to engage with the world's best scientists an d engineers as we work together to push the boundaries of exploration.

"Meeting that mandate requires NASA to partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries. The space race began as a global competition, but, today, it is a global collaboration," he said.

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It's not bad enough that our President is attempting to kill manned spaceflight. Now, he has told NASA Director Bolden that he is now responsible for international relations. In an interview on the Arab propaganda, anti-American TV Network Al-Jazeera that...

"...third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.” (emphasis mine)

If you don't believe me, here's a clip. Most of information can be found in the first two or three minutes of the clip.



I would like our President to explain to our friends and neighbors who were laid off from ATK Launch Systems that everything's okay. At least NASA is making Muslims feel good about themselves.

Unbelievable!

Here's an excellent response by Elliot Abrams found at National Review Online - The Corner.


Is It NASA’s Job to Make Muslim Nations ‘Feel Good’?
[Elliott Abrams]

In the spring of 1961, President Kennedy spoke to Congress about his desire to “win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny.” He told Congress and the nation that “now it is time to take longer strides — time for a great new American enterprise — time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.”

His inspiring conclusion: “I believe we should go to the moon” — though he noted that this would require additional expenditures of money and intellectual resources, and presidents were more serious about budgets in those days. Kennedy said, “It is a heavy burden, and there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the burdens to make it successful. This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, materiel, and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline which have not always characterized our research and development efforts. It means we cannot afford undue work stoppages, inflated costs of material or talent, wasteful interagency rivalries, or a high turnover of key personnel. New objectives and new money cannot solve these problems. They could in fact, aggravate them further — unless every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor, and civil servant gives his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space.”

A half century later, in the age of Obama, that kind of inspirational yet candid communication from Washington is gone. This past week, the current NASA administrator revealed what our current president thinks about space. “When I became the NASA administrator, [Obama] charged me with three things,” NASA head Charles Bolden told al-Jazeera. “One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”

This quote is entirely believable. Mr. Bolden was not told that he must advance American interests in space, but instead to become part of the big Obama program of engagement with the “international community.” His achievements will be measured by whether he can “reach out” to make people “feel good,” and those people aren’t even Americans; no, his “perhaps foremost” job is to make Muslims around the world “feel good” about their past.

A more serious task might be to make them feel terrible about the present level of education in Muslim lands, not least for women and girls, in the hope that we could spur them to reform and improvement. The dismal state of science, math, and engineering in Muslim nations is quite clear, but Mr. Bolden isn’t assigned to improve their performance (which would presumably be the job of USAID, but whatever). No, he’s to be another Dr. Feelgood, a sad assignment for this former astronaut. Mr. Bolden should not be criticized for telling the truth about his job, for the problem is at the top, not at NASA. The space program is being transformed into a tool of Obama foreign policy, which views American national greatness as an anachronism.

Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.