Biden Says #ScienceIsBack - But Its Hard To Find It At NASA

Keith's note: As a one-time actual space biologist at NASA I find posting of research data online to be one of the most important things NASA can do to show the value - and availability - of research done on the ISS. NASA has been generating research papers for more than half a century. One very useful resource is NASA Spaceline, a regular (now weekly) NASA-funded summary of research sponsored by and relevant to NASA life science research. Here is the latest issue issued today - we post it within minutes of its arrival by email on Fridays.

Look at the good stuff in this issue: "Changes in the optic nerve head and choroid over 1 year of spaceflight"; "Draft genome sequences of various bacterial phyla isolated from the International Space Station"; "The individual and combined effects of spaceflight radiation and microgravity on biologic systems and functional outcomes."; "Everything you wanted to know about space radiation but were afraid to ask"; and "Fusarium oxysporum as an opportunistic fungal pathogen on Zinnia hybrida plants grown on board the International Space Station". That's just this issue alone - space biology, space medicine, radiation physiology, plant physiology, genomics. Each issue is like a weekly textbook on space life science. There's even astrobiology and microgravity science included as well.

NASA has paid someone to produce this research summary for years. There have been gaps due to funding lapses and our SpaceRef website has the only complete archive online here going back to the 1990s. We have been posting it religiously over the decades. Currently you can find and subscribe to this summary at NASA: SPACELINE Current Awareness - NASA Task Book. You'd think that NASA would go out if its way to be certain that all of its space station and space life science research websites would feature it prominently.

Guess again. They ignore it - systematically. There is no mention of - or links to - Spaceline at:

- NASA PubSpace (a linkage to NIH PubMed which has now been dissolved)
- NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program
- NASA SMD Biological & Physical Sciences
- CASIS/ISS National Lab
- NASA Space Station Homepage
- NASA GeneLab
- Life Sciences Data Archive, NASA JSC
- Space Station Research Explorer
- International Space Station National Laboratory

Oh yes - most of the inter-related and duplicative resources listed above don't even link to each other either - but there is another story coming on that.

If you Google "NASA science" (a thing taxpayers might just do) you get sent to this Science Mission Directorate page. If you look at the "topics" menu you see no mention of "biology", "life science", "astrobiology" or "microgravity" - even though all of this research is now housed at SMD. If you click on "missions" you get nothing related to these topics. If you click on "for researchers" and then "Science Data" there is no mention of Spaceline or any of these topics either. And so on.

If you search NASA.gov you can't find any mention of Spaceline.

NASA apparently doesn't have any interest in making this voluminous reference to science accomplished on ISS and in related fields available - if for no other reason than to refute those who would say that nothing of value is conducted on the ISS.

Oddly as NASA ignores things like Spaceline, they do like to jump up and down and tell you about all of the amazing research they want to do on the ISS to solve all of humanity's problems. In recent budget briefings to Congress NASA mentions how they want to ramp up ISS utilization in the coming years. Of course this is a good idea since the potential of this amazing facility has yet to be tapped. And now they want to sell you a bunch of ISS replacements where more of this science goodness will be carried out - and wait there's more: they want to do some on the Moon and in a mini Lunar space Station called Gateway too. Alas, given the way that NASA handles the dissemination of research results such as Spaceline this will simply mean that more important and interesting research will continue to be ignored. But NASA still wants you to fall for all the science justifications they claim to have.

And then there is the dysfunctional relationship regarding space station utilization between CASIS/ISSNL, NASA's ISS Program Office, HEOMD and SMD - but I'll address that in a future posting.

Newsflash NASA: according to Team Biden #ScienceIsBack - even if you can't find it at NASA.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on May 7, 2021 3:00 PM.

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