News: July 2006 Archives

Editor's note: Two weeks ago I contacted Kevin Sloan, Marketing Manager for the Mars Society to request a press pass for the upcoming Mars Society convention in Washington DC. At first he said that he "looked forward" to seeing me at the meeting. Then he apparently changed his mind. After keeping me hanging for another week he finally got around to telling me that he would not allow me to attend and cover the meeting.

NASA civil servants (Mike Griffin, Brian Chase, Scott Horowitz, Andy Thomas, and Chris McKay) are slated to speak in an official capacity. Alas, although I have a NASA HQ press badge, I will not be allowed to cover these official NASA speeches - and NASA finds itself embracing an organization that bans accredited news media from covering official NASA speeches.

To be certain, the Mars Society can certainly ban anyone they wish from attending their meetings. However, an organization that seeks to deal with media coverage they might not like by simply banning that media is an organization that is afraid of external scrutiny. And what are they so afraid of? Is it that I say things they don't like about their leader, Bob Zubrin (but not about the membership)?

Thin skinned people aren't going to lead the way to Mars.

NASA Appoints Board to Investigate Injury at KSC's Pad 39-A, NASA KSC

"NASA has formed an investigation board at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to review the circumstances surrounding the injury of a construction worker at Launch Complex 39-A July 19."

House Commends Employees of NASA's Michoud Facility for Dedicated Service During Katrina

"The House of Representatives today passed by voice vote, H. Res 892, a resolution commending the dedicated employees of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Michoud Assembly Facility, the "Michoud Hurricane Ride-Out Team", who risked their lives during Hurricane Katrina's assault on southeast Louisiana."

Reader note: "The original temporary weather coverings have failed and Skylab has suffered the effects of rain, sun, wind, plants, dust/dirt, mold, animals and vandals. Right now the Skylab artifact is nearing a point of no return." [Video of damage]

NASA's Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet, NY Times

"From 2002 until this year, NASA's mission statement, prominently featured in its budget and planning documents, read: "To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can." In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet" deleted. In this year's budget and planning documents, the agency's mission is "to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research." David E. Steitz, a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the aim was to square the statement with President Bush's goal of pursuing human spaceflight to the Moon and Mars."

Cool Under Pressure

NASA chief's gamble - or calculated decision - that paid off, big time, AP

"And he's so cool under pressure that when asked about his feelings after Discovery's successful July 4th launch, he said: "I'll have time for feelings after I'm dead."

It's no wonder a NASA-watchdog Web site,, parodies him with a photo manipulation that makes him look like the emotionless Star Trek Vulcan, the pointy-eared Mr. Spock."

Beam Me Up

It's an Auction, Jim, but Not as We Know It, NY Times

"In a windowless warehouse in Crotona Park East, boxes of "Star Trek" memorabilia that were shipped from the part of the galaxy known as Hollywood are being cataloged and photographed. The catalogers and photographers work for Christie's, the auction house that more often handles impressionists and old masters. The trove will be sold for dollars. Not Federation credits."

Photo tour, NY Times

Editor's note: Several months ago I spent some time in another "windowless warehouse" in an undisclosed location on the West coast. While there I was interviewed for a special DVD being produced in connection with this Star Trek auction.

U.S. official: North Korea tests long-range missile, CNN

"U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said there were five missile launches in all. One was the Taepodong-2 missile, and the other four were short-range. A short time after Hadley spoke, North Korea launched a sixth missile, U.S. military sources said."

Podcast: Science weekly for July 3, The Guardian

"NASA's latest attempt to get a shuttle into space has hit all kinds of problems, we ask whether the disarray at the pioneering agency could lead to its total decline. Keith Cowing, a former NASA scientist and editor of, tells us what the future has in store."



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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from July 2006.

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