News: December 2008 Archives

Offline Update

Editor's note: We were offline last night due to some power outages associated with bad weather on the West Coast. Everything should be working fine now.

Changing Course - AGAIN?

A new vision for people in space: MIT report outlines goals for future of human space program

"The report offers "primary objectives" for sending human beings into space as those that can only be accomplished through the physical presence of human beings and are worthy of significant risk to human life. Says Mindell, "we argue for including notions of risk, human experience, and remote presence into the fundamental rationales for sending people into space. The results show that the United States might want a rather different human spaceflight program from the one now planned."
And it is essential that whatever goals are set for human spaceflight, the funding should be adequate to meet those goals. "Trying to do too much with too little is exactly what caused the last two shuttle accidents," he says."

Griffin to Speak at JHU

NASA Head to Speak at Leaders & Legends Series, JHU Gazette

"Michael Griffin, NASA administrator, is the scheduled speaker for this month's installment of the Carey Business School's Leaders & Legends breakfast speaker series, to be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18, at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel."

Wonkette on NASA/Obama Flap

NASA Head Trying To Keep Outer Space Secrets From Obama Transition Team, Wonkette

"Like grimy Chicago leeches, the Obama "transition team" (AS IF) has sent review panels to every federal agency to decide which budget items need to be cut, forever, to finance the next $100 billion wave of AIG bailouts. Agencies like FEMA probably abandoned their entire offices before their transition team appointments, just to avoid the embarrassment, whereas places like NASA -- which holds valuable information about quasars, space monsters, and the planets Mars and Neptune -- are simply telling the transition team "YOU WOULDN'T GET IT YOU STUPIDS -- PHYSICS." Space nerds"

Editor's note: Yes the commentary is rude and often obscene - as are the reader's comments. That said, this is a must-read blog inside the beltway - where first impressions and crude jokes can affect official policy faster than you might think (or want).

NASA OIG SemiAnnual Report

NASA Office of Inspector General SemiAnnual Report (April 1 - September 30, 2008)

"NASA's most pressing management and performance challenge continues to be the transition from the Space Shuttle to the next generation of space vehicles. In this regard, NASA's new authorization legislation directs the Agency to conduct two scheduled Shuttle contingency flights and one additional mission. NASA's philosophy has been to have "the last flight as safe" as the first flight after return to flight. While the authorization language puts responsibility on the Administrator to abort the additional mission if it is not safe to fly, safety is incremental and fluid, not fixed. For example, as hardware becomes scarce, program risk tolerance may expand due to less flexibility in flight hardware decisions."

NASA scientists report on new technology to help protect US troops from infectious diseases

"Representatives from NASA convened in New Orleans today to report at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting the results from a NASA-enhanced computerized system to assess environmental and health concerns for deployed U.S. forces. The Global Situational Awareness Tool (GSAT), developed and operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command, is a computerized set of linkable databases that characterizes and predicts health risks and other dangers to U.S. troops and multi-national forces in Afghanistan and other areas."

NASA HQ PAO and Twitter

Editor's note: PAO's Bob Jacobs (bnjacobs) has been showing the value of NASA Twitter use today. Several examples:

"Watch the 747 with Endeavour leave California at 10 a.m. EST on NASA TV and www.nasa.gov/ntv."

"The next leg is underway. Check it out at http://flightaware.com/live/flight/NASA911"

A Random Letter

Revive NASA, Letters to the Star Ledger

"The space program has produced many useful spin-off products -- items like air-cushioned sneakers, safer runways, satellite TV and solar panels, to name a few. But NASA is not the agency it used to be. From an exciting and innovative agency, it has become a timid bureaucracy. NASA in not the destination of choice for our best scientists, as it was during its pioneering days."

A Sad Day for CNN Viewers

Miles O'Brien To Leave CNN. Network Shutters Science, Space and Tech Unit

"TVNewser has learned 16-year veteran CNN correspondent and anchor Miles O'Brien will soon be leaving CNN. O'Brien's departure comes as the network dismantles its science, space, environment and technology unit in Atlanta. That includes O'Brien as well as six producers."

Science sphere condemns CNN cuts, Nature (The Great Beyond)

"Science bloggers and media pundits have been collectively sounding off and scratching their heads about CNNs decision to cut its entire science reporting staff."

CNN Cuts Entire Science, Tech Team, Columbia Journalism Review

"Indeed, others who know the CNN science staff agree that the network is making a bad decision. "I'm baffled," said Keith Cowing, who runs NASAWatch.com and has been a friend of CNN's Miles O'Brien for years. Cowing has appeared on air with O'Brien a number of times. "Miles is a reporter's reporter. In terms of the [scientific] research, it's him. He walks in - and this is why he's so good - and just knows it. To me, there's an economy there where you don't have to have a bunch young researchers running around. You've got the guy who can say, 'Got it,' and go right on air." While CNN credited O'Brien as a "terrific reporter," Cowing added that he is surprised the network doesn't care to hold on to that expertise."

Editor's note: I give up. First Av Week cans Craig Covault now this.

You can follow Miles on Twitter.


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