News: October 2011 Archives

NASA Internal Memo: Goddard Libraries Transition to Electronic Services

"Beginning January 1, 2012, the NASA Goddard libraries at Greenbelt and Wallops will transition to an all-electronic activity. In response to changes in the research environment and to Center-driven resource priorities, we will no longer maintain a physical presence but will focus on supporting the research needs of the Goddard community electronically. ... Closing of the physical libraries is a strategic move to repurpose resources and refocus efforts toward enhanced electronic collections and new services vital for Goddard to continue to be productive and competitive in scientific research. "

Keith's note: So what does this mean with regard to the books and other printed items that already exist in the GSFC library i.e. "Closing of the physical libraries"? Is GSFC going to just get rid of everything? And if a book or journal is not in electronic format ... too bad. I am sure historians will just love this. And this is a "strategic move"?

NPOESS in Space (Finally)

NASA Launches Multi-Talented Earth-Observing Satellite

PCAST Meeting Featured Bolden (2011), earlier post

"Bolden also refered to NPOESS as "one of my nightmares" and that it is "also one of John Holdren's nightmares" and "we won't talk about that unless you really want to".

- Hearing on Polar Weather Satellites(2011), earlier post
- The NPOESS "Headache" Just Got Worse(2011), earlier post
- NPOESS Woes Continue (2009), earlier post
- Prepared Statements from Yesterday's NPOESS Hearing (2007), earlier post
- Another NPOESS Hearing (2006), earlier post
- More NPOESS Woes (2006), earlier post
- NPOESS Over Budget and Behind Schedule (2006), earlier post
- NPOESS Team Faces The Music (2005), earlier post

Keith's note: Obviously Paul Martin has said nothing. I did not expect that he would - certainly not in response to anything I did or did not do on NASAWatch. For what it is worth there is extreme concern at senior levels of the agency (as expressed to me) that this sad episode has resulted in a black eye for NASA when in fact it was the NASA OIG who was responsible for this mess. Alas, hundreds of stories appeared in newspapers and online - with the fault focused on "NASA" in the headlines and lead sentences.

Due to the fact that Inspector Generals are independent of the agency they "inspect" (this is actually a very good thing) NASA has near zero ability to affect the behavior of the IG's office - or publicly comment on it. Paul Martin is apparently quite comfortable with not explaining to taxpayers (he works for them too) why an elderly woman was roughed up and detained by half a dozen police officers with weapons and then released - with no charges filed after 5 months. That is his call to make. Alas, only a truly insensitive creep would think that it was O.K. not to at least express regret that this situation happened to a small, elderly woman the way that it did. But Martin is tone deaf and oblivious to the real world aspects of what his office does.

To those of you who questioned why I used NASA Watch the way I did to make this point - well its simple: this is a matter of conscience for me. I make no apologies. This is just plain wrong. I have done things like this before and I will most likely do so again.

- It's up to you Mr. Martin. Say something., earlier post
- NASA IG Refuses To Comment on Official Abuse of Elderly Woman, earlier post
- NASA IG Sends Cops in Flack Vests After 74 Year Old, 4'11" Grandmother, earlier post

Feds grab granny in moon rock sting (with video), CBS

"Davis recalled, "Someone is grabbing me from the back. Now they're pulling me out of the booth and they have a hold of me pretty darn good, and the force was like, unnecessary ... because I'm like 110 (pounds). I'm four-foot-eleven." Davis claims the agents bruised her arm and tailbone during the incident, but the emotional wounds are far worse. "I felt humiliated," Davis said. "I felt, this may not be proper to say, but I tell you, I felt raped. I really did."

Keith's note: This is all rather pathetic - still no public comment from the NASA Inspector General as to why this small, elderly woman was physically abused like this. Yet after many months she has yet to even be charged with anything. The standard OIG line is "no comment on an ongoing investigations". Yet clearly OIG staff was blabbing to the media before this story got hit the fan. Just whose best interests are being served here? I can't imagine that Charlie Bolden has nothing to say about this.

The NASA IG staff have already abrogated the "no comment" policy by virtue of the considerable detail with which news reports about this "ongoing case" have been sourced. NASA Inspector General Paul Martin should be personally embarrassed by this whole episode and should take the professional - and personal - responsibility to address the manner in which this elderly woman was treated. Not to do so borders on abject cowardice on Martin's part. What kind of person condones the treatment of a little old lady like this?

NASA IG Sends Cops in Flack Vests After 74 Year Old, 4'11" Grandmother, earlier post

NASA evacuates astronauts from deep-sea training

"NASA evacuated a crew of astronauts Wednesday from an underwater lab off the coast of Florida where they were training for a trip to an asteroid, due to the approach of Hurricane Rina. "Crew decompressed overnight and will return to surface shortly. Hurricane Rina just a little too close for comfort," the US space agency said in a message on the microblogging site Twitter. The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) team climbed aboard support boats that were waiting at the surface and they were expected to be on dry land by 9:00 am (1300 GMT)."

Keith's 11:05 am EDT note: Nothing from NASA PAO on this. Just a picture on Twitter and this tweet "Crew has left Aquarius on their way to the awaiting support boats. On dry land soon." (earlier Tweet here)

I find it to be rather odd how NASA JSC PAO did not bother to tell anyone about this the way they tell people about everything else. Decompression for a return to the surface takes 17-18 hours - so they made this decision early yesterday afternoon - yet no one at JSC PAO said anything at the time. That is a deliberate decision to withhold information from the public - for no obvious reason.

If something similar happened on a shuttle mission or on the ISS, you know that NASA PAO would have been all over this - and not releasing that information would cause a firestorm in the media. Perhaps this is not as good of an analog of space travel as some would think since JSC PAO is either out of the loop or, as it seems, part of a deliberate plan to withhold critical information by NASA JSC managers. This is not a good sign of how missions of exploration should be conducted in the future.

NASA'S NEEMO Mission Ending Early Due To Hurricane Rina

"The six aquanauts of the NEEMO crew left the facility, where they lived for five days, and returned to the surface of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Key Largo on Wednesday morning."

Keith's 12:35 pm EDT note: 22 or so hours after decompression began (and one would expect 24 or more hours after a decision was made to evacuate NEEMO) NASA JSC PAO finally gets around to issuing a press release.

NASA Moon Rock Sting Terrifies Grandmother, AP

"Soon after settling into a booth, [74-year-old suspect Joann] Davis said, she pulled out the moon sample and about half a dozen sheriff's deputies and NASA investigators rushed into the eatery. When officers in flack vests took a hold of her, the 4-foot-11 woman said she was so scared she lost control of her bladder and was taken outside to a parking lot, where she was questioned and detained for about two hours. "They grabbed me and pulled me out of the booth," Davis claimed. "I had very, very deep bruises on my left side." Conley declined to comment and NASA Office of the Inspector General spokeswoman Renee Juhans said she could not talk about an ongoing investigation."

NASA wants grandma's moonrock, Politico

"Davis reportedly wrote to a NASA contractor in May in an attempt to sell the rock. "I've been searching the internet for months attempting to find a buyer," she said in an email. "If you have any thoughts as to how I can proceed with the sale of these two items, please call."

Granny: NASA scared me into returning moon rock, CNet

"Might it at least have been an idea for NASA to explain to her that this was not rightly hers, instead of mounting what appears to be a very expensive, heavy-handed, and slightly cheesy expedition?"

Has NASA gone loony? Moon rocks or bust, Opinion, LA Times

"But a 74-year-old Lake Elsinore woman emails a government agent asking about how she can sell her tiny bit of the moon to pay for her son's medical care -- never mind the question of what kind of country beggars people for getting sick -- and NASA swoops in on her at a Denny's like they'd found Osama bin Laden."

Feds grab granny in moon rock sting (with video), CBS

"Davis recalled, "Someone is grabbing me from the back. Now they're pulling me out of the booth and they have a hold of me pretty darn good, and the force was like, unnecessary ... because I'm like 110 (pounds). I'm four-foot-eleven." Davis claims the agents bruised her arm and tailbone during the incident, but the emotional wounds are far worse. "I felt humiliated," Davis said. "I felt, this may not be proper to say, but I tell you, I felt raped. I really did."

Keith's Note: This is just utterly ridiculous - and no one at NASA seems to have the spine to respond? What possible threat could this elderly woman have presented that warranted this sort of response? Funny how all of a sudden no one will "comment on an ongoing investigation" - yet someone close to what the IG was up to was clearly talking to the media - in great detail. Shouldn't the IG be going after these leakers too? If the individual(s) involved did what it is alleged they did then they deserve whatever punishment the legal system delivers. But treating an elderly woman like this is simply inexcusable.

NASA Hosting Human Space Exploration Workshop

"NASA will host a three-day Human Space Exploration Community Workshop in San Diego starting on Monday, Nov. 14. The agency will introduce the International Space Exploration Coordination Group's Global Exploration Roadmap during the event. ... Due to space limitations, reporters are invited to watch the workshop via webcast and submit questions via email. For details, visit:"

Keith's note: This meeting is being held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego an immense hotel which brags about having "More than 125,000 square feet of flexible function space" and the "Largest ballroom in San Diego.". And yet NASA cannot find a way to fit in - oh a dozen or so media? This is just nonsense. NASA does not want media to interfere with the people at this event - so they simply ban them from being present physically and then impose a filter on what they can/cannot ask and who they will be allowed to question. So much for transparency and openness.

Keith's note: Just saw this posted on Twitter by the National Press Club (NPC): "Watch today's #NPCLunch with @HarveyLevinTMZ live at 1pm on See the webcast live here -". I find it rather hilarious how the esteemed National Press Club hosts the guy who runs a Hollywood gossip website/TV show but refuses to allow long-time space media reps (me and others) to cover their space-related events without possession of a plastic laminated badge.

- Lunch at The Dinosaur Club, earlier post

"The NPC is supposed to be promoting journalism and news coverage - yet they put a barrier between media who cover their events by requiring all questions be submitted in advance. In addition, they pick and chose as to what media allowed to "cover" the event based on whether or not they have some sort of laminated name tag (they are not exactly clear on where you get these tags). And those who do not meet their criteria have to pay money to have access to the government official who is speaking."

- Shielding Bolden From Unfiltered Questions, earlier post

German ROSAT Satellite Has Fallen to Earth, Say NASA Sources, ABC

"The German ROSAT satellite fell back to Earth Saturday evening, U.S. time, NASA sources told ABC News. DLR, Germany's scientific research agency, said the satellite re-entered the atmosphere between 9:45 and 10:15 p.m. ET. It was the second time a satellite large enough to for debris to reach the Earth's surface has fallen from orbit in the past month, an occurence that typically happens only once per year."

Damage From Falling Satellites? Insurance Will Cover It, New York Times

"The odds of a fragment hitting your little patch of earth are extremely low. But not to worry: if you are unlucky enough to have some space shrapnel fall on your house or car, standard insurance policies will most likely cover the damage, says the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group."

Marc's note: According to the German Aerospace Center (DLR) the latest prediction on ROSAT re-entry: Between 22 October 2011, 18:00 UTC & 23 October 2011, 12:00 UTC. Follow the DLR tweets for the latest re-entry updates.

Marc's Update: German satellite hits east of India, centre says, CBC

"Parts of a defunct German research satellite have returned to Earth and likely fallen into the Bay of Bengal, east of India, the chair of the German Aerospace Centre says."

Keith's note: DARPA is hosting a conference for its 100 Year Starship project between 30 September - 2 October in Orlando. The agenda is interesting and ecclectic. We'll be onsite at the conference covering this event via live blogging at our new sister site You can also follow via Twitter at @NASAhackSpace or see Tweets from other participants on Twitter via the hashtag #100yss.



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