News: September 2019 Archives

Keith's update: Three days ago I asked NASA PAO these questions.

"1. Why was this paper posted on NTRS, a publicly accessible NASA website and then taken offline? Will it be reposted?
2. Who is funding this research? NASA? A private company (if so who)? Both? How much has NASA spent on this project? How much have commercial parters spent on this project? Is the project ongoing or has it been completed?
3. Can you send me a copy of the original paper as it was posted on NTRS? I have posted a cache version I found that has typos in it and I'd rather have people read the un-garbled version."

This is the response I just got from NASA ARC PAO. They can't/won't even admit that this research exists but sometimes people make mistakes and publish things too soon.

"Hi Keith, we don't have information we can share at this time. However, I wanted to follow up about why a paper might be removed from the NASA Technical Reports Server. Draft research papers go through internal review processes prior to being submitted to journals and peer-review. This can involve uploading drafts to NASA websites. In the case of an administrative human error causing a paper to be released prematurely, NASA would remove the paper from the website in order to wait for a final draft, respect publishing considerations, and hold until an appropriate date for release. Thanks again for reaching out. We look forward to more news to come."

Quantum Supremacy Using a Programmable Superconducting Processor, NASA

"Here, we report using a processor with programmable superconducting qubits to create quantum states on 53 qubits, occupying a state space 253 ˘1016. Measurements from repeated experiments sample the corresponding probability distribution, which we verify using classical simulations. While our processor takes about 200 seconds to sample one instance of the quantum circuit 1 million times, a state-of-the-art supercomputer would require approximately 10,000 years to perform the equivalent task."

Keith's note: Last week a paper authored by NASA Ames Research Center employee Eleanor G. Rieffel, titled "Quantum Supremacy Using a Programmable Superconducting" Processor, was posted on the publicly accessible NASA NTRS but was then removed. Apparently the Finanical Times was the first to catch this - their article is here behind paywall. NASA has not provided a reason for its removal. I located a Google cached version of the paper here which I have posted on SpaceRef.

Quantum computer bests all conventional computers in first claim of 'supremacy', Science

"The age of quantum computing may have begun not with a flashy press conference, but with an internet leak. According to a paper posted briefly--and presumably mistakenly--to a lab site, physicists at Google have used a quantum computer to perform a calculation that would overwhelm the world's best conventional supercomputer. Although the specific computation has no known use, the result means scientists have passed a milestone known as "quantum supremacy."

Cruz's test: how to keep Houston central to space flight [Editorial]

"But the flesh-and-blood part of the techno-wizardry of the Space program has always run first through Houston. Not Huntsville, Cape Canaveral nor any of many NASA facilities around the country. Isn't the Texas congressional delegation disproportionately influential on this issue? It sure ought to be. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas chairs the Senate subcommittee on space. Rep. Brian Babin of Woodville is the ranking Republican on the House space subcommittee. Yet, a key part of one of the most ambitious plans in NASA history quietly walks out of Houston and ends up nearly 800 miles away. That dog don't hunt. Even before the announcement was made officially, Cruz, Babin and Texas' senior Sen. John Cornyn fired off a letter Aug. 15 demanding the pending decision be reconsidered."

NASA Invites Media to Economic Impact News Conference with Texas Comptroller's Office

"NASA will host officials of the Texas Comptroller's Office and news media on Thursday, Sept. 12 as the Lone Star state announces a special economic impact report for the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The report, "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): A Texas Institution with a Large Economic Impact," highlights employment numbers, average wages, gross domestic product, and grants that NASA introduces to the state. The report also details the center and its workforce's influences on education, tourism and future growth, particularly in the Gulf Coast region. NASA's impact on Texas, and Johnson's position as the world leader in human spaceflight, remain strong as the agency moves toward human exploration of deep space with the Artemis program and a landing on the Moon by 2024, initiatives that include many key roles at Johnson. The news conference will begin at 11:15 a.m. CDT Sept. 12. Media wishing to participate in person must request credentials from the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. Dial-in participation will not be available."

Keith's note: This is silly. After the decision to put the Human Lander responsibility in Huntsville, NASA wants everyone to know how much of an impact NASA spending has in Texas. But unless you can make it to a room at JSC next Thursday you won't be able to hear what is said. Johnson PAO apparently does not know how - or does not care to provide a simple dial-in for media - or an audio or video feed for people elsewhere to listen/watch. One would think that NASA would understand that this sort of news, while pertaining to Texas, has applicability to the region and can also raise awareness in other states with regard to NASA's economic footprint. Given the sheer number of vendors for Artemis and other NASA programs, the entire country benefits.

Oh yes the press release says "View the upcoming economic impact report and get more information on the Texas Comptroller's office at: https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/". There is no obvious mention of the report on that website. But if you search for "NASA" you get a link to this page where you see lots of pretty NASA pictures - but no link to the report. There is no mention of this event at the JSC home page. NASA HQ makes no mention of this press release on their press release page or the Artemis page. Nor is there any mention on the nasa.gov home page or its calendar of events.

Look at this Texas portion (larger image) of the list of companies that are suppliers to SLS/Orion/Artemis: "2019 Deep Space Exploration Systems Supplier Locations". These 182 companies are located all over Texas. I'll be willing to bet that nearly all of these companies have no idea that there is a NASA website that lists all of the small business that work on this project. The Texas Comptroller seems not to know about it. JSC does not mention it either. Why go through the time and expense of collecting this information if no one is told that it exists?

If you make it hard for people to find - or hear - your good news they may not find it. NASA has yet to figure out how to tell people about its good news. Meanwhile Jim Bridenstine has managed to learn how to livestream events from his cellphone. Baffling.


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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from September 2019.

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