Space & Planetary Science: April 2005 Archives

NASA Internal Memo: ROSES 2005 NASA Research Announcement Amendment:Postponement of Sun-Solar System Connection Guest Investigators Program

"On or about April 25, NASA will amend the ROSES 2005 NASA Research Announcement to postpone the solicitation of proposals in the Sun-Solar System Connection Guest Investigators program until after a senior review that will be held in fall 2005. No new proposal due date is being announced at this time."

Posted on the NSPIRES website:

"Discovery 2005 AO: The Discovery 2005 AO will not be released on April 22, 2005. NASA has received a Congressional inquiry regarding the guidelines followed, and decisions made, with respect to the Discovery 2004 AO. NASA will release the Discovery 2005 AO as soon as possible."

NASA Redux editorial, Science (subscription)

"Bashing the president on his new exploration vision is probably a waste of breath. A more effective approach would be to insist that exploration is what NASA's science is all about, whether studying the oceans, extrasolar stars, or a Mars ravine, and whether it's done by humans or robots. Finding more money will be hard in a domestic discretionary budget squeezed by growing entitlements and the effect of the tax cuts. But the White House and the Congress must recognize that NASA's superb and diverse research programs should benefit from the president's vision rather than pay a price for it. Let's hope that Griffin, who once observed that the competition between robotic and human missions should not become a zero-sum game, will summon that same wisdom and diplomacy to keep the best science at NASA intact and thriving."

Exploring the Universe, Roger Blanford, Physics Today

"What is to be done? First we have to adapt, not because we have somehow failed, but because the rules have been changed and there is no going back. We have to make the case anew for space science, using a different vocabulary. We have to explain why all science is exploration, whereas not all exploration is science. In particular, we must not allow science-the systematic and fundamental understanding of the world around us-to be redefined. We should be careful not to disparage the larger part of the vision, which may be unconcerned with science but which is a valid activity for NASA to undertake if it has a popular mandate to do so."

Lost in space, OpEd, Boston Globe

"NASA leaders should reject a plan from NASA's Earth-Sun Exploration Division to eliminate the modest $10 million spent on Voyager annually."

Our Incredible Shrinking Curiosity, Washington Post

"After all, can it be anything but foolish to turn a deaf ear to the most distant human-made objects in the universe -- devices that after nearly three decades of travel are now registering and describing for us the first ripples of interstellar space?"

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Update 8 April 2005

"Sol 446: Spirit and Opportunity use NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter as their main communications link between Mars and Earth. On April 2, Odyssey entered "safe mode," which is a protective state a spacecraft automatically enters when onboard fault protection software instructs the spacecraft to disregard its onboard sequence of commands and wait for instructions from the ground. As a result, relay communication with the rovers was suspended, and Spirit did not receive any data from sols 444 and 445. With an unknown status of the rover after its drive, the Spirit team restricted rover operations to remote sensing."

Editor's note: Well, after several odd, taunting emails from Alan Binder (who raised the Scott Peterson and O.J. trials to make some crazy point) I bought his book. Binder refused to have his publisher send me a review copy. Oh well. It arrived today. It weighs several kilos and has a cheap binding that begins to break the moment you open it. That not withstanding, a quick perusal for several minutes (there' s no index to guide you through this 2.5 inch thick, phonebook-sized tome) really provides some insight into Binder's bitter "author as victim" writing style. On page 722 he describes one NASA manager as an "incompetent jerk engineer". On page 710 Binder refers to another NASA manager as a "arrogant, fat little bastard" and after repeating this compliment dozens of times, adds "pompous" to his tirade on page 728. On page 421 he refers to someone else as a "back stabbing SOB". And so on. If I spent 5 more minutes I am sure I'd find more examples of gratuitous name calling. Clearly this book served as some sort of primal scream therapy for Binder. I bought it out of curiosity, but I cannot say that I would recommend it to anyone - certainly not for $40!

"Generally one proposal will be selected at random for one grand grant and two runners-up will receive honorable mention in each opportunity, now to be called a drawing."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from April 2005.

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