Space & Planetary Science: December 2006 Archives

"I'm as big a fan of manned space flight as anyone, but I'm disappointed that the official NASA wall calendaronly shows pictures of manned space flight. Sure, that's what the bureaucracy is there for - but why can't we see the glorious results from the robotic systems? Last year, since I couldn't find a decent Cassinior Mars Rover wall calendar, I decided to make my own. This year Cafe Press has a new, larger calendar format, and I hope you'll agree the results are stunning."

Calendars are available here.

No Mars Rover for Canada

Ottawa won't back Canadian-built Mars rover, CBC

"The federal government has turned down a request by Canada's space industry to support a contract that would have allowed thecompanies to build the European Space Agency's Mars surface rover, CBC News has learned. The decision stunned the companies and has left the ESA scrambling to find a new partner, as no European firm is adequately prepared to match the technical abilities of Canadian firms to build its ExoMars rover."

Geomagnetic Storm in Progress

NOAA SEC Space Weather Advisory Bulletin #06-5: Geomagnetic Storm in Progress

Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 13 Dec 2006

"Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to reach major to severe storm levels. Activity from the CME observed early on 13 December is expected to impact the geomagnetic field by mid to late UTC on day 1 (14 December) of the forecast period. Major to severe storm conditions are expected to continue early into 15 December. Levels should decrease to unsettled to minor storming by 16 December. The greater than 100 MeV and 10 MeV proton events now in progress are expected to continue for the next 24 to 48 hours."

NASA JPL Internal Memo: Hold Order: NASA Inspector General Investigation of Censorship

"Caltech recently was notified by NASA that the NASA Office of Inspector General, at congressional request, is conducting an investigation into allegations of censorship of scientific information at NASA. As a result, Caltech/JPL must retain any government documents related to the matters identified below. This email constitutes a "Hold Order" regarding these documents and is being sent to those individuals who we believe may have had dealings with NASA with respect to NASA practices or policies, past or current, affecting dissemination of scientific information to the public."

Editor's note: Have a look at these postings on the chat page. The postings start with a snotty item suggesting that this item posted on NASA Watch - that Aviation Week had learned about an upcoming news item about water on the surface of Mars "might be just smoke." That was followed by Alex Blackwell's utterly baseless (and false) claim that "Actually, AW&ST got an advance look at the embargoed press release.".

Then guess what: the future event posted on NASA Watch and Aviation Week actually came to pass. Funny how things like this happen, isn't it?

Note to Alex Blackell (and webmaster Doug Ellison): Aviation Week staff did not have access to embargoed material. Ask them yourselves. Why not check with them before posting such false rumors, eh? Keep that in mind the next time you two get up on your soapbox and slap people for posting rumors.

Editor's update: The site's webmaster, Doug Ellison has replied "We wont be responding to that 'story', and hope that people here will see it for what it is and ignore it." (Note: This last response by Ellison vanished a few hours later). Aviation Week has denied breaking any embargo. But I guess Doug Ellison does not care about being accurate - even as he chides others for the same trangression. Indeed, even when presented with evidence to the contrary, he prefers to print (post) lies on his website.

Editor's 12 Dec update: It took several days but Alex Blackwell finally removed his false accusation about Aviation Week.

Back to the Moon, Permanently, editorial, New York Times

"If this nation is to continue a human space flight program it makes sense to pick a more exciting destination than a space station circling endlessly in low Earth orbit. Our main concern is that the political proponents of the Moon-Mars adventure will not provide money commensurate with the task. NASAs crowning scientific achievements have come from its unmanned probes to distant worlds and its orbiting observatories. It would be a shame if an underfinanced program to return to the Moon on a permanent basis and then venture on to Mars forced reductions in research programs of higher scientific value."

Editor's note: It would be so much more efficient - for all involved - if the NY Times would simply come out against sending humans into space once and for all - and then reprint that editorial once a month.

Oozing on Mars

NASA Images Suggest Water Still Flows in Brief Spurts on Mars

"NASA photographs have revealed bright new deposits seen in two gullies on Mars that suggest water carried sediment through them sometime during the past seven years. "These observations give the strongest evidence to date that water still flows occasionally on the surface of Mars," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, Washington."

NASA Schedules Briefing to Announce Significant Find on Mars

"NASA hosts a news briefing at 1 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 6, to present new science results from the Mars Global Surveyor. The briefing will take place in the NASA Headquarters auditorium located at 300 E Street, S.W. in Washington and carried live on NASA Television and"

Editor's note: You really have to wonder if anyone is really in the driver's seat at NASA HQ PAO. They wait until the press corps that covers NASA is either at KSC waiting for a shuttle launch - or in Houston at a major exploration conference that the agency is strongly suporting - and only THEN does PAO plan a major announcement about Mars - at NASA HQ - one that many of us cannot cover. Did NASA's Mars scientists *just* make this discovery the other day? I doubt it. Has NASA been sitting on this for a while? More likely. Or has the news started to dribble out (once again) and NASA finds itself playing catch up?

Editor's update: Apparently some reporters were given access to embargoed information from the participants and NASA JPL while others were not. So much for providing equal access to all media. NASA is playing favorites once again.

At one point the paper was posted on this unpublicized link (now inactive) for some reporters to see - but not others:

The Daily Mail has managed to get a picture associated with this announcement.

Editor's note: According to an item first posted by Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine: "NASA is ready to announce major new findings about the presence of water currently emerging onto the surface of Mars.

NASA Looks to the Future With Eye on the Past, Washington Post

"But Wes Huntress, a former NASA associate administrator and ex-member of the NASA science advisory board, said that ever since Bush announced the space exploration vision, the administration has refused to give the agency additional funding to accomplish its mission. The result is that "Griffin has had to cannibalize the agency to get the money for the new program," Huntress said. "Even at that, I don't think there are sufficient funds to support even the return to the moon once the program gets really moving."



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from December 2006.

Space & Planetary Science: November 2006 is the previous archive.

Space & Planetary Science: January 2007 is the next archive.

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