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JSC's Chicken Farm – the Future of NASA Education?

By Keith Cowing
August 18, 2006

NASA, Zoo Set Ribbon Cutting For Prairie Chicken Facility, NASA JSC

Editor’s note: At the same time NASA is cutting science clearly relevant to the agency’s Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) and its administrator seeks to diminish the importance of funding education programs clearly relevant to NASA and the VSE, JSC seeks to promote this silly local project as being “part of JSC’s educational outreach program, which fosters the next generation of explorers by encouraging young people to study scientific and technical subjects. The facility gives area students an opportunity to see first-hand the importance of habitat conservation and protection.”

How about picking – and then funding – a topic with some actual connection to NASA’s exploration program – and promoting that? You really have to wonder if anyone on the 9th floor at NASA HQ is paying any attention whatsoever to the public impressions NASA is sending out when inane and trivial press releases such as this are sent out.

Students advised to seek experience in the private aeronautics sector, Salt Lake Tribune

“It simply is not among the top priorities I have at NASA to fund student experiments,” Griffin said during a question-and-answer session.”

Mars Society conference report: Griffin and Elon not ready for K2 summit push,

“How do we motivate students to study astrobiology if this science is not favored in the budget?” asked a teacher. “If they want to work for government money, they must look at what the government wants – not what they think it should want. If they want to work with something the government doesn’t want, they’ll have to find other money to fund it,” Griffin stated.”

Editor’s note: O.K. If I am to take Dr. Griffin at his word, then funding a NASA chicken ranch in cooperation with a local zoo is more important than funding actual space life science and astrobiology research – because that is what the government is asking him to fund.

NASA’s vision needs some corrective eyeglasses.

Reader note: “The only good thing about the NASA Chicken Ranch at JSC is that they can have a free barbeque when the project is terminated due to further budget cuts.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.