Shovel Ready

Please, sir, may we have another?

(CNN) — A NASA satellite crashed back to Earth about three minutes after launch early Tuesday, officials said.

“We could not make orbit,” NASA program manager John Brunschwyler said. “Initial indications are the vehicle did not have enough [force] to reach orbit and landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean.”

“Certainly for the science community, it’s a huge disappointment.”

The $273 million satellite, called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, would have collected global measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere to help better forecast changes in carbon-dioxide levels and their effect on the Earth’s climate. [more]

NASA: “A Hopelessly Old-Fashioned View of the Future”

A current Bob Park’s item which I will brazenly quote in its entirety.

In discussing NASA’s future on Tuesday, the NY Times was mesmerized by
the “gap” between the end of the shuttle and the launch of a new bus to
transport astronauts. Forget the damn gap. The 21st Century will be
focused on planets around other suns, and on the bad news about what’s
happening to our own planet. [more]

NASA, DOE, and the Myth of Neutrality

UPDATE: To clarify my point here, US Federal scientific agencies have an aversion to taking positions. SUch aversion is not in line with public desires or expectations, and is ultimately infeasible. A refusal to take a policy position by a public agency on a matter of their specific expertise is equivalent to taking an explicit position that a policy is unnecessary. [more]

Hansen v Griffin; NASA mission

Thanks to Jim Torson, who on the globalchange list points to this interesting report on Hansen’s response to NASA administrator Griffin’s astonishing comments of last week.

This also ties into a “where’s the damned press” meme. Note especially the last three paragraphs from Hansen. Consider whether these results were handled in a manner appropriate to a free society, with respect to not only the responsibilities of the legislative sector but also those of the press. [more]