Sunday, November 26, 2006

“To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can.”

As you may recall earth science was deep-sixed from this administrations NASA mission statement early this year, perhaps in response to emanations from New York, perhaps not. This raised issues about Earth Science's future in NASA, especially in light of the reorganization that smushed Earth and Space Sciences into the same Directorate and established a new Exploration Directorate

Folks in the various Earth Sciences Divisions/Directorates at NASA Centers cannot be too encouraged by how the Science Mission Directorate describes itself

The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) engages the Nation’s science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA’s partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space. SMD seeks to understand the origins, evolution, and destiny of the universe and to understand the nature of the strange phenomena that shape it. SMD also seeks to understand:

  • the nature of life in the universe and what kinds of life may exist beyond Earth;
  • the solar system, both scientifically and in preparation for human exploration; and
  • the Sun and Earth, changes in the Earth-Sun system, and the consequences of the Earth-Sun relationship for life on Earth.
Well, Eli, following the NASA Watch carrot chips, heard rumblings that the Strategic Communications hares had come up with a new and improved strategy for selling the brand NASA and, dear reader, the majik word is SECURITY (darn, why didn't we think of that)
NASA improves security by providing spacebased resources for monitoring and detection that create a cleaner, healthier, safer world.
True there is passing mention under science, but look at the Elevator Speech to see where the priorities lie
NASA explores new worlds to improve our own. We are sending humans into space on a quest of exploration and scientific discovery. As we go, we are trailblazing the way for new commercial markets in space and economic growth at home. From space we monitor weather, climate and environmental systems on Earth so we will have a cleaner, healthier, safer world. In short, we are building a future of hope, prosperity and peace through the exploration and settlement of space, the new human frontier.
C'est la meme chose. Why do I keep saying that?


Anonymous said...

I was wondering, Eli, if you had seen Hansen's recent remarks on AGW and denialism.
(via bad astronomer)
Fun quote:

But may it be that this is all a bad dream? I will stand
accused of being as wistful as the boy who cried out, "Joe, say
it ain't so!" to the fallen Shoeless Joe Jackson of the 1919
Chicago Black Sox, yet I maintain the hope that NASA's dis-
missal of "home planet" is not a case of either shooting the
messenger or a too-small growth of the total NASA budget,
but simply an error of transcription. Those who have labored
in the humid, murky environs of Washington are aware of the
unappetizing forms of life that abound there. Perhaps the
NASA playbook was left open late one day, and by chance the
line "to understand and protect our home planet" was erased
by the slimy belly of a slug crawling in the night. For the sake
of our children and grandchildren, let us pray that this is the
true explanation for the devious loss, and that our home
planet's rightful place in NASA's mission will be restored.

EliRabett said...

Yes, and we moved your comment up to its own place