[FoRK] You'll Get Pie In The Sky (When You Die)

Ian Andrew Bell < hello at ianbell.com > on > Fri Dec 8 13:16:34 PST 2006


Uh, About That Bold and Daring NASA Moon Colony
* You'll get pie in the sky when you die.

(((Whenever the Administration declares that NASA is going to do  
something stupendously amazing twenty years from now, it's window- 
dressing for an immediate purge. Here's one. Eliminate Earth  
planetary science. Okay, somebody else pays for that imaginary Moon  
base in two decades, and in the meantime, the planet Earth becomes a  
greenhoused husk. "Inconvenient truths? What inconvenient truths? You  
wanna picture of the shrinking North Pole, get up there and take it  

From: tpsmbl at planetary.org

Subject: NASA Science Situation More Dire Than We Thought!

Date: December 5, 2006 8:30:00 AM PST

Dear Member,

The disastrous anti-science, anti-exploration agenda being foisted on  
NASA and Space Science has become more dangerous than we ever  
imagined possible.

And the chief architect of this alarming trend is the U.S.  

Today, I am personally asking you to help fend off these attackers.

Once you've read about these outrageous new assaults on Space Science  
and on Exploration, I'm sure you'll want to do everything you can to  
help fight back.

First, the Administration made devastating cuts to the Space Science  
budget. This gave Congress and NASA head Mike Griffin the clear  
message that science - and the great adventure of robotic space  
exploration - must no longer be an important part of NASA's mission.

In order to keep its supposed promise of "pay-as-you-go" for its  
Vision for Space Exploration, the Administration chose to slash funds  
and cancel planetary exploration missions already in the works. Funds  
earmarked for science research at universities and laboratories  
across the United States were reallocated to pay back Shuttle repair  
and recovery expenses that the Bush Administration was unwilling to  
budget for.

What's ironic is that the Vision for Space Exploration (which The  
Planetary Society still supports) specifically slated the Shuttle for  
retirement in just a few short years and mandated a new launch  
vehicle to replace it. But now, the Administration is refusing to  
fund its own Vision adequately. They would rather cancel missions  
from the very part of NASA that has been succeeding so gloriously --  
the programs that have brought us Mars Exploration Rovers, Cassini,  
Stardust, Deep Impact and, of course, the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA actually rewrote -- most likely under pressure from the  
Administration -- NASA's long-standing Mission Statement, the very  
foundation of everything the agency has strived, and today strives,  
to achieve.

They had the audacity to remove the words "to understand and protect  
the Earth" as one of NASA's primary goals. This may, at first  
hearing, sound like a small change, but its true import is  
astonishing in its flagrant misunderstanding of science and of our  
own planet!From global warming, hurricanes, tsunamis and other  
devastating weather phenomena, to deforestation, the plunder of our  
oceans, and the opening of the ozone hole, among many other crucial  
research programs...NASA's scientists -- Earth and other planetary  
scientists alike -- are there working. Much of the knowledge of these  
subjects has been helped by our exploration of other worlds. (((It  
doesn't take a grant from Exxon--Mobil to figure that one out.)))

What's more, vital knowledge about our Earth is directly applied to  
the space program -- to the exploration of the cosmos, to missions in  
near-Earth orbit, to the dangers of asteroids and comets, to the  
existence of black holes, and to the impact of the Sun on Earth and  
other planets.

Now, in yet another slap at the value and future of Space Science and  
Exploration, NASA head Mike Griffin unceremoniously requested the  
resignations of two distinguished scientists from the NASA Advisory  
Council (NAC). A third resigned immediately thereafter. These are  
seasoned veterans with long records of, and a dedication to, working  
with NASA. They are also vocal supporters of Space Science, bold  
individuals who objected to the Administration's mandate that is  
forcing NASA to dramatically scale down a host of science projects.

The scientists asked to resign were Eugene Levy, Rice University  
Provost and Planetary Society President Wesley T. Huntress Jr.,  
former chief of science at NASA and now an astrochemist at the  
Carnegie Institution. Charles Kennel, highly respected Director of  
the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and former chief of Earth  
sciences at NASA, was the third to resign.

Whether these actions were political, or "merely" designed to limit  
advice to that which was already decided by the Bush Administration,  
they do not bode well for the future of science at NASA. NASA head  
Mike Griffin is clearly between a rock and a hard place.

How can we stand by and let Space Science and Exploration die?

None of us can afford to retreat into the comfort of silence and  
apathy. We do that at our own peril. For the obliteration of science  
and missions of discovery will surely affect all of us and future  

This is not just about NASA, it's about us, the Members of The  
Planetary Society. You, me, all of us Society Members around the  
world are the beacon of hope here. We are the ones with the clout to  
reverse this threatened decline of science. And we are the ones with  
the tools and the power to fight back.

Together, we will make it happen! To help, these are the first steps  
you must take:

First, sign a petition to President George W. Bush. By signing this  
petition, you will be sending President Bush your strong message that  
his attempt to obliterate science and exploration is a failed policy,  
and a dangerous one.
Sign the petition at: http://planetary.org/sos

Second, send an emergency contribution to the Society. We're going to  
make noise, big noise -- through petitions like the one you're  
signing today, through ads in major newspapers and magazines, press  
conferences, direct mail and the Internet.
Donate online at: https://planetary.org/join/donate/sosupd07/

We have the support of scientists and other respected experts all  
over the world who are lending their names and voices to the  
Society's Save Our Science Campaign. But it will take money - a lot  
of money - to make this Campaign a success.

We have some funds, but we're a bare-bones non-profit that tries to  
keep our expenses as low as possible. That's why we must rely on  
Members like you and other generous supporters to help us foot the  
bill for all the critical actions I've just described.

The more we raise, the more successful we'll be. We'll use every gift  
wisely to fight these attacks, stop the obliteration of science and  
exploration, and, hopefully, get NASA back on the right track.

Will you help? We're really counting on you. Thanks.

Louis Friedman http://planetary.org/sos


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