NASA – You Are Doing What!

February 23, 2011

Since President Obama took office in 2009, little has been said under his administration about our current space program.  However, finally a year after taking office, the President has called for a shut down in NASA’s program that plans to return humans to the moon. The Constellation Program, which is set to gain insight exploring away from Earth’s environment could potentially lead to new technologies helping humans lead the space frontier.  What this means is,  by 2020 astronauts would have  been going to the International Space Station (ISS), then to the Moon, Mars and beyond.  Now the Obama Administration has decided as of early February 2010 that it wants NASA to direct its attention towards developing new space scientific information.

According to The New York Times, under this current proposal NASA is expected to receive $20 billion dollars each year through 2015, totally up to $100 billion dollars.  In order to obtain such funds, came the $9 billion decision to not use Constellation’s Ares 1 rocket or Orian crew capsule to take astronauts to the ISS.  The plan is to subcontract out projects to companies that would serve as a space taxi to take supplies and astronauts to the ISS.  Dr. John M. Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute believes this is a risky move for NASA to make, yet understands the decision because the agency needs time to develope new technology since a lot of its operating systems are based on the  original technology from the 50’s and 60’s.  It’s also important to realize that there is a risk that maybe these subcontracted companies can’t deliver the technology and ideas to serve as a taxi for astronauts; which would financially hurt NASA and prolong any space activity.  This also could mean paying Russia millions of dollars to transport our astronauts to the ISS.

As of December 30, 2010 as Fox News reports in Rocket to Nowhere, NASA must continue building the Ares 1 rocket until there is a 2011 budget that is passed.  Yet here is the problem, the government hasn’t passed a 2011 budget; even President Obama has order to shut down the Constellation Program.   Which means us tax payers are watching over $500 million dollars of our money get spent on a rocket that will never fly. Even former NASA astronaut Tom Jones got in on the discussion with Fox News and he is highly disappointed in our government because until they pass the 2011 budge;  NASA will continue to spend money for at least another six months on a project that isn’t even going to take us to the future.

The big concern now is the development and continuation of the ISS.  If NASA can’t get ideas and projects complete, how much longer will the ISS be of a service to our country.  NASA and its subcontractors must get operations working by the 2020 deadline, or maybe we could expect to see the ISS floating off the Pacific Ocean.

There was quite a craze leading up to NASA’s big announcement on December 2nd regarding an astrobiology discovery and why there may be a new outlook on life.   Robert Quigley discusses in his blog at GeekoSystem.com that NASA sure likes to pull out all their publicity stunts on media day; our nation must hand it too them for always causing a ruckus.  The question Quigley wanted answered, is whether the arsenic, the chemical that is supposed to substitute phosphorus, actually forms and continues to show growth within the organism’s biochemical DNA.  Yet NASA, also states in their press release on December 2nd, that they have reliable sources to gather their data from.  Quigley, continues to rant that whether these scientist work for NASA or not, the information that is being delivered to the public is boring and not worth listening too.   While this biological information might be interesting for geeks, this is not worth the buzz it has been receiving throughout the media for the possibility of extraterrestrial life forms existing.

There were media outlets like Discover Magazine and New York Daily News reiterating the fact about potential life forms such as Aliens, are on other planets and that this particular press release from NASA has been way over due for years. The announcement was simply a big mistake for NASA, and has already been overlooked by various scientists. The term that defines this particular research has being described as sloppy.  There is speculation that microbe’s were not properly treated and cleaned for this experiment.  There is also the possibly of arsenic being stuck onto the DNA and or phosphorus still remaining in the organism through lab exposure.  There are too many gray areas for this research to be accepted.  There is a lot of presumption here because scientist didn’t have to go to another planet to figure this out.  The evidence was found right here in California.

 The hype was drawn out for a reason, and one which could be to initiate potential funding or to attract attention to NASA since their agency may be getting shut down.  This you will read about throughout my blog.

 Researchers  of The  National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), have begun to challenge the fundamental materials in not only our educational textbooks, but also, what we as humans knows of as life on Earth.  According to this press release article NASA’s funded experimental projects that analyzes astrobiology  have discovered signs of life in a toxic chemical.  Those researchers conducting the test are located in Mono Lake in California; and have found the first microorganism on Earth that has the ability to flourish by a toxic chemical know as arsenic

While there are six essential building blocks that support all known life on Earth: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur, one element in particular defies new meaning.  Although phosphorus is given credit for carrying development in DNA and RNA, it is now being substituted by arsenic for cell components.  Laboratory studies have shown microbes continuing to grow when arsenic is placed in selective samples.  This has only given Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator and Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA astrobiology researcher, the belief that we have a whole new meaning to the term life. Wolfe-Simon now suggests we need to really question, what other evidence of life forms exist on Earth, other planets and even the Universe?

The Washington Post, and The New York Times, both had similar stories when reporting this news release for NASA.  While both articles seem to be intrigued by these findings, they ultimately “hyped up” this discovery for NASA to dramatize  the idea of potential life forms “aliens”  that may remain in our solar system that we are unaware of.  It was a bit interesting to find little if any information about this topic on major broadcasting websites such as CNN or FOX.  Though there were other sources that reported on NASA’s discovery, along with the ones just mentioned, a majority seemed to not question the scientific reasoning behind this particular study.  However, in my next post find out how and why this topic of life is just the tipping point in starting the fire that has bloggers and major news media’s outraged.