Friday, July 27, 2007

What's with NASA these days?

Yesterday was an extremely revealing day for NASA. Three scandals were uncovered. THREE! I can't believe this!

The first are reports of astronauts drinking before launch. Now, the news sources for this story were very incomplete and scattered. So far, the most complete article I've seen is this one in Chron. As far as I was able to piece together, NASA's rule is the 12 hour rule: no drinking 12 hours before launch. However there were two cases where astronauts violated this rule, and medical crew noticed this, but the launch continued. And then there's the pressure and stress of launch, so alcohol may not exactly be the best addition to the mix. Heck, here, you can be arrested for riding a bicycle under the influence. However, I still think we should wait for more information to come out.

The next are reports of an apparent sabotage of a computer component. It seems to have consisted of a cut wire by a worker in a contracted company. And the weird thing is that NASA plans to fix it within the launch date, which is in, oh, two weeks. NASA has better things to do than fix a non-essential computer component for the next launch, right? Yes, a lot of weird stuff is going on around here.

Last is an embezzlement of $150,000 from NASA. It was done by an employee at Kennedy Space Center who fraudulently transferred money from NASA credit card. Now, these credit cards are for employees who need to buy stuff, I'm guessing, kinda RELEVANT to research. Not to be used for extraction of public funds. Man, yesterday was just not a good day for NASA.

Well, time to bring some positive aspects. I've noticed all these scandals have to do with the manned spaceflight program. Luckily, nothing has happened at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory here in California. In fact, they bring GOOD news. The rovers might make it through the dust storm. So, don't hate NASA, the unmanned space flight people don't deserve it.

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