Saturday, November 28, 2020
Home Middle Column Physicist: Sen. Ted Cruz is right: Earth sciences aren't NASA's mission

Physicist: Sen. Ted Cruz is right: Earth sciences aren’t NASA’s mission

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Ted Cruz is right: Earth sciences aren’t NASA’s mission

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The deterioration of NASA and its contamination by mediocre Earth-bound pseudointellectuals has to be stopped and revertedSenator Ted Cruz asked the NASA administrator Charles Bolden (who was appointed in 2009 and has played the role of an Obama puppet ever since) what is the core mission of NASA.Bolden answered that he recently read the original National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 and he concluded that NASA’s core mission is space exploration along with the investigation of the Earth’s environment and making the Earth a better place.If you click at the link in the previous sentence and read the bill, you will see that 2/3 of Bolden’s claim are dirty shameless lies. There isn’t an iota in the bill that would say that NASA has something to do with the environment, with its protection, with the climate or its change, with climatology, with the warming, with the investigation of any Earth sciences in general, or with making the Earth a better place.Instead, NASA’s mission – and not just core mission, all of the mission – is exactly what a person with common sense would expect: to develop and deploy the technology with which you may fly in the atmosphere and beyond the atmosphere and to go into space and explore it. It is really the objects that fly, like the rockets, that NASA is all about. They may be used in several – usually obvious – ways but if it doesn’t fly, it is not NASA’s business. Due to the partial successes of the commercial space companies, NASA’s mission has effectively become narrower, not wider – it should focus on things that fly beyond the low Earth orbit.You don’t need a PhD to guess that this is what the law prescribes NASA to do. The acronym stands for The National Aeronautics and Space Administration. There is indeed nothing about the environment, about the climate, about the warming, about the protection of the environment, about Earth sciences, or about improvements of the planet Earth.Bolden just made it up – all these things. It may be useful to copy the bill’s definitions of the key notions that NASA is supposed to work with:Sec. 103. As used in this Act —(1) the term “aeronautical and space activities” means (A) research into, and the solution of, problems of flight within and outside the earth’s atmosphere, (B) the development, construction, testing, and operation for research purposes of aeronautical and space vehicles, and (C) such other activities as may be required for the exploration of space; and (2) the term “aeronautical and space vehicles” means aircraft, missiles, satellites, and other space vehicles, manned and unmanned, together with related equipment, devices, components, and parts.Unfortunately, the recent reality at NASA does resemble the untrue claims made by Mr Bolden. NASA has lost its ability to send humans to space and America depends on Russia – and even that dependence became extremely unreliable due to the deteriorated U.S.-Russian relationships.This is pretty much an inevitable outcome of the budgetary changes within NASA since 2009:Discussing the president’s $18.5 billion budget request for NASA for 2016, he [Ted Cruz] complained that funding for Earth sciences has increased by 41 percent since 2009, while space exploration has seen a 7.6 percent decrease. [Source]This is a stunning development – a shocking deterioration of the organization that used to be so prestigious. The Earth-space funding ratio grew by the factor of 1.41/0.924 = 1.526 in five years or so.NASA used to be a center of the technological elite, astronauts and rocket scientists (who are not quite as good as theoretical physicists but they’re in between theoretical physicists and tolltakers at the Golden Gate Bridge). But these days, it is enough to be a Gavin-Schmidt-like ideologue and soft scientist to “make it” there.I can imagine how offended the people who were associated with NASA’s golden years – engineers, moonwalkers, and many others – must feel now when this subpar cesspool of politically tainted pseudoscientists has become a major and cataclysmically growing portion of NASA.Of course that NASA must primarily investigate space, try go to space, do old, new, and interesting things in space, and perhaps go to Mars – and make achievements that require an unusual concentration of skills, funds, and efforts and that inspire the younger (and older) generations, as Ted Cruz says. I hope that he or someone like him will become the U.S. president and entirely eliminates all these tumors from NASA that simply shouldn’t be there so that there is enough money for the valuable part of NASA to strengthen.Hungarian nuclear vetoAnother report linking “big science” and “big politics” shocked me today in the morning. There exist rumors – denied by the Hungarian government – that Euratom and the European Commission have killed Hungary’s plans to expand its nuclear power plant using extra Russian technology and fuel.I don’t understand the European Union laws enough – it’s toxic mess with lots of potential time bombs – but so far I have been absolutely convinced that the member states haven’t lost their basic sovereignty e.g. when it comes to trading with third countries. If we actually did lose this sovereignty and if the Hungarian project may be threatened or even terminated, Brussels is a huge threat for the basic energy security of countries like Hungary and Czechia (which sees a similar role nuclear energy and similar plans to expand this role) and it would be clearly a good idea to leave the EU as soon as possible.

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