Thursday, August 23, 2007

Adventures in Meteor Crater

So I haven't had any posts for a while. Part of my lame excuse for that is that I was at a conference/field trip in AZ. The main purpose of the field trip was to go to Meteor Crater, and the main purpose of this post is to brag that I got to hike around inside Meteor Crater. The general public is not allowed you see, only people that are doing research on the crater, or in the extremely rare event that a field trip like this is arranged do people get to hike down into the crater.

So to justify this post, I decided that it should have something to do with either pop culture or space policy. I couldn't really come up with much on the policy front, I guess visiting an impact site always makes you think about the possibilities of the next impact and what we are doing about it, but that's a little obvious. The pop culture link, though, is surprisingly easy: do you see that trail in the image above? That is the route we took into the crater and it is the same route that was used in the filming of the 1984 movie "Starman". I love that movie: "I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Former Karl Rove Staffer Moves to NASA as Mike Griffin's White House Liaison

Meet Jane Cherry, NASA's new white house liaison...

A little background via Daily Cos:
Jane is apparently the child of Bush loyalist parents who were big names on the Arkansas GOP scene. After graduating college in 2004, she has had a distinguished "career" working for the White House since way back in 2005, starting as a lowly staff assistant and working her way up the ladder until sometime later in 2005 when she become Associate Director of Political Affairs under Karl Rove where she remained until last week when she was appointed to NASA.

According to the Daily Kos article, under Rove, "Jane was involved in the US Attorney removal scandal, and is on the record (page 31) as such. And Jane had one of those infamous secret e-mail addresses. Jane and Monica Goodling discussed Goodling's "research" on people."

I have to agree with NASAWatch on this one:

First NASA gets George Deutsch, another young political appointee. We all remember what he did. Then FEMA's former Deputy Director Patrick Rhode (a pal of Michael Brown's) is given a hiding place at NASA. Now, an overtly political White House staffer (it was her job to be overtly political) who is under at least one cloud with regard to ethics - suddenly lands at NASA where she gets a $60,000-plus pay raise.

Is NASA turning to a dumping ground for young Bush loyalists of questionable capability? Based on her political shenanigans at the White House, what could she possibly bring of value to NASA? Right now NASA needs to be steering clear of politics and focusing on the tasks at hand. Bringing young political hacks to NASA will only create problems.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Oooh, pretty

NASA recently release what they are calling the "most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date." Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet.