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Ben Benoy
2002-Jan-30, 11:52 PM
Ok, disclaimers first, this may belong in Against the Mainstream, so feel free to zap it over. I won't cry. Much.

So, now to our story: Last night my roommate went on this tear about how sending John Glenn into space as an old man was nothing but a publicity stunt to get people to pay attention to space shuttle launches, since most people think they're boring. Sort of a throwback to the sixties with the old man.

"Fair enough," I say, since that's basically what I thought it was anyway. But then he continues by saying that NASA claimed that they were going to do groundbreaking science with the data that they collected from Mr. Glenn, and that nothing has ever been done with this data (which he says is worthless anyway, since it's just one man, and who cares about how one man reacts).

Then he breaks into an angry rant against NASA and accuses them of lying about their research concerning Mr. Glenn, the gist of which is that before the launch, NASA and "people on their payroll" went around hyping how this was going to be a great scientific endeavour and so on and so forth, whilst independent people expressed disbelief about its usefulness. (At least, I think that's what he said. This was all broken up by random hypotheticals that start... well, I should stay on topic, so nevermind. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif )

So the question is, is this true? Did the NASA folks really go around beating their drums about sending Glenn back into space and how it was a Good Thing that would give lots of important data, while independent folks held their noses, or is this all just paranoid raving? The bit that I have a problem with is the part where "everybody not on NASA's payroll" decried the event as worthless while "the scientists in NASA's pocket" waxed ecstatic.

On a side note, I think that internet boards have ruined me for the world of stupid argumentation, because after about 45 minutes of being generally harrassed about this whole thing, I told him I wasn't listening anymore until I got at least one cite. Go me. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Ben

Zandermann
2002-Jan-31, 12:52 AM
Ben: It took you 45 minutes to ask for a cite?

You're slipping! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Ben Benoy
2002-Jan-31, 01:58 AM
Yeah, kinda. But it was real life, and its different when you're face to face with a person. But, still, dotage begins early.

Ben

ToSeek
2002-Jan-31, 01:15 PM
NASA Watch's pages on the Glenn flight (http://www.nasawatch.com/glenn.html)

My impression is that very few scientists lauded the flight, while Goldin and the NASA PAO hyped it for all they were worth and claimed it had legitimate scientific justification. What people within NASA thought is hard to say since in the Goldin-Abbey regime speaking one's own mind was not the best of ideas. However, I don't recall any scientist praising the flight while some not associated with NASA indicated that its scientific justification was dubious at best.

What is really ironic is that shortly before this flight Story Musgrave, one of the most distinguished and experienced astronauts, was forced to retire due to his age.

Darasen
2002-Jan-31, 04:53 PM
<my uneducated 2 cents>

On the mission in question Mr. Glenn went as the lowest ranking member of the team. Maybe that in not really important but it does seem a bit humble to me.

Most likely it was more hype than science. I however, do not see a problem in that. I am of the opinion that NASA and the work they do needs more exposure. If Mr. Glenn's flight earned NASA some recognition or secured some government financing than I am ok with that.

Who here would not (if they had the clout) arrange a trip into space for themselves?
</my uneducated 2 cents>


Darasen

ToSeek
2002-Jan-31, 04:59 PM
On 2002-01-31 11:53, Darasen wrote:
Most likely it was more hype than science. I however, do not see a problem in that. I am of the opinion that NASA and the work they do needs more exposure. If Mr. Glenn's flight earned NASA some recognition or secured some government financing than I am ok with that.


I agree with Keith Cowing (of NASA Watch) that if NASA wanted to honor John Glenn with a follow-up flight (and to get some publicity into the bargain), it's 100% okay by me. But it was dishonest to pretend that it was all being done for the sake of science.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jan-31, 05:03 PM
On 2002-01-31 11:53, Darasen wrote:
Who here would not (if they had the clout) arrange a trip into space for themselves?

::Looks around room, ToSeek raises hand but puts it quickly back down when he realizes that Darasen said "for themselves" instead of "ad hominem"::

OK, ok, me. I wanted to once, though. Just too old now. Let someone else have the fun. I'll do it if AARP sends a tour group.

<font size=-1>[Fixed ad hominem]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-01-31 19:07 ]</font>

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Jan-31, 05:27 PM
On 2002-01-31 12:03, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
::Looks around room, ToSeek raises hand but puts it quickly back down when he realizes that Darasen said "for themselves" instead of "for the mifletz"::


Watch it here. I won't have ad hominems on this board.

ToSeek
2002-Jan-31, 06:22 PM
On 2002-01-31 12:03, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
::Looks around room, ToSeek raises hand


I've got a list somewhere of places I want to visit. "Low-earth orbit" is on there, along with more mundane locales like the Grand Canyon and Greece.

The Curtmudgeon
2002-Jan-31, 07:59 PM
On 2002-01-31 13:22, ToSeek wrote:
I've got a list somewhere of places I want to visit. "Low-earth orbit" is on there, along with more mundane locales like the Grand Canyon and Greece.

I think we all do that, to some extent. I know my list is longer than my expected lifetime is going to allow. I'd certainly love to see the Earth in space with my very own Mark I Eyeballs, but it's not very realistic for me.

ToS, if/when you do get out to the Grand Canyon, stay at North Rim. 90% of the turistas that visit the Canyon stay at South Rim; there are days when you can hardly get close enough to the viewing spots on that side to be worthwhile. I showed up at the North Rim village, at their main lodge, with no reservation, in the summer, put my name on a waiting list around 4:00 pm and had a room from a cancellation/no-show by 6:00 pm. Was in and out of my room with enough time to get away from the village itself and capture a bee-yoo-tiful sunset sequence over the Canyon on my 35mm panorama camera, as well as some pre-sunset pix looking down on eagles flying. Spent most of the next day there as well. Great shots of and through Angel's Window.

Damn, now I'm all worked up about going back myself! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

The (I did 14 National Parks & Monuments that vacation) Curtmudgeon

Kaptain K
2002-Jan-31, 09:41 PM
I have to second The Curtmudgeon about the North rim. Two caveats:
1) Take warmer clothing than you would expect for the desert southwest (the North rim is 1500 ft higher than the South rim and it can get chilly there even in the summer).
2) If you decide to hike to the bottom remember that you have to hike back Up! Also, donkeys have the right of way, so if you meet a donkey train, you stand on the outside edge (with no guard rail) while they pass on the inside.

PS Take a small scope (or at least biniculars) or you'll kick yourself when you see the splendor of truly dark skies.

Russ
2002-Feb-01, 05:34 PM
Ahem. To get back on topic....

Glenn bought his way onto the shuttle. When Glenn returned from the US's first orbital flight, John Kennedy grounded him because he was a Cold War Hero and Kennedy didn't what Glenn killed in what was obviously a high risk profession. This infuriated Glenn and he quit the space program.

After fuming about it for 30 odd years he made a deal with Prs. Clinton. If Glenn derailed the Sen. Thompson hearings Clinton would see to it that Glenn would ride the shuttle. Glenn kept his end of the bargan with all of the skill and grace of an elephant on ice skates. Clinton did the same.

This all came to public knowledge when George (I'm p____d at the president) Stephanopolis "let slip" on one of the Sunday political talk shows. (can't remember which) As a result, both George & Sen. Glenn left their respective jobs shortly there after. Glenn was supposedly planning to retire anyway.

The spinmeisters at the White House kept it relatively quiet but the talk shows Limbaugh, Liddy, etc. whooped it up for all they were worth.

Russ
2002-Feb-01, 05:56 PM
On 2002-01-31 11:53, Darasen wrote:

Who here would not (if they had the clout) arrange a trip into space for themselves?


Here ya go. They have specifications and protocol: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1795000/1795537.stm

Ben Benoy
2002-Feb-02, 08:42 PM
Cool, thanks for all the happy info. Now if this ever comes up again, (god, I hope not) I can just say

[Peter Falk]
Yes, yes, you're very smart. Now shut up.
[/Peter Falk]

I love the internet.

Ben

[Fixed coding. I'm so considerate. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif ]

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Ben Benoy on 2002-02-02 15:43 ]</font>