Day of Remembrance

Today is the Day of Remembrance at NASA, where we honor the crews of Apollo 1, STS-51L Challenger, and STS-107 Columbia. It’s the 30th anniversary of Challenger somehow, but it really doesn’t seem like all that long ago. While this brought tears to my eyes…
wells challenger
(credit to Clyde Wells, Augusta Chronicle)
this is the one that hit me harder today.
apollo 1 pray
I showed that to one of the young engineers, young enough he doesn’t remember Challenger, told him about this photo being sent to the Apollo spacecraft program manager with the message, “It isn’t that we don’t trust you, Joe, but this time we’ve decided to go over your head.” I said, “How much confidence do you think they had in their vehicle?” and yet they got in anyway. Brave men.

Rules for thee but not for me

I read this article by Kurt Schlichter and wondered again at the word games Clintons play. She didn’t send any email marked classified because someone copied and pasted it for her. I don’t handle classified information, but there’s times when I get what’s called “sensitive but unclassified” or SBU. This is stuff like proprietary data that belongs to a company like ATK or Boeing or export-controlled information like a fair amount of propulsion work or any kind of mechanical drawing. Those have to marked SBU and sent encrypted. What happens if you are careless with SBU? Answer: “Individuals may be subject to administrative sanctions if they disclose information designated SBU. Sanctions include, but are not limited to, a warning notice, admonition, reprimand, suspension without pay, forfeiture of pay, removal or discharge.”

So say Hillary does get elected. How are you going to discipline the rank and file for, say, sending a white paper on turbine blade design unencrypted to a colleague when the head honcho had over 1,000 classified emails affecting national security sent unencrypted? Or is it going to be like the IRS, and the level of punishment depends on who you donated to in the last election?

Roamy roundup

NASA released its 2015 highlights video last week. Some good news – water on Mars, Pluto flyby, Orion heatshield work, Hubble’s 25th anniversary, SLS progress – but also some cringeworthy moments. NASA’s looking for new astronauts! Umm, @Astro_Clay astronaut Clayton Anderson asked the pertinent question, why doesn’t NASA try to retain the astronauts they’ve already trained? And what vehicle will these astronauts ride? Commercial Crew? We already have four selected for that. Orion? Not going to launch for at least two years, probably three.

The worst offense, though, was all the climate change crap. Mike van Biezen has written an excellent takedown of global warming. Beyond the bullying (97% consensus!) NASA has been “adjusting” the data.

For the first several years of my research I relied on the climate data banks of NASA and GISS, two of the most prestigious scientific bodies of our country. After years of painstaking gathering of data, and relentless graphing of that data, I discovered that I was not looking at the originally gathered data, but data that had been “adjusted” for what was deemed “scientific reasons.” Unadjusted data is simply not available from these data banks. Fortunately I was able to find the original weather station data from over 7000 weather stations from around the world in the KNMI database. (Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute). There I was able to review both the adjusted and unadjusted data as well as the breakout of the daytime and nighttime data. The results were astounding. I found that data from many stations around the world had been systematically “adjusted” to make it seem that global warming was happening when, in fact, for many places around the world the opposite was true. Following will be a few of the myriad of examples of this data adjustment. When I present my material during presentations at local colleges, these are the charts that have some of the greatest impact in affecting the opinion of the students, especially when they realize that there is a concerted effort to misrepresent what is actually happening.

For example:
data adjust

The highlights video came out too soon to include SpaceX’s successful cargo launch to the International Space Station followed by the first stage landing and recovery. Orbital Sciences also bounced back from their launch failure last year to successfully launch Cygnus to ISS, so I can breathe a little easier knowing we have commercial cargo flying again.

As I look at photos and data from Ceres, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at perihelion, and Enceladus, here’s hoping we stick to exploration in 2016.