Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Space Alien Questions the New Direction for NASA

These Trucks to be Retired
An earlier post showing these Space Alien Gazette delivery trucks (q.v.) prompted a loyal reader to advise that these diesel trucks were terrible polluters that would harm our environment and contribute to climate change.   The Space Alien immediately decided that henceforth, the Space Alien Gazette would be delivered by bicycle messenger.

These Bikes to be Repurposed

Accordingly, the bicycles depicted here are being repurposed and redecorated for our use.  

We are currently interviewing applicants for delivery jobs, to be compensated with free subscriptions to the Space Alien Gazette.

Environmental quality is of great concern to the Space Alien, as reflected in a deep interest in the work of the U. S. National Aeronautics and Science Administration (NASA) over nearly six decades both in exploring Space and in observing Earth.

Hubble Telescope Explores Space 
The Space Alien was distressed to learn that NASA's Earth science (q.v.) proposed budget (which documents  effects of climate change) may now be limited to deep space exploration.  

To learn more about this click here.   Apparently this was prompted by fears in some quarters that observing changes on Earth could confirm the role of human activity in causing them.  To see what NASA has said and photographed about this,  click here.

According to NASA's FY2017 budget estimates (q.v.)

"This budget request continues to fund a strategic suite of missions to study the Earth, Sun, solar system, and deep space. Earth observations continue to allow unprecedented study of climate change, weather, and natural hazards." 

But could this exploration by NASA now be at risk under a new administration?  And could attention to our environment in general be at risk?  Could we be returning to the days when human health was threatened with industrial smog and where our water was laced with toxic effluent?

From the Space Alien's
Living Room Wall

The Space Alien cannot understand why anyone would not want to learn about the condition of their home in order to keep it pleasant and -- most of all -- livable.

The Space Alien wonders where else but Earth humans could make their home.  It is especially puzzling to the Space Alien that topics such as climate change and the role of humans in bringing this about, as well as questions concerning events such as terrific storms and destructive floods in this regard are all too often subjects for political debate rather than scientific inquiry.   

Sometimes when the Space Alien uses words like "climate change," or worse yet "carbon footprint" or worst of all "anthropogenic" (q.v.), some humans make angry faces or say  "Shush!" or "Don't talk about that!" or "It's a hoax!"  Sometimes they just tell the Space Alien "we don't like your politics!"   The Space Alien doesn't understand why some humans don't want to talk about keeping a nice, livable home.

The Space Alien knows that it is not polite to talk about your underwear or about the stuff that comes out of your nose, especially at nice dinner parties, but why does the topic of maintaining a livable home seem to arouse such ire in some quarters?  The Space Alien recently read an article about this here but still doesn't understand the need to tiptoe.

Centuries ago the French philosopher Blaise Pascal pointed out to the Space Alien that where the stakes were high it was best to bet on the safest course of action rather than risk catastrophe.  (For more about this encounter please see the post

The ever-logical Space Alien was convinced that even with incomplete information about the efficacy of flossing it was better to floss your teeth than to risk losing them, and applies the same reasoning to deciding whether we should keep track of the effects of climate change on Earth.

Could Humans Live 
in Deep Space?

Could humans relocate to space if Earth were uninhabitable?  

The Space Alien doesn't think that even the hardiest humans would last more than a millisecond in deep space, not even all dressed up in clumsy "space suits" they wore on the Moon or in the movie "The Martian" (q.v.)  The Space Alien is quite comfortable almost anywhere in space, but knows that humans would probably be miserable!

The Space Alien hopes that NASA will continue to photograph Earth to remind everyone who lives there to keep it safe and clean and livable!

Photograph of Earth by NASA