IWTBAA

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Slate “journalist” Charles Seife recently published an article posing the question ‘What Is NASA For?’ with a bold headline which states: NASA’s Mission: Its Search For Meaning Has Limited Its Science And Damaged Its Integrity.

That’s just the beginning. Seife goes on to compare the administration (and its history) to an endangered species…

“NASA is the panda of the U.S. government: a great big cuddly maladapted agency that’s beloved by almost everyone—and that is flirting with extinction…And without a central mission, without a grand goal, NASA was an agency without any real purpose, an animal without an ecological niche.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson may have to hand you your rebuttal.

Not only does this article (which prompted a hearty response from the Planetary Society’s Casey Dreier) belittle and tear apart NASA with manifest nonsense, it’s just frankly poor journalism, for back of a politer adjective.

Mr. Seife, if I were comparing NASA to a panda, I would starkly point out these important similarities, which you failed to mention during your disrespectful rant:

First, which panda are you referring to, the giant panda or red panda? Since the inflection of your references infer you probably view all pandas as black and white, let me break this down for you, with my own comparison to NASA…in black and white [sources: 1, 2, 3]:

+ Over the last 20 years, there’s been a 40% increase in the giant panda population.
Before 1990, our view of the universe came primarily from ground-based light telescopes. After its 1990 launch (and repair in 1993) the Hubble Space Telescope changed our view of the universe and continues to expand humanity’s understanding of the cosmos and our place within it, thanks to NASA astronauts who repaired, upgraded and replaced systems on the telescope between 1993 - 2009. Over the last 20 years, NASA has increased the % of our knowledge on a scale unprecedented in human history. And it should be noted that the Hubble Space Telescope has only one limit to its range: the universe itself. See Hubble Deep Field images from 1995, 1998, 2003-2004, and 2009.

+ Due to extensive logging and deforestation of their natural habitat, female pandas only have 24-72 hours to become pregnant, and their cubs are 1/900th their size, making them one of the smallest newborn mammals relative to their mother’s size.
Provided this information, Seife may attempt to convince you that this is somehow the panda’s fault. The collective panda species isn’t at fault for humankind’s destruction of its environment, and NASA is (as stated by Dreier) “not responsible for its own policy.”

The history and importance of NASA and the current state of (human and robotic) space exploration.

Seife continues…

“Factor in the danger, and human spaceflight becomes almost impossible to justify. NASA kills roughly 4 percent of the people it launches into space. It’s a very risky thing to pack enough energy into a vessel so that it can spin around the Earth at 5 miles a second. It’s just as difficult to bleed that energy off and come to rest on the ground without burning up in the process or winding up as a sizable crater. Some of the time, the process will go awry. Even if NASA’s managers, engineers, and technicians were perfectly on their game all the time, astronauts would still die—maybe just 1 percent of them rather than 4 percent, but die they will, at an alarming rate. In vain.”

You don’t get to speak for these astronauts, these human beings, these brothers and sisters of yours. However, I can boldly assure you they did not die in vein. Above: NASA’s Space Mirror Memorial.

“Columbia and its crew perished not for science—and not to fuel national ambitions or even human interest. How many post-Apollo astronauts can you name? Maybe one or two—the ones that might have piqued your interest in some way, such as Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. But generally, NASA missions were dry, uninspiring affairs with nothing to look forward to and nobody in particular to care about.”

Mr. Seife, along with being incredibly disrespectful with blatant disregard to the service men and women who knowingly put forth their efforts and their lives toward an industry unmatched in the history of history, would you say the same thing about those who rush into a burning building to save lives for a living? Human space exploration is no different.

RISK IS OUR BUSINESS.

Casey Dreier highlights Seife’s oversimplifications and misinterpretations with a few corrections which were either ignored by Seife, or to which he is ignorant of himself:

1. NASA is not some centralized, shadowy cabal
2. NASA’s Goals Are Defined By the White House and Congress, with limited input from NASA
3. NASA has clearly-defined goals for its science program
4. NASA is not just human spaceflight
5. Seife uses rhetorical tricks and cheap jabs to manipulate the reader
6. He arbitrarily dismisses robotic exploration because it doesn’t fit with his thesis

Although I could unwrap Charles Seife’s entire shortsighted barbs, I felt compelled to include his final warped robustness at conveying to us all what he’s taken upon himself to outline for NASA’s present (and future):

“NASA must adapt or die. In days gone by, it made sense to have a government agency spend untold billions to shoot people into space for God and glory. But those days have long since passed, and NASA’s continued willingness to let the costs of human spaceflight devour the money that it should be using to do what it does really well—remote science—guarantees that it is headed for extinction. Admittedly, scrapping (or at least drastically curtailing) human spaceflight would be risky. The move likely wouldn’t be popular with the public, and Congress is surprisingly stingy when it comes to funding scientific projects that don’t produce something weaponizable. But refusing to adapt to a changed environment means that NASA, like the panda, will eke out a harder and harder living as conditions continue to worsen, spending an increasing amount of its time merely trying to survive. It will just be biding its time until extinction.”

Although I’d like to think that most of us know better, the general pubic does not. Which is why we do have campaigns and organizations in support of boosting NASA funding, such as Penny4NASA and The Planetary Society.

“With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” - Abraham Lincoln

Which begs the question: why? Why put any effort forward into such an incredibly distorted and negatively-charged tutorial of America’s space program? By my account, Seife did far more harm than good, hardly educating and paying forward what NASA indubitably provides for his daily life each time he uses his GPS, smart phone, or if he ever needs a heart transplant. The growing list of NASA-spawned benefits to the survival of our species outnumbers the fallacies in his article.

Above (main) are select images from NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and ISS missions which all have one thing in common: astronauts (human beings in space) looking back at our true spaceship - Earth. Neil deGrasse Tyson emphasizes, “there was Earth…seen not as the mapmaker would have you identify it. We went to the moon; and we discovered Earth. I claim we discovered Earth for the first time.” And indeed, Mr. Seife…beyond the litany of accomplishments and advantages NASA has either directly or indirectly provided, the most monumental aspect of space exploration we’ve gained from NASA continues to be the re-discovery of our home, our place in space, and the journey we must embark on as a spacefaring species.

Suit up.

To cleanse your mind of this, listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s keynote speech at the 28th National Space Symposium, followed by his examination of 'The 3 Fears That Drive Us To Accomplish Extraordinary Things’ via bigthink.

#WhatIsNASAFor is trending. Show your support and included with the tag, tweet, blog or post what NASA means to YOU.

“I Want To Be An Astronaut” will soon become the first film EVER to premiere in space, for the astronauts on board the International Space Station.

What started as a thesis project by filmmaker David Ruck is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about documentary films among space professionals and enthusiasts alike.

The film follows Blair Mason, who has wanted to be an astronaut since he was three years old. Now 19 and earning academic honors at the Naval Academy, Mason is excited about the fact that the Academy has graduated more astronauts than any other U.S. institution.

Requested by ISS astronaut Rick Mastracchio after Ruck sent him a Facebook message, the movie “draws attention to the importance of STEM education as it relates to our nation’s ability to remain on the cutting edge of science and technology - creating the jobs of the future - and the need for a vibrant space program to provide the context needed for young people to pursue these challenging and exciting career fields.” (from the film’s website)

“To have this be seen in space — I still don’t know how to find words to describe how awesome that is,” says filmmaker David Ruck. “I hope (the crew) can see this kid and say, ‘Yep, that was me once.’ ”

While the film is set to premiere on the ISS sometime in the coming week, the production team is hard at work screening the film around the country, with discussions through multiple on and offline platforms. Copies of the film are currently available for educations, organizations, and schools, and will be available to all very soon.

Read more: 

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/03/10/astronaut-hopeful-space-station/6259701/

Website: http://theastronautfilm.com

Tumblr: astronautfilm

youtube

I remember when this video first debuted. It became the featured promo teaser preceding J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness due to a crowdfunding campaign headlined by the American Institute for Aeronautics.

Why is this important? Because bizarrely, federal law actually prohibits NASA from purchasing air time to promote itself. So, in the wake of corrupt and nonsensical mainstream media advertisements, the one agency funded by American taxpayers that has fueled exploration, economic spin-offs and the understanding of our origins in the universe, is prohibited from money spent on public outreach.

You can learn more about AIA’s Indiegogo campaign (which successfully surpassed their funding goal) here.

The video, narrated by Transformers’ Peter Cullen (aka ‘Optimus Prime’) highlights the history of human spaceflight [and exploration in general], embodying all that NASA stands for, as well as the passion and curiosity that drives our species to explore.

Keep this in mind when Christopher Nolan’s 'Interstellar’ hits theaters. It’s why he made the film: to keep us aware of our cosmic significance and are capacity to thrive and survive amongst the great perils that have faced us before.

This video also provides a stark reminder to all that NASA is an integral keystone of our global society. It’s only ironic that the promo above was also looped during 'Discovery Day’ at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum during the retirement/induction ceremony of NASA Space Shuttle Discovery.

As a final aside, the message conveyed through this promo is further communicated through the documentary film “I want to be an Astronaut” which seeks “To tell the story of going…and remind everyone what NASA means to the world, reignite those dreams again, and explore space together.” (David Ruck, Director; and Rich Evans, Public Relations). Audience reactions and more on the film, here.

Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.
– Carl Sagan

Support continued funding for NASA via Penny4NASA, The Planetary Society, and ExploreMars.

Ad astra per aspera.

Kennedy, 1962
  • Kennedy, 1962
  • Rich Evans (Space Speech 2014+)
Play

COSMOS is a celebration of science, yes. But, at its best, it’s a celebration of history, of the human species and of the precious time we have here to take longer strides (pulling from Kennedy’s powerful 1962 speech).

Allow me to rephrase an excerpt of Kennedy’s speech as it applies to here and now, as we move forward into this new space age…oh and forgive me in the audio recording above for not being able to fully encapsulate the JFK accent/swag.

"It’s not surprising that some of us would have us stay where we are a little longer. To rest. To wait. But these countries we’ve labeled, civilization we’ve created, this species called homo sapein, were not established, built or evolved upon those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. Our society was generated by those who moved forward, and so will space.

Carl Sagan, speaking in the 1980’s within his book ‘Cosmos’, said “Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.”

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that humans, in their quest for knowledge and progress, are determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and to become a spacefaring civilization is the greatest adventure of all time, and no civilization which expects to survive and flourish can expect to stay behind in the quest for space exploration.

Those who came before us made certain our civilization in the future would ride the first waves of sustainable energy, the first waves of exponential growth, and the abundance of power through nuclear fusion. And this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the epoch of space exploration. We mean to be a part of it, we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world have and will continue to look onto Mars, to the solar system, and to the cosmos beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this civilization can only be fulfilled if we in it are ambitious, and remain forever passionately curious. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and prosperity, our obligations to ourselves and others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all life on Earth, and to become a space-faring society.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on the human species. And only if we work together toward our journey to the cosmos can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that humans have made in extending our writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all humankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, become a spacefaring species? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why explore the deep ocean? Why, 37 years ago, send the Voyager spacecraft headed toward interstellar space? Why does Earth orbit our star?

We choose to go to space. We choose to go to space in and beyond this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we must accomplish for our own species’ survival, and the others, too.

As many of you know, I’m responsible for the social outreach/media relations for the film I want to be an Astronaut. I encourage you to visit the site and keep up with what we’re doing. There’s still so much I haven’t shared and even more on the horizon I intend on getting the science community on Tumblr involved with. We’re doing some big things, everyone, and the above words are a reflection of the kind of inspiration this film and Carl Sagan’s ideals have provided me ever since I became struck with the cosmic perspective.

view the trailer.

Ad astra per aspera. Stay curious.

@astronautfilm is now streaming for free on our FB page until December 7th! 

Directed by David J. Ruck - ‘I want to be an Astronaut’ was the first #documentaryfilm project backed on Kickstarter & Indiegogo to #premiere in #spaceaboard the International Space Station at the request of #astronaut Rick Mastracchio and coordinated by NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration!

We owe immense gratitude to Explore Mars, Orbital ATK, Aerojet Rocketdyne, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the Clark Planetarium, Friends of NASA, John Zeller and Victoria Varone of Penny4NASA and The Daily Cosmos, USA TODAY, CNN, Gregory Cecil, Joanna Kearney Mason and the Mason family, the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian, Charles Bolden, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh & the EAA - The Spirit of Aviation, George Charles Allen and the AeroVenture Institute, and so many more.

Featuring appearances by John Glenn (first American astronaut to orbit Earth), John Grunsfeld (Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate; former astronaut), Charles Bolden (NASA Chief Administrator).

Watch now at https://www.facebook.com/IWantToBeAnAstronaut/

Less than four months before the Apollo 8 mission, the National Academy of Sciences urged NASA to eliminate almost all manned exploration and replace it with unmanned missions. “The ability to carry out scientific observations at a distance is developing so rapidly that I don’t see any unique role for a man in planetary exploration,” noted Gordon MacDonald, chairman of the academy to this recommendation before Apollo 8, afterward the calls to adopt it were many and insistent. For the first time since the nation was founded, respected, and powerful, voices were saying that sending explorers to open up vast new territories, to take daring and courageous chances for the sake of human achievement, was not in the interests of the United States.

And people listened. It was as if this nation of pioneers had become terrified of what had been shown during those televised broadcasts from the moon, and its citizens no longer wished to accept the challenge of bringing life to a barren world like the moon. Interest in space exploration waned and the space program wound down. When Jim Lovell flew on Apollo 13 sixteen months later, no television network was much interested in covering the mission until something went wrong. By the late 1970’s, the United States essentially had no operating space program, flying no manned missions from 1975 through 1981. In fact, in 1979 NASA launched only three satellites: two small short-term atmospheric research probes and one astronomical X-ray telescope.

Even today, our plans for the human exploration of space are entirely limited to earth orbit. The idea of sending humans to another planet seems hard to fathom. After taking that brave leap to another world thirty years ago, we have become strangely fearful, and are once again hugging the coasts of earth, unwilling to brave the “oceans” that surround us in order to visit planetary “islands” that exist nearby.

Excerpt from ‘Genesis: The Story Of Apollo 8 - The First Manned Flight To Another World’ by Robert Zimmerman.

Before the Saturn V’s maiden voyage - Apollo 4 on November 9, 1967 - a full scale prototype was built by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Dubbed SA-500D under the direction of Dr. Wernher von Braun, SA-500D was used to test the performance of of the rocket when vibrated to simulate the violent shaking subsequent rockets would experience during launch.

Although the Saturn V SA-500D never flew, it was vital to the development of the Saturn V (shown above) which took the first human beings to Earth’s moon in 1969. SA-500D became the only Saturn V assembled prior to display in an actual “museum”, which now resides in all its stellar splendor inside the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL.

This week, the team responsible for the film “I want to be an Astronaut” - will be journeying to Huntsville, AL (courtesy of the USSRC) for an official screening underneath the rear boosters of that magnificent marvel of engineering as a compliment to the Space Hall of Fame Ceremony, presented by Space Camp/U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC). Details below:

Closing out the night, a screening of “I want to be an ASTRONAUT” accompanied with a panel discussion afterward featuring astronauts, Tukegee airmen, and notables TBA from the Space Hall of Fame!

Tweet your questions into @AstronautMovie and @SpaceCampUSA using the hash tags #SCHOF14, #IWTBAA, or #astronautsBRO!

Today is the last day to purchase tickets, so if you’re able to attend, RESERVE YOUR TICKET NOW :)

Ad astra per aspera,

The #IWTBAA Team

Saturn V gif courtesy of NASA. Recommended viewing: When We Left Earth | The NASA Missions (1hr 27mins)

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Anyone in the Salt Lake City, UT area this weekend?

The Clark Planetarium is hosting a free screening of our film “I want to be an ASTRONAUT” tomorrow - Saturday, August 23 - at 7pm in the ATK IMAX theater!

A panel discussion will follow with director David Ruck and former astronauts Jake Garn, Charlie Precourt, and Kent Rominger.

First come, first serve tickets will be available at 6pm in the planetarium lobby, so…if you didn’t have any plans for tomorrow night and you live in the Salt Lake City area…you do now :)

website || trailer || clip || audience reactions || interview || charlie bolden
@ClarkPlanet @AstronautMovie @ATK #IWTBAA #astronautsBRO

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Tomorrow, July 11th (by close of business) is the final day to RSVP for the American Astronautical Society’s 60th Anniversary event!

And yes, you read that right. Astronauts and Scientists. Not just any astronauts and scientists either…

…Charles Bolden (NASA Administrator), John Grunsfeld (Associate Administrator of NASA’s Mission Science Directorate), Sandra Magnus (Executive Director of the AIAA or American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics)…all of which will be speaking on our panel to discuss the film!


Beforehand, however, the AAS Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Dr. Edward Stone!

Not familiar with Stone? Edward Stone was the Former Director of JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and the Lead Project Scientist for a little spacecraft you may know…

…that’s right. Ed Stone has been working with the Voyager spacecraft since the Grand Tour Mission. And what a time for an event like this to celebrate the man, as Voyager 1 was just confirmed “interstellar” (again) via data transmitted back from deep space!

So, if you can make it, join us on July 16th from 6pm-9pm in the National Academy of Sciences Building, for an evening of cosmic proportions :)

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The astronaut crew aboard the International Space Station just screened our film, ‘I want to be an Astronaut’, making it the first orbital premiere ever in space history!

Rick Mastracchio, Christmas Eve 2013.

NASA Astronaut and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio communicated to us tonight:

“I watched your film and enjoyed it. It is good to know that there are young people out there willing to work hard to achieve their dreams. We hear so many stories about how bad the education system in the USA has become. It is good to hear a story about how well it can work. I think your film will inspire more students. Thanks for sending it to the International Space Station.”

From Director David J. Ruck, 'I want to be an Astronaut’

This is an incredible honor to be apart of. I speak for the entire team here at IWTBAA when I say confidently that there is so much more to come! We’re grateful to NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Smithsonian’s UdvarHazy Air & Space Museum; Chantilly High School; Kennedy Space Center; Aerospace Industries Association; FIRST Robotics; NASA Associate Administrator (and astronaut) John Grunsfeld, along with astronaut Rick Mastracchio and the entire crew on board. We wish all of you up there the best as you serve us all down here on the good Earth. Ad astra per aspera!

So much more to come, everyone. We’re working on screenings around the world (accompanied with a panel discussion), to bring this all to you in the best way possible. We’re out to inspire young minds to the launchpad, with STEM as the fuel…

…suit up!

@AstronautMovie, IWantToBeAnAstronaut, and astronautfilm

I just wanted to give a shout out to all of you for your support and continued respect. As I move forward with this film and locking down more screenings, I'll be sharing with you new developments as they happen. If I could, I'd fly all of you out to every single screening, but I'm not - and neither is the film or the team - in a sustainable financial place to do what we actually have the potential to do at this point. However, I need your help. Not with money...but simply with sharing and reblogging anything I put out there about the film! We want Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye both or individually to speak on panels, via their media outlets, etc. because this film represents and communicates the same ideals they continuously promote. I want to bring this film to everyone and provide exciting speakers and STEAM-oriented educational events along the way! This is still just the beginning. I'd like to also add a personal shout out to our friends at Penny 4 NASA for their support and partnership as well. I love you all and we share the same goal to boost NASA funding and communicate to the public the importance of space exploration. Ad astra*

An Open Letter To Elon Musk
In response to his recent interview with CBS News

Mr. Musk,

Please understand that the only reason you are able to do what you are doing is because the public space program has paved the way for you to do so. You didn’t invent the technology in your Merlin engine you’re so proud of. A company that gained that understanding from years of working with NASA built that for you. And did you ever mention that? No you didn’t.

I can understand that the world is enamored with you and your bright ideas, your willingness to put your own money into high-tech projects that are changing the world, but did you forget somewhere along the lines that the vast majority of the technology you now use was birthed in the space program you seem so eager to forget?

Here’s How Elon Musk Planned To Revive NASA [Business Insider]

I get asked all of the time, Elon, “well, why do we need NASA if the commercial companies are doing all of this stuff in space now?” And I have to explain to them, one-by-one, exactly why we need the space program. Because, in your moment of grandeur, you have conveniently forgotten where that tech came from. It came from NASA projects.

While you’re busy making grand statements about your plans for SpaceX and how you’re going to change the world, don’t forget to thank the mother that brought you into this world. You wouldn’t have the engine, or the launch pad, or the contract to resupply the International Space Station, or the lineage of understanding that has been brought to us all by the space program without its existence. In short, Mr. Musk, you would have PayPal. And maybe an electric car company. Both are cool, by the way, and I congratulate you on their success.

On NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS)
and Orion Spacecraft Programs [Overview By David Brandt-Erichsen]

The next time you do an interview that points out the inherent problems with depending on the Russians to fly our astronauts into space…before you herald your great plans to have a manned vehicle ready in the next few years…before you set sail on a voyage to Mars or the Moon, or wherever…don’t forget where that mere possibility was enabled. And maybe, just maybe, take a moment to connect the dots between what you are doing and how the public space program (NASA) allowed you to get there.

At the rate you’re going, I get the feeling you’d be really happy if the Space Launch System (SLS - our nations new deep space rocket) was cancelled like so many other projects when they are halfway through because people like you - in a unique position to do so - have failed to educate the public, Congress, and the people of this country that are paying for your rockets to go into space, that NASA DOES THINGS YOU CAN’T DO YET, and NASA WILL DO THINGS THAT YOU’LL DO LATER because that’s where the public space program has taken us. It’s where it’s taken you, Mr. Musk.

Visualization of the SLS [Animation/Overview]

Icarus flew too high and his wings melted. Are you off to do the same? Because you won’t get very far without the public space program paving the way with the scientific and technological understanding that private companies simply cannot afford to undertake as our public space program can when it’s supported by the tax dollar investment.

You are off to do great things, Mr. Musk. Just don’t bite the hand that feeds you or give too much credit to yourself. I own NASA, Mr. Musk. I don’t own you. But what you own was given to you in large part by the space program. Do some good and mention that from time to time.

David Ruck | Director, “I want to be an Astronaut”

‘Sagan Sense’ Sidebar: Although I endorse private industry and commercial spaceflight, the above perspective is understandably permissible regarding the slight disdain for the way Elon Musk is communicating his efforts and goals to the world. Although I don’t expect Musk to take on the role of NASA’s cheerleader, I’m equally as dissatisfied with the lack of mention or support toward the current state of America’s space program which, well….to be quite honest, provides Space X with somewhere to go, the means by which to do so, and the original inspiration behind his own dreams.

I expect the same from Richard Branson as he pushes forward with Virgin Galactic, Bas Lansdorp regarding Mars-One…the list goes on. The only private company I’ve seen giving major kudos to NASA is Planetary Resources, because the team is comprised of the engineers responsible for the creation, implementation, operation, and successful landing of the Mars rovers. NASA is (as described by Neil deGrasse Tyson) “a force of nature like none other…” and should be communicated to the public as such. After all, David is right. He owns NASA, as a tax-paying American. And so do I. The American public owns NASA and we need to be reminded of what it is we’re paying for.

Crowds gathered in NYC’s Times Square to watch the live broadcast of the MSL 'Curiosity’ rover land on Mars. Image above via Penny4NASA.org