Don’t Hold Your Breath

It’s nice to see the New Scientist holding the Obama administration’s feet to the fire on its war on science:

“The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions,” Obama stated. Scientific information used by the federal government in making policy should be published, he added, and political officials should not suppress or alter scientific findings. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, was given 120 days to draft a new policy on scientific integrity in government.

We’re still waiting for that policy to see the light of day. The precise reasons for the lengthy delay remain unclear – the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has even sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act, in an attempt to obtain documents that may explain the impasse. But it seems likely that the sticking point has been resistance from government officials who just don’t like the accountability that the new policy is supposed to usher in.

It’s less thrilling to see them perpetuate the myth that the Bush administration was worse:

Obama may be a friend of science, but many of the functionaries in his administration are rather less friendly. And if he fails to institute a sea change on the crucial issue of scientific integrity in government, there will be little to prevent a future President who sees little value in science from taking us back to the bad old days.

First, I’m unaware of any evidence that Barack Obama is a “friend of science,” except when the “science” fits his political agenda (e.g., AGW). And assuming that the “bad old days” is a reference to his predecessor, you’d think they might at least make the case that he was worse, but apparently they either can’t, or just think that we should accept it as an obvious given. I think that Obama’s record is much worse than George Bush’s, who, as far as I can tell, seemed to have acquired his “anti-science” creds based on little more than his policy to not provide government funding for embryonic stem-cell research, a decision that seems to have resulted in a flourishing of much more effective research in adult stem cells.

Here’s Something You Don’t See Every Day

A vice president of Lockheed Martin commenting at a blog (all the way at the bottom):

I would like to provide a more accurate summary of Lockheed Martin and NASA’s proposed goal for a 2013 Orion flight test. The flight test is designed to test Orion for exploration mission capability beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) and is in no way a launch vehicle test. In fact, the launch vehicle that would be used is as close to a standard launch service configuration as possible and there is no NASA objective for this Orion flight test that would require any human rating modifications to the launch vehicle. Its focus is on testing the multipurpose crew vehicle (MPCV) capabilities and systems only and capturing valuable data for NASA’s test objectives for the MPCV. Targeting 2013 for this Orion flight test allows us to fully support Orion IOC as called for in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 approved by Congress and signed by the President. Ultimately, Orion will fly on the launch system determined by NASA. As Orion progresses, it’s absolutely vital for the nation to move forward on a NASA-developed heavy lift vehicle as a goal for 2016, called for in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. The HLV is critical to supporting space exploration missions beyond LEO and is key to maintaining U.S. leadership in space if we are to advance technology and explore destinations beyond LEO, such as Earth-Moon Lagrange points, asteroids, and Mars.

John Karas
VP & GM for Human Space Flight
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

It looks real enough. Almost like a press release, though in an unusual venue. Note the rote recitation that HLV is required. To say anything else would politically incorrect for a company attempting to get funds out of this ignorant congress.

SpaceX Engine Test

It was originally scheduled for 9 AM EST, but it’s been delayed. The clock at the webcast is currently at 54 minutes and counting.

[Update shortly after the test]

Well, the webcast was a little glitchy, but it looked like a successful firing and shutdown to me. Now on the launch on Tuesday. Which, coincidentally, in addition to being the 69th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, is the 38th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 17, the last mission to the moon.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

Switch to our mobile site