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« More Year-End Space Reviews | Main | Lousy Bedside Manner? »

The Spirit Is Willing

I flew back to California on Friday evening, but decided to take a blogbreak for the weekend, because we had a lot of things to do to recover from Christmas and prepare for a possible move in the next couple months. However, Keith Cowing apparently decided that I didn't deserve any time off, and berated me in comments to this post for not congratulating JPL for their successful Mars landing this weekend.

As I said in the comments section, no one should expect to come here for the latest in space science, even when I am in full posting mode, let alone when I'm on break. It's not an area in which I'm anywhere near as interested or knowledgable as some other people, particularly when it comes to Mars. My focus is, and will remain, space policy, particularly with regard to manned spaceflight.

But congratulations to JPL anyway, for a job well done. Mars has been a tough nut to crack, as the apparent recent loss of Beagle shows, and the US has, so far, been the only space power with any notable success.

Posted by Rand Simberg at January 05, 2004 09:11 AM
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Uh, ESA's Mars Express is very healthy. In the final orbit, and raring to go. When the MARSIS radar sounder deploys in April then we will see some science!

The Beagle was merely icing.

Posted by Duncan Young at January 5, 2004 10:56 AM

I was referring to landers, Duncan, but kudos to ESA for Mars Express as well.

Posted by Rand Simberg at January 5, 2004 11:00 AM

Keith was right to berate you. There are insufficient quantities of free ice cream at this site. You should be too ashamed of the paucity of said free ice cream to take a break.

Posted by Carey Gage at January 5, 2004 11:25 AM

Plenty of free ice cream over at Arcturus. ;) Seriously, thanks for the link, Rand -- I'm not that much of a Mars guy, either, but this is incredibly cool stuff.

Posted by Jay Manifold at January 5, 2004 04:17 PM

Welcome back, Rand.

I always look forward to your postings. Even when I don't agree, I consider them thought provoking.

Since Keith reads this site as well, I'll point out that I check NASA Watch on a daily basis. You run a damned fine site with lots of good information.

But, Keith, lighten up a little. Rand isn't trying to do what you do. I'm not trying to do what either of you do. If I have a specialty at all with regard to space, it's commenting on the behavioral and organizational dysfunctionality that I've both personally witnessed and learned about from other sources (like your wonderful comments about Goldin, AKA "Captain Crazy").

Oh, yes, kudos to JPL and NASA for their Martian successes. The more we learn about our universe the better for all of us.

Posted by Chuck Divine at January 6, 2004 06:59 AM

I think Cowing's point was that talking about the "sad state" of "NASA" without mentioning successes such as the recent Mars landing proves you are biased.

Of course, your weblog mostly discusses human spaceflight. Consequently I always thought you meant to say 2003 was a bad year for NASA's manned space program, which seems like a pretty fair and accurate assessment to me.


Posted by Marcus Lindroos at January 6, 2004 07:02 AM

I think we can thank Powell's diplomatic efforts in convincing the Martians to not shoot down our probes. Dunno how long the hiatus will last, though.

Posted by John S Allison at January 6, 2004 08:12 AM

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