NASA has decided to exempt its Mars probe, MAVEN, from the government shutdown, allowing preparations to resume for its November launch.
NASA Headquarters in Washington determined that Maven’s preparations should go ahead on an emergency basis — not because of its scientific objectives, but because of its expected role as a communications relay satellite for the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers on Mars. “Both Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey have been acting as communication relays, but they’ve passed their design lifetime,” Jakosky explained. “Maven carries communication equipment to take over that job as necessary. Getting us launched at this opportunity is a way to preserve that ability to communicate.”
As I’ve said before, as much as I am in favor of launching this kind of science mission, the number of arbitrary decisions relating to this shutdown makes the whole thing look ridiculous. NASA can act to protect its investments on Mars, but the National Park Service is required to interfere with the normal actions of private restaurants here on Earth?
The truth is that these science missions really don’t fall under the intended definition of “essential operations”. The federal bureaucracy, under the direction of the White House, is simply stretching that definition for their own convenience, wherever they like.
Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!
From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.
does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.
Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.