Failure is an Option: NASA, Astronauts and Global Warming

The Mercury Seven: Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper and Deke Slayton

Back in the day, astronauts understood the difference between rocket pilots and rocket scientists. And so did the public.

[trust me, I’m a doctor]
Would you go to an auto mechanic if your computer had a virus? An auto mechanic is, after all, a technically competent person who has technical skills.

But I’m guessing not.  Unless the auto mechanic was also a serious computer hobbyist.  If you want specialist answers, you’d go to a specialist. And not just any specialist.  A specialist in the specialty that you need a special person for.

Seems obvious, right?

So it’s funny how last week a group of 49 ex-NASA employees decided they were specialists in climatology – simply because they worked at NASA – and wrote a letter to the NASA Administrator (i.e. the Grand Pooh-Bah of NASA) worried about how NASA’s statements on climate studies might make NASA look.  My favorite part is this paragraph:

As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.

Wow.  “The reputation of science itself”???  Quick!  Science is under attack from…


No wonder it’s hard to figure out who to root for.

By the way, would you go to your neighborhood vet to get a diagnosis on your medical health?  After all, both are trained in the life sciences of mammals.

Back to NASA. First, a little perspective:  NASA’s statements on climate studies don’t come nearly as close to embarrassing the agency as Continue Reading