Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Touchdown for Discovery ... Well done!

Discovery landed safely this morning at Edwards AFB in California. It is an amazing feat given the amount of pressure that NASA had to deal with for this first flight after the Columbia disaster.

I am not an American but am elated at the success of the entire 7 member crew and the ground control team. They really pulled this off inspite of sceptism in the general public. Not to mention the media repeatedly playing the clip where a piece of foam insulation got torn off on shuttle launch. Figuratively speaking NASA has stuck out the obscene finger at sceptics and I back them for doing this. When CNN took a poll in the United States, more percentage of people doubted NASA's Space Program than the war on Iraq. That's why it was so important for NASA to stub it's nose at these ignorant morons who don't know basic math skills but are very willing to doubt NASA for a space shuttle that blew up in mid-air and seven lives were lost. On the other hand, the body count in Iraq stands at 1800+ people and a large number of aerial craft downed by hostile fire or accidents and apparently that doesn't bother them as much as Discovery's oh-so-doomed journey back home. So how come there's more support for that effort than Discovery's space mission containing one aircraft and seven members on-board. It confuses me thoroughly. Maybe the cause in Iraq is much more worth it than sending supplies to the crew of International Space Station where you're definitely helping them survive.

I'm not a Conservative or Republican but the liberal right-wing media in the United States loves to be a sceptic. Their theory really is "guilty unless proven innocent" because that helps spice up the story and get ratings higher. Innocent people are boring and mundane. Screw-ups are exciting and can be put up on posters and screens. Putting doubt in people's minds about Discovery's safe return by repeatedly playing the foam insulation tear-off tape had ensured that people will be totally tuned in when Discovery is ready to make a landing. It's definitely a strategic decision to market it that way. It would be absolutely boring if people heard CNN newscasters say "And Discovery took off with absolutely no problems and is right now docked at the ISS....nothing more there. Moving onto sports....". Instead they spiced it up with "Disovery has heralded NASA's return to space and here is the video of the foam insulation that fell off during launch. This is the same thing that caused the Columbia disaster and there is general concern on how this might affect Discovery's safe return. Now we have with us in the studio our space missions analyst (who is paid 500 dollars an hour to speak what we ask him to), Mr. Bob Knowitall....". At that point, Mr. Knowitall proceeds to outline the perilous and hazardous journey that Discovery is facing when returning back to Earth.

Trust me people, when we fly on an airplane and our flight attempts to land, we face the same odds of mid-air blowups that Discover faced. Just because we don't have on-board cameras on airplanes that track every square inch of it's exterior on take off, doesn't make it any safer. News needs to be gossipy and spicy and people will tune in to it. Ergo the glaring intellectual disorder where people are worried more about 7 people in a space shuttle than 70,000 soldiers and 4000 aircraft in a war-torn country.


Blogger Denise said...

The media plays to a fickle public who seems to be getting more sensitized to the sensational and demands more and more and more...
Anyhow, I really think it's wonderful that we have launched yet another mission. Just the idea of going into space is fabulous.

2:08 AM  

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