Skepticism

To the moon!

George W. Bush. I can see him right now, looking through a picture book — maybe Goodnight Moon.

“Wow,” he sighs, “it sure would be fun to go to the moon in a rocket ship and have adventures!”

I generally think it’s a mistake to underestimate the intelligence of Bush, because by portraying him as a bumbling idiot we overlook the fact that he can be a right sneaky bastard some times. But with the current dilemma over the NASA budget, it’s the only image that continually pops into my mind. Scientists in lab coats stand behind the President, pleading with him to give more funding to research — research that will help find other habitable planets, search for life on Europa, or finally discover what the hell dark matter is.

“No,” Bush pouts, “I wanna go to the moon.”
Awe.

Earlier, Bush had appointed a 24-year old college dropout creationist to stifle NASA scientists. Had this little insult to science been allowed to continue, I’m sure it wouldn’t be long before NASA’s official position changed to say space is a flat black blanket with sparkly buttons, and God just hung the moon there to test us.

So now this. NASA needs funding, but Bush wants to give it all to the new Moon Mission. Because you know, we just didn’t get the full experience the last time we went. Sure, Bush promised that no actual SCIENCE would be cut in favor of strapping people to a rocket and firing them into space, but I guess that was just what we call “pillow talk,” baby.

I just checked in on the Bad Astronomer’s blog, and of course he’s covering the story, and he’ll know a lot more about it than me, so check it out here. He’s so cute when he’s angry.

In case you forgot what astronomy gives us, I’ve included an Astronomy Picture of the Day above. According to APOD:

Explanation: From afar, the whole thing looks like an Eagle. A closer look at the Eagle Nebula, however, shows the bright region is actually a window into the center of a larger dark shell of dust. Through this window, a brightly-lit workshop appears where a whole open cluster of stars is being formed. In this cavity tall pillars and round globules of dark dust and cold molecular gas remain where stars are still forming. Already visible are several young bright blue stars whose light and winds are burning away and pushing back the remaining filaments and walls of gas and dust. The Eagle emission nebula, tagged M16, lies about 6500 light years away, spans about 20 light-years, and is visible with binoculars toward the constellation of Serpens. The above picture combines three specific emitted colors and was taken with the 0.9-meter telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA.

According to me:

This is what it would look like if you reached up into space and tore the blanket open to see what lies beyond it.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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4 Comments

  1. Your point about Bush being sneaky is possibly more apt than you realize. What if Bush is less interested in sending humans back to the moon, and more interested in choking off support for NASA entirely without taking any political flak over it?

    Just maybe…

  2. I’m always amazed by how people want to go to the moon and Mars, without even having such basic necessities there such as a sattelite network. Heck, we can’t even go to the bottom of our oceans for extended period of time without running into all kinds of problems. What’s the record at now? A month maybe? Then the food runs out and they have to come back up …

  3. I thought Bush started the moon/mars thing because he truly believed that the geeks and scientists in the US would give him their support because of it. I don't think he's that sneaky. Bush, like most Americans, doesn't understand the difference between real science and pseudoscience. I really think he is dumb. Cheney is sneaky. If our cheerleader president has any smarts, it's no more than Galinda in Wicked, when she sings "Popular"… a peculiar form of brilliance that has little to do with real knowledge:

    Celebrated heads of state or

    Specially great communicators

    Did they have brains or knowledge?

    Don't make me laugh!

    They were popular! Please –

    It's all about popular!

    It's not about aptitude

    It's the way you're viewed

    So it's very shrewd to be

    Very very popular

    Like me!

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