“However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” — Stanley Kubrick
Q: Do you trust the President of the United States?
Q: Do you trust the CIA?
Q: Do you trust the FBI?
Q:What about the Congress?
Q: Do you trust the Federal Reserve?
Q: Do you trust the IRS?
Q: Do you trust the NSA?
Q: How about the TSA?
Q: Do you trust the Supreme Court?
Q: Ok, then. If you don’t trust any of these other government institutions, why then would you believe anything that comes from the mouth of NASA?
Above is an excerpt from a conversation I had the other day with a close friend about the stunning images of the recent fly-by of Pluto, taken from NASA’s satellite “New Horizons.” The persistent “No” I received from her was the patented response I expected, considering the general distrust people have in our politicians, world leaders, and governmental institutions these days. To say that there is a general sentiment of skepticism and suspicion running through the current zeitgeist about all things statist could be the understatement of the year.
What is the age old adage? “How do you know when a politician is lying? When he opens his mouth.”
The New Horizons satellite was launched on January 19th, 2006. For nine-and-a-half years, New Horizons has been floating out in the “vacuum and void” of deep space. Without any repair, maintenance, or physical updating of its hardware, New Horizons has supposedly traveled swimmingly through our solar system. On course with its original trajectory, unencumbered by any possible extra-terrestrial objects, absent of any disturbing influences, all while being flung into the outer orbit of our solar system using the gravitational forces of the planets, it has reached Pluto.
Pluto is 4.67 billion miles from Earth. When New Horizons crossed its path, it took in an enormous amount of data, as claimed by the engineers and spokes-people for NASA. This mission is the most complete and comprehensive study of the planet that we have ever had. Upon receiving this info,New Horizons then shot the data back to Earth, sending it a distance of, once again, 4.67 billion miles without a hitch. This is quite an astounding feat and one could say that it is almost unbelievable what our government space agency can accomplish these days.
After all the time, money, and technology that went into building, engineering and launching this satellite, what is offered to the public thus far? A few images and a very poor animation of Pluto’s surface.
The website for New Horizons is also interesting. Take a look.
Considering how much money is dumped into these space missions, you would think that their website would be a bit more comprehensive. I mean, for Christ’s sake, this website is representative of the intellectual giants that run and work at the Applied Physics Laboratory. You would think that their web developer would be second-to-none, and yet their site looks like something I could have created on my Gateway computer using GeoCities back in 2003.
Now, admittedly, I am a technological neophyte and am often amazed at some of the “miracles of science,” so I might not be the best candidate to make assertions about technology I don’t fully understand. Hell, my smart phone still dumbfounds me. Though I am not necessarily qualified to make sweeping assertions about the legitimacy of some of the technology purported, my common sense tells me that all of these claims made by NASA sound a lot more like science-fiction than they do science-fact.
The Hubble Telescope was launched in 1990, at a cost of roughly 2.5 billion dollars and is said to be revolving in lower Earth orbit, about 350 miles up. The Hubble is credited with giving us hundreds and thousands of images of pulsars, quasars, nebulae, galaxies, and more. People from all walks of life have been stunned, mesmerized, and wowed at the dazzling images of our beautiful and ever-expanding universe. Hubble pictures plaster the walls of dorm rooms, screen savers, and offices the world over.
What a lot of people are not aware of is that the Hubble telescope initially DID NOT WORK. The first images received back from the Hubble were messy, out of focus, and basically useless due to a manufacturing error of the craft. In December of 1993, approximately 3 years later, six astronauts were sent to repair the telescope. The malfunction of the telescope was said to have been made whilst in construction, NOT when it was launched into space. Did the folks at NASA not test the scope out before sending it into orbit? How is it that we sent a telescope a mere 300 or so miles above the Earth that ended up with malfunctions, yet a satellite coasting in space for nearly a decade is working flawlessly? There seems to be a lack of continuity in the logic here.