Thoughts about a beautiful NASA video – Save Our Science

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Today I am feeling inspired and motivated. It could easily have not been the case since the day started with a massive crash of my email inbox, a difficult review of a recently submitted paper, and some issues with my simulation that I am planning to present at the ACM conference next week – not to mention a lack of sleep. Still, all of this became irrelevant when I watched NASA’s new promotional video attached below.


Sometimes it is good to be reminded how lucky we are to be part of this adventure. Never in the history of mankind have we had access to such a large amount of data crucial to understanding the evolution of our planet, the exploration of our solar system and our eternal quest to find our place in the universe. This video, titled Pursuit of Light, summarizes quite well the recent achievements of NASA and its partners.

As a scientist facing the daily routine and the inherent problems associated with any job, I sometimes forget that I am part of a larger endeavor. All of us should watch more videos like this one to be reminded that, yes we are truly living a unique moment in human history. Space has never been as accessible or as close to us as it is today.

However, we need to make sure that we don’t abandon the ship before reaching the shore. The recent proposed cut in the Planetary Science NASA budget needs to be revisited. Despite the triumphant number of scientific discoveries made over the past 50 years, the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget for NASA calls for a 20% cut to the Planetary Science division, as well as deep cuts to Education and Public Outreach. These cuts will have a dramatic impact on the future of space exploration, jeopardizing not only the future of the program but, equally as important, our ability to return to space in the near future.

Our politicians need to hear from the public that they are indeed interested in having more than 1% of their tax used to fund science. Check out the SETI Institute web site and the Planetary Society Web site to know how you can help us save the NASA Planetary Science program. Do it now before it is too late, exploration is part of human nature.

Clear Skies

Franck M. @AllPlanets

 

About Franck Marchis

Dr. Franck Marchis is a Senior Researcher and Chair of the Exoplanet Group at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute since July 2007. Over the past 19 years, he has dedicated his research to the study of our solar system, specifically the search for asteroids with moons, using mainly ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. More recently he has been also involved in the definition of new generation of AOs for 8 -10 m class telescopes and future Extremely Large Telescopes. He has developed algorithms to process and enhance the quality of images, both astronomical and biological. His currently involved in the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey, which consists in imaging exoplanets using an extreme AO system for the Gemini South telescope. This new instrument is be capable of imaging and recording spectra of young Jupiter-like exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars.

One Response to Thoughts about a beautiful NASA video – Save Our Science

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