I’m kidding, I’m kidding, NASA did not say that. But I do think people need to take it down a notch with this whole blaming NASA for doing their press conferences wrong. As far as I know, the Curiosity Martian Laboratory Robot recently approached a non nondescript pile of dirt, analyzed the bejesus out of it as a test of the fancy dancy instruments on board, and everything worked. The pile of dirt was not interesting but they did to that pile of dirt what would have required 3,000 feet of laboratory floor space full of expensive equipment and a dozen technicians working for two months back in the day. But they did it with a Robot. On Mars. In a few days. And everything worked.

If you don’t think that is overwhelmingly exciting than you are either dead or have no idea how science works. That is incredibly amazing wonderful news.

So, when a NASA scientist became exuberant over the news that would be reported in the upcoming press conference and said he was really excited, science reporters and bloggers, jaded by the Mono Lake affair no doubt, assumed that only one thing could be that exciting: Martians. Nothing else. And then, when “rumors” went around suggesting that it was probably not Martians, it became time to crucify NASA again. That is not good science reporting, people. Don’t think you’re doing it right and NASA is doing it wrong.

I also think that the spoof site reporting that a blue plastic necklace had been found on the Angry Red Planet was pretty funny, and I think that NASA having that site killed was unnecessary. Those details are here.

Take it down a notch, people.

OK, there really will be a V-ger press conference and a Curiosity press conference in the near future.

OMG NASA IS HAVING MULTIPLE PRESS CONFERENCES IN A FEW DAYS WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE UNIVERZ????

Actually, NASA has press conference all the time. All the time. They’ve been doing this for years. The sudden concern that NASA is doing science by press conference, if it is a real concern, should have been brought up a long time ago. But really, there should not be a concern. The data that are collected on these various NASA Big Science Missions are studied by real live scientists who publish the results in peer reviewed journals. But they also have the press conferences.

Think about this for one minute. What if NASA had the rule that nothing they did would be reported to the press, but rather, only released via peer reviewed journals, often years after the actual mission activities were carried out, but they’d also let you stand a few miles away and watch launches. That’s it. No press conferences keeping people updated on the various missions as they reach various milestones. What would the people who watch this science and report on it and blog about it do then? They’d whinge about the lack of transparency, the lack of information, they’d say things like “Sure, sure, peer reviewed papers are great, but with this kind of science, with the huge public funding, and given the importance of the public interest, and the various milestones and stuff … well, they should have press conferences now and then, dammit!”

Yes, that is what would be said.

So, here, I will present the information on the upcoming press conferences, as provided by NASA, so you can see what it is all about.

11.29.2012
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Update Set In San Francisco About Curiosity Mars Rover

PASADENA, Calif. — The next news conference about the NASA Mars rover Curiosity will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in San Francisco at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect. The news conference will be an update about first use of the rover’s full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil. One class of substances Curiosity is checking for is organic compounds — carbon-containing chemicals that can be ingredients for life. At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics.

The Mars Science Laboratory Project and its Curiosity rover are less than four months into a two-year prime mission to investigate whether conditions in Mars’ Gale Crater may have been favorable for microbial life. Curiosity is exceeding all expectations for a new mission with all of the instruments and measurement systems performing well. This is spectacular for such a complex system, and one that is operated so far away on Mars by people here on planet Earth. The mission already has found an ancient riverbed on the Red Planet, and there is every expectation for remarkable discoveries still to come.

Audio and visuals from the briefing also will be streamed online at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl .

For more information about the mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mars and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl .

2012-377b

Veronica McGregor/Guy Webster 818-354-9452/ 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
veronica.c.mcgregor@jpl.nasa.gov/ guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

NASA to Host Dec. 3 Teleconference About Voyager Mission

November 29, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Monday, Dec. 3, to discuss the latest findings and travels of NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, have been speeding through the outer reaches of our solar system and sending back unprecedented data about the bubble of charged particles around our sun. They were launched in 1977 and have traveled farther from Earth than any other spacecraft.

Audio and visuals of the event will be streamed live online at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 .

For more information about the Voyager mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/voyager and http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov .

Jia-Rui C. Cook 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
jccook@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

2012-379b

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Photograph of Alien Spacecraft by Flickr user Markusram

Comments

  1. #1 gruebait
    December 1, 2012

    NASA TV is great. Hearing the questions asked by reporters can be very revealing.

    Hearing the answers directly from the investigators is great. The detail of their explanations is often missing from articles based on them.

  2. #2 Jon
    December 1, 2012

    Can I ask why you are so smug?
    “If you don’t think that is overwhelmingly exciting than you are either dead or have no idea how science works.”

    wow. You’re pathetic

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    December 1, 2012

    Jon, that is not smug. This is a blog post that starts out with a picture of a UFO. Think about it for a minute.

    Then, after you’ve been thinking for a moment, I do have a question for you that you might try to answer if you’ve got anything left: Do you think it is not amazingly impressive that they ran this pile of dirt to the ground, as it were? Because if you don’t …..

  4. #4 Jon
    December 2, 2012

    Yes, I find it impressive but not necessarily amazingly. I expect advancements in technology over thirty years. We have been sending rovers to Mar’s since my dad was my age. However, just because I find it impressive I wouldn’t, as a scientist, expect or fault anyone else who thought otherwise.

    I read your blog regularly and seems lately you have had this very disdainful tone. It has made it hard to read. If you expect people to share in your joy you should try to educate rather than insult. The scientific community of the past ten years has become rather good at looking down its nose at people and you’re adding to the problem.

  5. #5 Jon
    December 2, 2012

    “would have required 3,000 feet of laboratory floor space full of expensive equipment and a dozen technicians working for two months back in the day. But they did it with a Robot. On Mars. In a few days. And everything worked.”

    This makes very little sense. We can either perform these experiments on a machine the size of the rover or we cant. Explain to me why it is only possible on Mars. Are you saying if I drove Curiosity into my back yard and performed sample testing on some random patch of dirt, nothing would happen? i would need to find myself thousands of feet of lab space and teams of guys? No.

    We made an advancement. Kick Ass. It’s not the average persons fault that NASA over hypes things and most physicists are too self absorbed to explain it to people.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    December 2, 2012

    Jon, I’m not looking down my nose at anyone, but if I’m critiquing anyone (and I am) it is fellow scientist and science writers who have joined the “NASA is doing science by press conference” bandwagon.

    My comparison with the laboratory setting and the modern rover is set in the context of change over time. Reread that section. You’lll see I’m comparing the present to some unspecified point in the past when you could not do what they are doing now.

    Funny that the number of words of complaining from you is approaching the length of the blog post that you did not read very carefully! It’s almost like you were looking down your nose at me or something.

    NASA has not overhyped anything; read their press reports. Unless we think that every word that comes out of every NASA employee represents NASA, which would require that NASA control what their employees say very carefully. I would prefer not to have it that way. Finally, again, I”m not taking about the “average person.” I’m talking about the scientists and science writers, a subset of whom, I think, are wrong on this.

  7. #7 Jason
    Washington, DC
    December 2, 2012

    @Jon

    BOOM ROASTED, its a blog and an enjoyable one at that. I enjoy the snarky tone of it. Seriously, could you be any more of a whiny little girl? Go find something else to bitch about…