Monday, August 05, 2013

Silly Season at the Space Agencies

Star Trek actor William Shatner with an image of astronaut Chris Hadfield. The actor spoke with the astronaut on February 7th, but "appeared to have no enthusiasm for the project," according to Blacklock's Reporter.

The summer "silly season," typified as a period during the latter half of the summer when the real news-makers are on vacation and less important, frivolous stories can gain traction and be exposed to a wider audience, is well and truly underway.

Here are a few of the more amusing recent examples in this genre, from space:
  • As outlined in the August 2nd, 2013 NBC News Science article "Applicants for one-way trip to Mars to descend on Washington, DC," while it's theoretically possible that there were indeed a "million Martians" hidden around the periphery of the weekend event organized by Mars One, a non-profit organization promoting a permanent human colony on Mars, it's also highly unlikely that there was anywhere near that many humans. The event was organized to kick off the US promotional efforts for what is essentially a television program about people who would like to go to Mars, although the promoters are insisting that actual trips to the red planet are being organized. The organizers estimate the cost of landing the first four settlers will be about $6Bln USD and plans to fund the costs by selling advertising for a reality TV program that would document the mission's progress, from astronaut selection through the settlers' first few years on Mars.

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