Friday, February 9, 2007

It's Not Rocket Science

NASA Watch
Space Love Triangle
Nowak Comes Undone
Attempted Murder Charges for NASA's Finest

The titles are endless. The reality quite sad. At a time when we are starved for things to believe in, NASA has become a media spectacle. Instead of utter sadness about the lives that have been irrevocably changed by recent events, we have a media sensation over the space love triangle. Many of those closest to me are asking the question - who do you think got busy in space first? I tell you, the glow of Dr. Mae Jemison going into space shouldn't be anywhere near the quandry of what happens when love in space goes bad.

Astronaut Nowak went into space with dignity. By all accounts she was hyper focused on doing her best, and exceeded at every task set before her. Colleagues have come to her rescue with comments about her support during their personal losses. We know that the training required to become an astronaut is extensive and full of testing from a to z. (Or....quantum physics to organic chemistry...) Yet, with one choice, she has become the latest in a series of playing to the lowest common denominator. Is this really news?

The mother of 3 children, my heart goes out to her family for what has to be a terribly difficult time. There are unspoken victims throughout her alleged crime, not the least of which is the former wife of the astronaut whose affections are at the center of the debate. It can be clearly seen that the woman who got the dose of pepper spay and the experience of being stalked didn't deserve that in the least. All that said - what should the media focus be?

I can understand a more thorough investigation of the psychological tests that are performed before and after any mission. I clearly get the necessity to do damage control for NASA - who at the core has a legacy of adultery that sends images of "the best and brightest" in collision with past notions of tremendous fearless space travelers. There is something dirty and seedy at the core of a sex/murder scandal that just speaks sadness for our country's elite program. All that said - can we focus on what is important?

Lives have been forever changed and shattered as a result of these actions. We can only hope that everyone involved gets the medical support they need. It surely isn't just Nowak that needs the help. Seems as if we should have a screening process that scans good judgment along with everything else. Then, at least in my opinion, let the justice system do its job. With all that we have at hand in our community - surely this case should not lead the evening news for weeks on end. I have rarely heard a news broadcaster ask the real questions. There are children at the core of this torrid controversy. Children and the credibility of a national treasure.

As a little girl I day dreamed about space, the stars and the planets beyond my view. I marveled at the Astronauts and the scientists that worked endless to learn more about the unknown. I remember a special education segment where it talked about "problem solving" in space, and the fact that it was impossible to know everything that would happen on any flight. The possibility of it all was grand. The coverage of this issue has been anything but grand.

It is not rocket science. In a web of adultery, sex, competition, evil and lust - some folks went crazy. No we'll have to see if they were crazy before space or shortly thereafter. The reality is that even rocket scientists are human. This story, played out in cities across America, would be less interesting if the people involved weren't smart, high achievers, national treasures of sorts. The least we can do is redirect media outlets to under - we aren't just interested in the sensational. If we are - aren't we a part of the problem too.
While families crumble and lives forever change, we passively watch human destruction. Maybe psychological tests should be required for us all.

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