Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gizmodo Geniuses

Gizmodo Editor Jesus Diaz reports that the astronauts currently on the ISS are enjoying the new Star Trek film! Seems trekkie-astronaut Michael R. Barratt requested the film and it was "beamed up." Gee, must be nice!

Diaz links to the original article in the New York Times, and also hooks to an interesting review of the film, because of course those are hard to come by and getting rarer. HA.

Star Trek on the ISS

I actually recognized his name from around this time last year; I had just seen bedrest study details on the Wired Science blog, and was browsing around for other mentions. Diaz posted an article entitled NASA Wants You To Get In Bed For $17,000 ... revisiting it tonight, I see there are now 50 comments.

And may I just say: OH FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE. I've seen this sort of thing before between know-it-alls on various chat forums... but this one really takes the cake.

One person quipped they will pass rather than eat "astronaut food," two people did the salary math entirely wrong, still others commented about how it's appropriate for the grossly overweight or paraplegic... and I'm only mentioning some of the least offensive posts here. My favorite was the guy who said (without citing any medical journal, mind you) that studies show how "being immobilized for 30 days is worse for your body than 30 years of aging"... LOL!

How is it that people still believe Tang and paste tubes are space diet staples? That has not been the case for over three decades... but apparently, I am 98 years old now, so what would I know?

Oh wait, I'm living it as we speak, so I DO know. I've never understood why people comment brashly or with condescending certitude about topics they know nothing about. A few people in the mix asked reasonable questions or pointed out the benefits... but most of it was alarmingly off-base.

Having spent a year of my life participating in these programs and writing about them, I take some understandable umbrage. So here are some facts I've seen with my own eyes:

  • If you are not healthy enough to withstand the protocols, you won't get in.
  • Even if you screen and don't make it, you just got the best medical physical of your life.

  • If at any point you experienced a problem, testing would cease immediately, and you are in about the best place in the world to resolve it.

  • You will not age a year per day.
  • We eat perfectly normal food and there is nothing secret about any of the meals... in fact, it's been posted in my blog's right-hand navigation bar for nearly a year. See the "UTMB * MENUS" link.

  • Regardless of faulty wage assumptions by people not affiliated with the program and who assume NASA is attempting some kind of swindle -- you will be paid for EACH DAY you are traveling to or from Texas, screening, on the ward or in bed -- not just for the "bedrest phase" of any project. In fact, when Devin, Marcus and I evacuated last September, we were shipped to another hospital for rehab... but NASA continued to pay us until the day we got HOME. You will also be paid for 6-month and one-year check-ups.
Subjects know all this, and I have not met one yet who didn't have a fun and educational experience here. I'm living proof it's awesome enough to do twice. So when you run across these ill-informed folks in various forums, remind them not to judge until they've walked a mile in our... socks. ;)