Ex-NASA employee criticizes government for ‘foolishness, arrogance and utter ignorance’
“Shame on those in the political class whose machinations caused today’s tragedy.”
The most historical
A former NASA employee speaks of government short-sightedness, perhaps somewhat exaggeratedly, comparing Congress to Rome.
In an editorial by L Watch NASAFormer JPL proposals director Jeff Nosanov compared the agency’s recent layoffs, which affected eight percent of the lab’s staff, to other “historic mistakes” made by collapsing empires.
“On occasion in human history, a great power chooses to relinquish a position of command, or cede hegemony over borders, for the benefit of or because of an internal or internal conflict,” Nosanov wrote.
In the case of NASA’s layoffs, which affected about 530 employees and 40 contractors at the agency’s joint facility with the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, the farce occurred because Congress is deadlocked over budget issues.
Nosanov argues that the failure of leadership is unacceptable precisely because of how important JPL is to America’s extraordinary achievements in space — and because, unlike the mistakes made by rulers of the past, our current rulers have historical precedents that should undo their “ignorance.” “
“The Western Roman Empire fell into disarray in the 5th century as a result of an overly aggressive foreign policy, leaving the Byzantine Empire to last for 100 years,” he wrote.
Feel the big bag
It is no exaggeration to say, as Nosanov did in his impassioned op-ed, that JPL is the crown jewel of the American space program. Many of its employees immigrated to this country to work there, he wrote, “to fulfill that great calling of the United States—to bring out the best in people from all parts of the world.”
“JPL led the United States and humanity to the moon in the 1960s through early robotic space exploration, and to this day pushes the boundaries far beyond the edge of the solar system,” Nosanov continued.
Now, the lab’s layoffs have put one of its most important programs — the Mars Sample Return mission, which could help us discover life on the Red Planet — in jeopardy, demonstrating how reckless Congress has been in clamping down.
With layoffs sweeping the technology and science industries, eliminating such coveted government jobs “would destroy the morale of an entire generation” — and could leave the door open for China to take the lead in space exploration, the former JPL employee wrote. also.
“History shows us what happens when a great power gives up borders — and someone else takes them, and that such things are conscious choices,” he declared. “It is the height of foolishness, arrogance and complete ignorance for our leaders to allow this to happen.”
JPL and the brilliant people who were laid off “deserve better,” Nosanov wrote, before casting “shame on those in the political class whose machinations caused today’s tragedy.”
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