Saturday, February 24, 2007

"I'm Sorry Dave, I'm Afraid I Can't Do That"

I've felt for a long time that there could be a huge story that we earthlings aren't privy to. When NASA sends a shuttle mission up, or we hear that the crew of the ISS is rotated, it's always matter-of-fact and dry, perhaps with short bios and smiling pictures. I grew up reading science fiction so I knew there was a lot more going on behind the by the book SOP, dammit. After all, it's a tad disconcerting to be blasted into orbit strapped to eight million pounds of thrust to spend a half year endlessly circling the earth in a clanking, beeping closet. Just what stories have we been missing?

After the strange saga of Lisa Nowak recently some attention has finally been centered on fleshing out what could go on aside from the cold, professinal posturing and HAL-like equanimity. Nasa seems to have felt it needed to open up a little on the subject and released some internal protocols they designed for touchy situations with people who become like Peter Stormare in the film Armageddon:

"The documents, obtained this week by The Associated Press, say the astronaut's crewmates should bind his wrists and ankles with duct tape, tie him down with a bungee cord and inject him with tranquilizers if necessary."

Well, him and her apparently.


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