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posted by Fnord666 on Monday November 19 2018, @12:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the science-of-politics-and-politics-of-science dept.

The Planetary Society reports:

Representative John Culberson, an 8-term Texas Republican and staunch supporter of NASA and planetary exploration, lost his re-election bid to Democrat Lizzie Fletcher last week. Many factors played into this outcome, but one bears consideration by space advocates: his support for the scientific search for life at Europa was seen as a weakness and attacked accordingly.

Over the past four years, Culberson used his chairmanship of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations subcommittee to increase spending on NASA and missions to search for life on Europa. He directed hundreds of millions of dollars to this effort and played a critical role in getting the Europa Clipper mission officially adopted by NASA and the White House. And he did this without cannibalizing other NASA programs. His motivation was passion, not parochialism, as the prime benefactor of these federal dollars was California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located far outside his Houston-area congressional district.


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  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday November 19 2018, @12:32AM (22 children)

    by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@proton.me> on Monday November 19 2018, @12:32AM (#763689) Homepage Journal

    This makes me chuckle. Our resident space geeks would normally be bitching profusely over this but since the guy had an R by his name you can hear every chirp.

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  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by aristarchus on Monday November 19 2018, @12:49AM (3 children)

    by aristarchus (2645) on Monday November 19 2018, @12:49AM (#763698) Journal

    So, he's kinda like the Jordan Peterson of Space Science, only a bit less with the "all beef" diet? [theatlantic.com]

    You wiley anti-reason devouror of carrion and alt-Republican, some Mightly Brissard.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @07:10AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @07:10AM (#763810)

      Wow, so much crap can be written because somebody sick said she feels better when after eating beef and her father decided to do the same. Btw, he has a lot of good things to say for people like you aristarchus.

      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Monday November 19 2018, @07:41AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Monday November 19 2018, @07:41AM (#763815) Journal

        Feels better? The man is a charlatan, besides being a psychologist! This has all the markings of critical thinking that back up gluten-free diets and vaccinations causing autism! Science, my dear and less-than-optimally-functioning AC, science and philosophy are the way to truth, not anecdote and Youtube likes.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @05:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @05:51PM (#763945)

      If i am not mistaken TMB was being critical of the guy and mocking users for their paartisanship.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Monday November 19 2018, @01:39AM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday November 19 2018, @01:39AM (#763716) Journal

    We already discussed Culberson: Impact of the Midterm Elections May be Felt at NASA [soylentnews.org]

    The Planetary Society's post was written after that date and goes into details I didn't know (the Houston Chronicle editorial and attack ad), so I won't drop the D-word.

    The Planetary Society doesn't consider whether a half-baked lander will do any good at Europa, or Culberson's support of the pork rocket.

    We need to think about drilling [nextbigfuture.com] kilometers down into Europa and Enceladus. That is not on the table yet.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PartTimeZombie on Monday November 19 2018, @01:44AM (7 children)

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday November 19 2018, @01:44AM (#763719)

    I have never heard of the bloke myself, but I am wondering what an 8-term Texas Republican has to do to lose his seat?

    It can't be because of his support for a particular space project. That's just not credible.

    I had a quick search, but the only thing I could find was about him skipping a MAGA rally, and how he was not a firm Trump supporter, so he may well have been made an example of by his own party.

    Also, I don't really care. If the disappearance of one representative means a $multi-million, multi-year project gets cancelled, you guys are doing it wrong.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday November 19 2018, @02:10AM (5 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday November 19 2018, @02:10AM (#763727) Journal

      There's no indication that Europa Clipper will get cancelled. Maybe the optional lander portion of the mission will get cancelled.

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      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday November 19 2018, @02:20AM (4 children)

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday November 19 2018, @02:20AM (#763733)

        That's not good though is it? I thought the lander bit was the most interesting part of the project.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday November 19 2018, @02:43AM (3 children)

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday November 19 2018, @02:43AM (#763748) Journal

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_Lander_(NASA) [wikipedia.org]
          https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/07/23/2120200 [soylentnews.org]

          The lander would be nice to have, but won't be entering the internal ocean, which is what we would want from an aggressive, multi-billion dollar Europa landing mission. Can it find signs of life by drilling a few inches at the surface? Maybe, maybe not.

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          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday November 19 2018, @05:56AM (2 children)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 19 2018, @05:56AM (#763803) Journal

            Right. To illustrate the risks of half-arsed missions.

            Drilling down and founding microscopic life demonstrate what? The preexistence of that life or the contamination of the probe?
            If the latter and the contaminant microbe survives/thrives, we may never know for sure if we didn't actually kill the endogenous life.

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            • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday November 19 2018, @12:14PM (1 child)

              by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday November 19 2018, @12:14PM (#763852) Journal

              NASA has means to decontaminate their spacecraft up to a point. If they start taking samples and find more microbes than could be expected to have come from the spacecraft, that would point to an extraterrestrial origin. But if they find fish-like organisms down there, then we're golden.

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              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @06:55PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @06:55PM (#763964)

                Fish-like organisms? Clearly, you have not seen the movie. Tentacles, dude! Japanese got there first.

    • (Score: 2) by Blymie on Monday November 19 2018, @11:26AM

      by Blymie (4020) on Monday November 19 2018, @11:26AM (#763846)

      To be fair, the article doesn't say that he lots his seat because of him pushing for it.

      What the article does say, is that it demonstrates that it was seen as a liability, because the political attack ad (shown in the article), uses his stance on science -- and this mission, to denounce him as .. well, "silly".

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @01:57AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @01:57AM (#763724)

    Like most republicans, AND democrats, you don't get it.

    It's not a matter of him being a republican, it's a matter of him supporting the pussy-grabbing child-molester in the White House.

    It's not a matter of republicans vs democrats anymore, although that's what the ennemies of your country would like to have you believe. It's a matter of having psychopath after psychopath after psychopath as presidential candidates.

    How the fuck did it come to this ? You supposedly want to give the big finger to the "establishment" (whatever the fuck that is) and to do so, you put in power someone that is even worse. And no, Clinton would not have been a better choice.

    What the hell is wrong with you people ? It's more than time for you to look back and reflect on when did you take a wrong turn, before it's too late to save that joke of a democracy of yours.

    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday November 19 2018, @02:33AM

      by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@proton.me> on Monday November 19 2018, @02:33AM (#763740) Homepage Journal

      You get that I'm of the "A pox on both their houses" variety, yes?

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    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @02:40AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @02:40AM (#763746)

      As mentioned above: "skipping a MAGA rally, and how he was not a firm Trump supporter"

      Failure to fully support Trump means no enthusiasm. Lots of never-Trump republicans lost their seats in this past election. Those who supported Trump did better.

      You aren't American, so I guess you understand us via what CNN tells you. The reality is that the median person likes Trump now. Outside of large cities (where news media is based) we are generally quite fond of Trump. Even in California, it is just the cities that hate Trump.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday November 19 2018, @03:01AM (5 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 19 2018, @03:01AM (#763759) Journal

        I don't know about "likes Trump". Maybe "accepts Trump". Maybe "grudgingly respects Trump". I, for one, still insist that the election campaign was between the Court Fool and the Wicked Witch. So far, the Court Fool hasn't done us terribly wrong.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @04:03AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @04:03AM (#763781)

          The court fool, or jester, was usually highly intelligent. Yes, his job was to entertain, but also to present unpalatable truths to power in a way that didn't end up with his head on a spike. People who were stupid did not last long in that role.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @05:54PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19 2018, @05:54PM (#763946)

          He has tanked our reputation, wasted money, and rolled back a ton of regulations. Maybe you just need to pay more attention.

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday November 20 2018, @01:02AM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 20 2018, @01:02AM (#764102) Journal

            Many of us ARE paying attention. I note that you don't complain about one, or six, or 36 specific regulations. Instead, you mention "a ton of regulations". From any point of view outside of your own, it would seem that you believe regulation to be good, for the sake of regulation. That is an authoritarian thing there. Not only is it authoritarian, but it is far more authoritarian than I can stomach. It goes beyond authoritarianism, into the realm of martinetism.