A Real Astronaut at Texas A&M University

by

Morgan Reynolds

On October 11, 2018, as a member of the Texas A&M University Community of Faculty Retirees I attended a talk on the College Station campus by former NASA Astronaut and current Professor of Engineering Practice Nancy J. Currie-Gregg entitled, “The Role of Robotics in Support of Human Spaceflight Missions.”  Why bother?  Because of my interest in NASA, the dubious Apollo moon missions, and any insights I might glean from a real astronaut.

Real?  Yes, she joined NASA in 1987 and was launched into low-earth-orbit four times in 1993, 1995, 1998, and 2002, and spent 1,000 hours in space.  The last two missions were fascinating to me: in 1998 she participated in the first International Space Station assembly mission, a 12-day assignment to mate the first American-made module, Unity, to the first Russian-made module, Zarya.  Dr. Currie-Gregg’s primary role was to operate the Shuttle’s 50-foot robotic arm to retrieve Zarya and connect the first two station segments.  Her description  of operating that boom in difficult lighting was dramatic and her PowerPoint showed the pics.  Her last flight was to service the Hubble Space Telescope where her key role was to operate the Shuttle’s 50-foot arm to retrieve and redeploy the telescope following upgrades and repairs. She also operated the robot during spacewalks performed by four crew members.  The shuttles flew 135 missions from 1981 to 2011 with famous disasters on launch for the Challenger and re-entry for the Columbia killing all aboard each shuttle.

Professor Curie-Gregg was a first-class lecturer, hardly looking at a note and she fielded questions expertly.  Insights were plentiful.  She noted that departing on a rocket is “like boarding a bomb.”  During lift-off stage 1 vibration is intense and separation is an explosive charge; stage 2 is an “electric ride” although G’s increase rapidly causing chest pain and hampered reach.

Naturally she advocated extensive use of robotics to compensate for human limitations in space and transfer chores that are dull, dirty and dangerous (3 D’s) to robotic systems.  In the design of equipment she stressed testing in the actual environment where it will be used.  She also pushed for collecting data via robotics landed on both the Moon and Mars before sending manned missions, especially for any planned long stays given the vulnerability of the human physiology to the hazards of space.  Twice she used the expression “going back to the moon.”

She acknowledged the numerous problems radiation imposes on human health from brain to bone and even mentioned the retinal flashes experienced only 350 miles up.  She pointed out that she and other astronauts wore a dosimeter to measure radiation exposure.

I got to ask the last question and an oceanography professor sitting in front of me had already inquired about the hostile and dangerous environment in space so I could build on that.  Obviously she was knowledgable and conceded the dangers of space.  I asked if radiation wasn’t a show stopper.  It wasn’t the place or time to call the Apollo seven missions of 1969-72 outright frauds but I did point out that no nation has launched a manned mission beyond low-earth-orbit in the nearly half-century since Apollo.  She deftly replied with her expertise on occupant safety in space and all ended amicably though doubts about manned space travel in deep space persist without something akin to two meters of lead or water.  For an outstanding analysis see: “Radiant Daze,” Chapter Three in Dark Moon by Mary Bennett and David S. Percy.

 

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7 Responses to A Real Astronaut at Texas A&M University

  1. Robert E. Salt says:

    You might find this video interesting. It trashes Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. The trolls jumped all over this one.

    I can offer a theory that might explain the ferryboat problem included in the video. According to the science I was taught, we see objects because our eyes are sensitive to the photons bouncing off them. Photons have no mass, but gravity bends space and time. Photons near sea level will travel some distance before being pulled into the sea making the ferry invisible to the naked eye. Binoculars and telescopes can capture the photons before they’re submerged. Photons from the hull of the boat will sink before those from its upper structure making the horizon appear curved. However, I don’t believe that the earth is a giant ball floating in space any more than I believe it’s flat. I agree with an increasing number of scientists that the earth is a holographic simulation. Rather than thinking of your environment as physical, try thinking of it as a virtual reality. The Japanese have holograms that you can touch. I believe that there is an inner earth which includes a sun and an advanced civilization that is very concerned with our nuclear activity. All heavenly bodies would be separate simulations. You go from one to another by disassociating yourself from one simulation and joining another. Andrew Basiago and company made several trips to Mars from a “jump” room on the west coast. Tony Rodrigues took a short train ride from Mars to Ceres in which he reported a flash halfway into the ride. Teleportation would be a matter of rearranging data within a simulation. Time travel would be very much like space travel. To an animal there is no past or present, only the “now”. What we consider past or present is actually part of the “now”. Our focus is always limited to the part of the “now” where the future meets the past. The past that never happened exists along with the past that we experienced. The future that will never be, exists along with the future that will. We are all connected, and collectively we are steering our way into the future according to what we believe. Consciousness is fundamental. Location, distance and time are illusions. Without time there is no beginning or end or Big Bang, only cycles. There are other foci passing through consciousness, each one a separate reality (multiverse). Each focus is passing through at its own rate. Fifteen minutes in one reality can be equivalent to twenty years in another. Ancient Greek mythology reads like the product of someone’s wild imagination, but it might have been true long before world religion. World religion is a form of mind control which stabilized our reality into what it has been for many centuries. Many people are beginning to get away from religion. Without religion reality is open to imagination, science fiction and advanced technology. Computers, cell phones and the internet have changed our world, but it’s just the beginning. Based on what I surmised from Secret Space Program whistleblowers, Nazi headquarters is located beneath Antarctica. There is a Nazi base on Ceres with advanced technology. Ceres is a planetoid less than 600 miles in diameter on the outer edge of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. There are 225,000 German speaking people inhabiting Ceres like a colony of termites. It has 40,000 slave workers from all over the world. Ceres has subways, elevators that extend for miles, and several hangars each housing giant spacecraft comparable to the size of the twin towers. The spacecraft make trips all over the galaxy and beyond including regular trips to earth, mainly to Diego Garcia at around 2AM. Diego Garcia has a curfew. A British pilot saw one of these crafts floating in the sky. He was so shaken that he could barely function. Spacecraft move from one atmosphere to another with a “jump”. Mars has underground colonies with domes on the surface. Mars has a population of more than a ten million humans. Ares Prime was the first colony and is the capital city. There are human bases on the far side of the moon as well. Ceres, Mars and the moon all have gravity plated flooring that can be adjusted. There are ET’s working alongside humans on all three. Of the three, Mars has the least water. It has high-tech paperless toilets, misty showers and chutes that you feed your dirty laundry through. We’ve all been brainwashed with misinformation since birth; it’s time to reprogram our thinking. Virtually all the planets have intelligent life. All the Apollo videos are fake. The astronauts may have gone to the moon with a surface to surface “jump”. Their memories would have been blank slated upon return. Check out the Tony Rodrigues’ interviews on youtube. They’re far more interesting than anything on TV, and they have fewer advertisements.

    • Rob, lots in your statement but I’m afraid I do not buy most of it. Like you, I carry no water for Einstein and his theories. Spacetime, for example, is a conflation of two entirely separate variables. But you make many bold claims, mostly unsupported by evidence so no reason to buy them. For example, I reject the whole ‘simulation’ claim out of hand. There is an objective reality, nature is existence, ‘the sum of that which is,’ to quote Leonard Peikoff. ‘It is what it is’ is a cliche’ of our times but profound. To explain, Ayn Rand wrote: ‘Consciousness is the faculty of awareness–the faculty of perceiving that which exists. Existence exists…If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.’ She continues by identifying the key metaphysical issue “that lies at the root of any system of philosophy…the primacy of existence or the primacy of consciousness.’ The primacy of consciousness is the nonsense idea that reality is subject to our wishes, prayer and such and can become whatever you or I want it to be. Bullbleep. Rand adds: ‘The primacy of existence (of reality) is the axiom that existence exists, i.e., that the universe [multiverse is a nonsense claim since the universe is everything in existence by definition] exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness) [btw, what the hell is that ‘God Rules’ in the corner of the video? Rubbish], that things are what they are…they want their consciousness to be an instrument not of perceiving but of creating existence, and existence to be not the object but the subject of their consciousness–they want to be that God they created in their image and likeness, who creates a universe out of a void by means of an arbitrary whim.’ At least we likely agree that religions and their gods (the many thousands invented over time and space), maybe even church and state, are asinine.

  2. Peter Trabant says:

    Morgan, FYI, Bob Gilruth (AKA “the geezer”), NASA’s director and head of Mercury and Apollo programs became a dear friend and fellow sailor following his retirement. Upon completion of the last mission to the Moon he advocated for robotics only and to never send men into space as too risky. He was forced to quit over this. He also designed the first supersonic aircraft wings and was present when Chuck Yeager flew his plane.

    • Peter, interesting stuff. Reminds me of James A. Van Allen, of course credited with discovery of the Van Allen belts, areas of intense radiation trapped by the earth’s magnetic field. Van Allen was a big advocate of unmanned space exploration, a fact unmentioned by his Wikipedia biography, that repository of conventional “wisdom.” Apparently, Van Allen was sanguine about radiation exposure during the Apollo missions, at least through the belts, but I’m sorry, big science is badly corrupted by big government $ so anything Van Allen and his colleagues ever say is under a cloud of suspicion–or worse, it’s provable lies. No radiation shielding and radiation from the Van Allen belts, cosmic radiation throughout deep space plus solar particle events, i.e., flares? That’s a deadly combination.

  3. I WOULD APPRECIATE HEARING ABOUT THE CHALLENGER ( THE ROGERS COMMISSION DID NOT BLAME REAGAN , THE WAY I DO ,DID . THE O RING PROBLEMS HAD BEEN EXPOSED BY BECHTOLD ? TO THE NASA CREW . THE ICE HANGING UNDER THE ROCKET WAS NEVER CLEANLY WIPED AWAY ? THE ICICLES SEEN UNDER NEATH WERE SO LONG AND LARGE , THAT THE FLIGHT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CANCELLED .
    WAS REAGAN’S SPEECH THAT IMPORTANT ; ANOTHER LOUSY PRSIDENT LET OFF THE HOOK .

  4. Bill Cain says:

    “Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do, including traversing the cosmos. But it would take an act of God to ever release these technologies to the general public.” – deathbed statement of Ben Rich, former head of Lockheed Skunkworks, 1995
    Ever since extraterrestrial technology was discovered in 1947 outside of Roswell, NM, there has existed a secret space program unbeknownst to the public. Some of this technology has to do with free, zero point energy – a destructive variation of which was used to bring down the three WTC buildings in NYC on 9-11. NASA is nothing more than a PR front.

    For those unfamiliar with this, familiarize yourselves with the work of Dr. Steven Greer. Watch the documentary “Unacknowledged”, and read the book by the same name.

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