quinta-feira, 12 de abril de 2007

Sobre a NASA e Lisa Nowak

No dia em que foram divulgados mais pormenores, infelizes, sobre o caso de Lisa Nowak (ver abaixo), li no site do Orlando Sentinel um comentário escrito por um veterano do Exército dos EUA, onde fala sobre o seu 'amor' à NASA e ao programa espacial.

São palavras inspiradas e lúcidas sobre o que o programa espacial tem de bom, e sobre o que o 'olho público', em geral, tem de mau.

Fonte: Orlando Sentinel

Trying to rekindle love affair with NASA
Americans take the space program for granted.

Steven Alvarez | Special to the Sentinel
Posted April 12, 2007

When I was a boy in New York, I was fascinated by astronauts. As NASA launched rocket after rocket into space, I collected newspaper clippings and looked at them by the glow of a flashlight, imagining myself drifting in space as I drifted off to sleep.

After my first visit to the Kennedy Space Center, I started to collect mission patches, and I couldn't get enough of the space program. While most kids wanted to go to Disney World, I wanted to go to KSC.

We moved to Florida, and while I was in high school, a couple of buddies and I drove to see a shuttle launch in 1982. As Columbia stood perched on the pad in the distance, I could feel my soul tingling. When she lifted off, everyone cheered and old men next to us were filled with a youthful energy that sprang them out of their seats. "Go, baby, go!" they yelled. I looked at my two friends and both stood with their mouths agape as Columbia's thunderous roar enveloped us and rattled our car.

I've not lost my love for the space program, although I admit that with kids and careers, the program has not gotten my full attention for some time. But that's just an excuse, and I've been trying to rekindle my love affair with NASA. While the "Astronaut Love Scandal" was featured on the front page of the Sentinel again Wednesday, the real news was on Page A3, headlined, "Repairs Delay Next Shuttle Liftoff Until at Least June."

Lançamento do STS-121 em 4 de Julho de 2006,
missão em que vôou Lisa Nowak.

As I contemplated the latest delay, I couldn't help but think back to July 4, 2006, as we wrapped up a lazy day in our pool, and the news was on television. Our kids were napping, and I watched as Discovery lifted off. I hustled my wife outside since she had never seen a shuttle launch.

Outside, I pointed to the east, and Discovery came out from behind the rooftops, ascending hurriedly toward space. "Oh, my God!" was all my wife could say as the rockets burned brightly and faded into the summer sky.

Months later, NASA was on television news again, only this time it was about U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak, the astronaut who had fallen from grace. I came to realize that as we watched Discovery that July day, we had watched Nowak's best moment: the culmination of her life's work.

The mother of three graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985, later earning a graduate degree at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. She logged more than 1,500 hours in 30 aircraft.

For months, we have been seeing Nowak's worst moment. Prosecutors charged her with attempted kidnapping with intent to inflict bodily harm, burglary, assault using a weapon and battery for trying to kidnap a woman at the Orlando airport.

Nowak's newsworthiness shows that the American public loves tragedy. When people of Nowak's caliber fall, the public voraciously gobbles it up because the fall for a seemingly perfect overachiever is that much farther.

Before her arrest in February, most Americans didn't know Lisa Nowak, despite the fact she had orbited the Earth for 13 days and helped others do the same for more than a decade. Even after her arrest many Americans still don't recognize her name, but ask any man, woman and child who Tiger Woods is, and they can tell you. Ask any person to name one current astronaut and see what reply you get.

My heroes have always been space cowboys, true frontiersmen who strap themselves in and ride furious rockets that buck them into space. Americans take the space program for granted. We have become so complacent that we've lost our sense of adventure. We're disconnected with the American spirit that brought many of our forefathers from lands far away to explore a new world. The space program is the American spirit incarnate -- it has boundless curiosity and excitement as it explores the last frontier.

But the other tragedy of the Nowak case is that, sadly, most Americans notice the space program only when there is an accident to showcase or when one of its stars has its wings clipped and falls from the celestial legion. Americans choose to see these fearless, brilliant people only when they're at their worst, ignoring their amazing feats as they cross earthly boundaries.

Last December, we watched Discovery lift off on television. I told my family to follow me outside, and we ran to our backyard patio. The clouds in the sky were ablaze in fiery orange and red as the shuttle came out from behind the Maitland tree line. The rocket flames illuminated the landscape and rooftops for miles around us.

I glanced up at my son, who was on my shoulders, and it was like looking at my buddies 25 years ago. He stared toward the heavens, mouth open, and summed up the emotion of the moment simply by saying, "Whoa, cool."

I stared wide-eyed and said the only thing that came to mind: "Go, baby, go!"

When the next launch of the shuttle finally rolls around -- whatever its date -- you can be sure the same words will be on my lips again.

Steven Alvarez is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who lives in Maitland. He wrote this commentary for the Orlando Sentinel.

Abaixo, as imagens de todos os objectos encontrados no carro de Lisa Nowak. Na minha opinião não faz grande sentido, nem é justo, estar a divulgar provas de um processo-crime ainda antes do julgamento, até porque todos somos inocentes perante a Lei, até julgamento em contrário. Não é assim que Lisa Nowak está a ser tratada. Culpada ou não - e neste momento, por definição, é inocente - estes objectos deveriam ser guardados como pessoais. Em caso de juízo de culpa, então sim concordaria, em princípio, com a divulgação de provas.

Mas talvez seja esta a idéia de transparência que há nos EUA.

Na realidade está a decorrer um linchamento público da ex-astronauta.

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