What the GOP Taught Me About Martians
This morning my stomach did flip-flops as I waited for NASA’s noon announcement detailing what the Curiosity rover had discovered on Mars. Well, twelve o’clock came and went. And as far as I can figure, NASA’s this-will-go-down-in-the-history-books announcement suggested that a mis-communication between a NASA scientist and NPR reporter had given the public the false impression that something had been discovered on Mars. According to a statement issued by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: ”we have no definitive detection of Martian organics at this point, but we will keep looking in the diverse environments of Gale Crater.”
But that got me to thinking. NASA may be hyping the Mars rover in the hopes of generating high levels of public excitement as a means of keeping the taxpayer funds flowing. Maybe they even found microscopic evidence of organic compounds, fossils or microscopic organisms, and they’re doing further tests so as not to be embarrassed by a sensationalist story that turns out to be wrong. Or what if they found real evidence of Martians, well that’s where the GOP comes in to this scenario.
A month or two ago, I would have expressed outrage at the notion that the discovery of life on Mars or elsewhere in the Universe would have been suppressed by NASA and other government agencies. The notion that such information would spur panic and chaos and thus must be kept from the public struck me as exponentially arrogant. But that was before President Obama won a second term in office. If the fears generated by a black man in the White House, could so terrify thousands of Americans that they would sign petitions advocating secession from the Union, then the government would indeed be displaying good sense in suppressing knowledge of extraterrestrial life on Mars.