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DonPMitchell
I propose that NASA send a new probe to be named Venus-Express Express. It's mission is to go to Venus and check on what Venus Express is doing, and see if it is even still there.
RNeuhaus
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Sep 24 2006, 07:19 AM) *
I propose that NASA send a new probe to be named Venus-Express Express. It's mission is to go to Venus and check on what Venus Express is doing, and see if it is even still there.

Why? blink.gif I see no reason to send it for very small importance for a very high cost.

Rodolfo
paxdan
*whoosh*
head
ugordan
QUOTE (RNeuhaus @ Sep 24 2006, 02:22 PM) *
Why? blink.gif I see no reason to send it for very small importance for a very high cost.

It's called sarcasm, Rodolfo! cool.gif
helvick
QUOTE (ugordan @ Sep 24 2006, 03:34 PM) *
It's called sarcasm, Rodolfo! cool.gif

In any case sarcasm or not the deafening silence emanating from the halls of the ESA public outreach offices for VEX is just bloody typical.

And yes I know they are all really busy scientists and all the rest but it's my bloody tax euros that pays for it and I'm not feeling that its being well spent at the moment to be honest.
djellison
I totally agree and am utterly disgusted by the situation to be honest. If the opportunity is there - I will be asking questions about this at Valencia.

Doug
JRehling
[...]
DonPMitchell
Personally I think the difference is that ESA is embedded in the comfortable burocracy of the European Union. They simply do not have to care about public opinion -- it has less connection to their funding. NASA has a much larger budget, and it has to answer to congress for that money every year. It is not a foregone conclusion that they will keep getting it.

Also space programs are instruments for building national identity, and pan-European nationalism is still a work in progress. As such the ESA is probably considered important in Brussels.

As for academic psychology, I think that is a constant world-wide.
RNeuhaus
QUOTE (ugordan @ Sep 24 2006, 09:34 AM) *
It's called sarcasm, Rodolfo! cool.gif

I am sorry that you say like that it. I think that it is a misunderstanding. I was just sceptic of this. I hope that case is over! wink.gif

Rodolfo
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 24 2006, 08:01 AM) *
I totally agree and am utterly disgusted by the situation to be honest.

I'm not really surprised. Public outreach to date on VEx resembles MEx at the same stage in the mission. At least that's how it seems to me.
nprev
Come to that, it's far too easy to forget that MEx is still there!!! If we're going to launch a VEx-ex, might as well send a MEx-ex as well...

Cultural differences aside, I'm sure that the twin paradigms of "publish or perish" and "no bucks=no Buck Rogers" must hold true in the ESA as they do in NASA and the overall scientific community. Therefore, I am at a complete loss with respect to understanding the overwhelming lack of information from these missions.
dilo
QUOTE (nprev @ Sep 26 2006, 01:48 AM) *
Come to that, it's far too easy to forget that MEx is still there!!! If we're going to launch a VEx-ex, might as well send a MEx-ex as well...

And, for some aspects, MRO can be considered a MEx-ex! wink.gif
djellison
Perhaps they could 'do an MGS' and image MEX with HiRISE just to make sure it's still there smile.gif

Doug
ynyralmaen
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Sep 25 2006, 02:33 PM) *
Personally I think the difference is that ESA is embedded in the comfortable burocracy of the European Union. They simply do not have to care about public opinion -- it has less connection to their funding. NASA has a much larger budget, and it has to answer to congress for that money every year. It is not a foregone conclusion that they will keep getting it.

Also space programs are instruments for building national identity, and pan-European nationalism is still a work in progress. As such the ESA is probably considered important in Brussels.


I think your general sentiments are correct, but remember that ESA and the EU are not one and the same. Clearly there's a big overlap in membership, but there are several countries that are members of one body and not of the other (e.g. Norway).

I wouldn't go so far as saying that ESA don't have to care about public opinion; they clearly benefit funding-wise in the long-term from high-profile, successful missions that the general public have heard about. As you implied, there's an extra layer separating ESA from the taxpayers compared to the US though, which insulates them to a certain degree.

The national funding agencies of the ESA member states do a lot of the publicity themselves, highlighting their separate contributions to various missions. The degree to which these agencies do that varies considerably. PPARC in the UK, for example, regard a commitment to public communication of the work they're funding as very important in awarding grants to e.g., university research groups. In some other countries, there is no such official requirement for results to be reported to the general public.

As the body responsible for entire missions, and hence the release of relevant data, I agree that ESA could be doing much more, and would benefit in the long-term from doing so. Maybe things would change if individual member states were to specifically require in return for their funding support some regular, fairly high-profile public updates from ESA on missions' progress, together with timely (though not premature) data releases.
Jeff7
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 26 2006, 03:08 AM) *
Perhaps they could 'do an MGS' and image MEX with HiRISE just to make sure it's still there smile.gif

Doug

biggrin.gif
MRO *waves*
"Hi there, don't mind me, just making sure you hadn't left orbit!"
AlexBlackwell
Maybe this is one reason why the VEx team has been quiet as of late: Venus Express - No. 46 - Safe Mode Recovery.
AlexBlackwell
Doug's latest glog entry has a familiar title. biggrin.gif
JRehling
[...]
ustrax
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Sep 24 2006, 01:19 PM) *
I propose that NASA send a new probe to be named Venus-Express Express. It's mission is to go to Venus and check on what Venus Express is doing, and see if it is even still there.


This is starting to sound very otherforum arguments...
ESA is working and giving information as it is possible! mad.gif

There are weekly reports if someone cares to search for them...
djellison
Ustrax - when was the last image from VEX? When did we have an insight into what the scientists are doing. When did I see the results of my tax money? I understand the right of PI's to enjoy their data for a period of 6 months....but that DOES NOT give them the right to fundamentally shun their responsibility to keep the public informed and educated about what they are doing. There is no excuse. ESA is, again, falling its paying public.

Doug
Jyril
<annoyed sarcasm>What!? Do we have a probe around Venus?</annoyed sarcasm>
ustrax
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 4 2006, 09:27 PM) *
Ustrax - when was the last image from VEX? When did we have an insight into what the scientists are doing. When did I see the results of my tax money? I understand the right of PI's to enjoy their data for a period of 6 months....but that DOES NOT give them the right to fundamentally shun their responsibility to keep the public informed and educated about what they are doing. There is no excuse. ESA is, again, falling its paying public.

Doug


Doug, you seem a little bit excited, it must be from the Mediterranean breeze... rolleyes.gif

"How much does each European spend on ESA?

European per capita investment in space is very little. On average, every citizen of an ESA Member State pays, in taxes for expenditure on space, about the same as the price of a cinema ticket. In the United States, investment in civilian space activities is almost four times as much."

Are we, Europeans, willing to pay more? Or will privates continue to dictate the knowledge flow?...
The debate date from back to ESA's foundation...
djellison
The NASA argument doesn't stand up. They have four times as much money and do four times as many projects.

Consider Mars Odyssey. Daily image releases. Aqua and Terra....gigabytes of raw data every single day. I could go on citing examples, but it is not needed.

I don't know anyone who thinks that ESA does a good enough job of explaining itself to the public and publicising it's achievments and ongoing activities. It started with Giotto and it's been crap ever since. To not have a single image from VEX in more than three months is not even funny - it's pathetic. Utterly utterly pathetic.

Doug
DonPMitchell
I've also noticed that the ESA spends money and time on things like computer-graphics animations (link). It has to be a lot cheaper to stick data into some folders and put it online.

I am not against intellectual property rights, not jumping on the everything-should-be-free bandwagon. But when stuff is publically funded, then it is public domain.
ustrax
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 5 2006, 05:16 PM) *
Utterly utterly pathetic.

Doug


I truly hope you don't regret those words in an upcoming future...
Talking is easy when you deal with a space program that has 50 years behind...
ESA is a baby and it's parents work is to protect her untill she can walk on it's own.
In Europe there is a legal figure known as referendum...
Free criticism is nice a construtive one is even better...

Don...The "thing" is publically funded in a comic percentage...And we, the majority of less informed Europeans deal with very well...Maybe confrontation is needed...
Who knows? Maybe if Russia becames an ESA's full member things might change a BIT?...
remcook
come to think of it...I think European universities don't nearly make as many press releases as american ones, even if they have similarly spectacular results. It does seem like a culture thing, which the Europeans probably should change.
ustrax
QUOTE (remcook @ Oct 5 2006, 08:33 PM) *
which the Europeans probably should change.


Maybe a wrong policy maybe a survival's one...Who knows?...
Maybe it depends on Europeans citizens to change that...Who knows?...
tedstryk
QUOTE (ustrax @ Oct 5 2006, 07:43 PM) *
Maybe a wrong policy maybe a survival's one...Who knows?...
Maybe it depends on Europeans citizens to change that...Who knows?...



What VEX is missing is the releases, such as on NASA's photojournal, that are simply so the public can follow the mission. Usually, they are processed or jpeged images, so they can't be used scientifically and allow others to upstage the instrument team, but they still allow people to "know what is going on" with the mission. This is not a hard concept that takes years to grasp.
ustrax
QUOTE (tedstryk @ Oct 5 2006, 09:14 PM) *
This is not a hard concept that takes years to grasp.


Maybe like...30 years?...
Europe will take less than that... smile.gif

EDITED: In some years an organization like ESA managed a site like this...This leaves me, as usually, optimistic with the future...
DonPMitchell
There is an official ESA equivalent to PDS, the Planetary Science Archive. You can judge for yourselves. Personally, I am reminded of the Monty Python "Cheese Shop" stetch.
JRehling
[...]
lyford
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Oct 5 2006, 03:28 PM) *
Personally, I am reminded of the Monty Python "Cheese Shop" sketch.

Yes, but I never had to give John Cleese "unrestricted access" to my computer...
Click to view attachment

While I was waiting for the java to initialize on my iBook (taking foooooorever), I oggled several picts from this site, which loads instantly:
Marsoweb Hirise

ESA has a little more work to do on the interface side, but at least it seems to be a start.

"Now I shall have to shoot you for deliberately wasting my time." smile.gif
Jyril
Hard to believe, but ESA's website is even worser than Microsoft's.
lyford
I hope I am not breaking any c*pyr*ght with this, but here is a users guide to the PSA, which were buried several clicks deep. There is another way - apparently an ftp style interface that requires an call response email style access link:
Click to view attachment
I never did get the maps interface to load... but I was able to use the "classic" interface, which was still very slow. Could it be a US>Europe connection thing?

And I hate to pile on, but this screen grab does seem to indicate a "rush job":
Click to view attachment
hendric
Hey, maybe one of you Europeans can volunteer to maintain ESA's website for them. I'm only half-joking you know...Maybe if enough of you guys suggest to take over their website they'll take the hint.
helvick
QUOTE (lyford @ Oct 6 2006, 12:26 AM) *
I never did get the maps interface to load... but I was able to use the "classic" interface, which was still very slow. Could it be a US>Europe connection thing?

Nope it tanks on my systems too and I'm in Ireland with a primary network connection (NTL Ireland) hits the wider net in Holland.

I think it might be a compatibility issue - the Java applet that is loaded by the map interface brings my system to it's knees (100% cpu) for about 5 minutes after which that browser session crashes.
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (Jyril @ Oct 5 2006, 04:14 PM) *
Hard to believe, but ESA's website is even worser than Microsoft's.


Hehe. Most commercial sites like Microsoft are pretty well done actually. But I don't expect slick interfaces from part-time web hackers. I'm willing to put up with hideous user interfaces (ever try to download a raw HST image?) or the endless broken links of NASA/JPL as they churn machine names and websites with no coherent naming scheme. At least the data is still there somewhere.
helvick
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Oct 6 2006, 06:25 PM) *
Most commercial sites like Microsoft are pretty well done actually

You are joking right?

To be fair Microsoft's web site is one of the best of its type but for a company that spends as much as it does on user interfaces and usability it is atrocious. One example is their determination to break one of the fundamental principles of the web - deep linking - so that third parties cannot index their content. They were specifically annoyed that it was far easier and more accurate to search things like MSDN using Google rather than their own search function so they broke it rather than let the better search continue.

Most "commercial" web sites for non web businesses are abysmal IMO.
Jyril
This is going a bit OT... The problem with Mircosoft's website is that it is sometimes very hard and really frustrating to find the information needed. One would expect a far more intuitive design for a giant software company like Microsoft. ESA website has similar problem.
DonPMitchell
There is just too much information on a vast site like microsoft.com.

A classic example of a space information system that was recently mangled is the NASA technical reports server: NTRS. There used to be a search engine on that page, and I've ordered countless tech reports from it. Now I cannot even find a way to search their inventory. Every time I follow a link, I end up back at the useless home page. Oh, let's look at "products", OK there are technical reports, "free access", back to the main page! How about going to the STI information program, "locate information", tech reports, I'm back at the new home page again!

It's like they are taunting me by talking about all the cool things they have, but I cannot actually access any of it. I guess I will have to download the new pdf document they have which explains how to use their site -- now that is a demonstration of design failure.
Jyril
Well, Wikipedia has a huge amount of information, but finding the needed fact couldn't be much easier.
DonPMitchell
Oh don't get me started about how many wrong space factoids I've found on Wikipedia. A couple times when I took the time to make a change, they were reverted by some spotty teenager who happened to feel territorial about the article.

This has been called the age of the amateur - everyone can write an encyclopedia article, everyone can write software, etc. As romantic as that notion is, I have not found it to be terribly true. There is no substitute for training and study and experience.

The subject of on-line publication has been discussed here a few times. I'm all for it if it can be made to work. Certainly in the area of scientific publication, the companies who actually smear ink on paper have made it hard to access scientific knowledge online (without paying insane charges or belonging to expensive societies). But there still needs to be expert review.

I visit a site called digg.com every day. There again, interesting stuff, but the system of online voting quickly silences many expert-but-dissenting voices. I actually find it rather chilling that "democracy" can so quickly be used to bias and slant information. So again, I am not a fan of open amateur control of information.

Oh...I guess you did get me started...
helvick
Don,

I don't think we're that far apart overall. Personally I'd be unable to function if Microsoft.com went offline and I really like them on average, but I am annoyed by microsoft.com and the way they approach the web. Their cavalier attitude to some stuff (like deep linking) makes me cringe and I spend a lot of my time correcting mistakes in their material - seriously I have a regular monthly meeting with them where errata on MSDN and within the various PDK\SDK's gets discussed and there is no shortage of material in my field (Windows CE\Windows Mobile). It's _very_ annoying to have a mistake corrected but to still be able to find the wrong answer by searching on Google. I dunno who to blame more for that but it is annoying.

On the other item Wikipedia is very good on average and fantastically easy to navigate which should be a leason to all commercial sites (KILL FLASH). However the caution should be stated that it is only a good gamble provided the topic is not controversial and it's never a substitute for a proper academic reference. That said it invariably beats the pants off most news media. (viz Fox news claimining Foley was D-Fl earlier in the week). So IMO it has a place in the new information age but it's authoritativeness needs to be taken with a grain of salt. OK Make that a large truck load of salt,
David
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Oct 6 2006, 09:12 PM) *
Oh don't get me started about how many wrong space factoids I've found on Wikipedia. A couple times when I took the time to make a change, they were reverted by some spotty teenager who happened to feel territorial about the article.


If you work together with at least one, but better two or three other users, you'll find that you'll be able to lock out the territorial teenagers pretty quickly. I believe there are quite a few wikipedia editors on UMSF; at least, I recognize some of the same nicks from both here and wikipedia.
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (David @ Oct 6 2006, 05:59 PM) *
If you work together with at least one, but better two or three other users, you'll find that you'll be able to lock out the territorial teenagers pretty quickly. I believe there are quite a few wikipedia editors on UMSF; at least, I recognize some of the same nicks from both here and wikipedia.


I don't disagree with you there David. To be honest, it is the non-science portions of wikipedia that creep me out. When a topic is politically charged, or there is a huge group of people who belong to a mass movement, then truth by consensus fails.

Now I think we need to launch a Thread-Express mission to find the topic...
Jyril
QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Oct 7 2006, 12:12 AM) *
Oh...I guess you did get me started...


I was pondering if I should add "(factual accuracy aside)". laugh.gif
DonPMitchell
QUOTE (Jyril @ Oct 7 2006, 04:17 AM) *
I was pondering if I should add "(factual accuracy aside)". laugh.gif


Too bad there isn't a passive-aggressive smiley, eh?
lyford
Make one!
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