The Space Frontier Foundation completely misses the mark in its attack on the Ares I-X

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Take a look at this angry editorial here for an example of what not to write. It's an editorial by the foundation criticizing Time magazine for selecting NASA's Ares Rockets (exact wording) as the invention of the year.

The foundation's response? Here's the gist of it:

The Foundation pointed out that the rocket launched by NASA was not an Ares 1 at all, but a dummy vehicle cobbled together from pieces of other space systems, an elaborate mock-up shaped and painted to look like the actual vehicle, which isn't even scheduled to fly for another 6 years.
Good job pointing out that it wasn't an Ares 1, but Time didn't call it the Ares 1 in the title, they called it NASA's Ares Rockets, with an S. That means any rocket with the name Ares attached to it, including the Ares I-X, the Ares I, and everything else.

But that's not the only area where their flailing editorial ended up being a simple exercise in expressing a grudge rather than a worthwhile opinion. Let's take a look at some of the other inventions that were on the list after the rocket to see who would have won first place if the Ares rockets hadn't.

Let's see, at #2 we have The Tank-Bred Tuna. #3 is the $10 Million Lightbulb. #4 is The Smart Thermostat, #5 is Controller-Free Gaming, #6 is Teleportation, and finally at #7 we have something else related to space with The Telescope for Invisible Stars. So if the Ares rockets were to have been taken out of contention we would be celebrating The Tank-Bred Tuna for 2009, and no inventions to do with space exploration would have even made it into the top five.

The only place where the editorial did get it right was the fact that the article failed to specify that it was talking about the Ares I-X and not the Ares I, but that is only cause for a small correction in the article itself, certainly not a retraction as they are demanding. They are also asking for people to move the slider all the way to the left in order to lower its score and have the invention drop down the list. You know, in order to give The Tank-Bred Tuna or The $20 Knee a chance to shine. Heaven forbid something to do with space should be high up on the list.


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