Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lost in Space, Because of Lies

Our recent blogs have been dealing with lies presented before the public by scientists. We will now examine the pillar of science community in the United States; NASA. The American public has relied on this agency to be fair and unbiased when it comes to scientific facts.  Now let us see if they ever try to lie or influence you by the knowledge they present.
Our first, and current, example of science trying to manipulate you, are the photos that come from the Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope was launched into earth’s orbit in 1990. The telescope itself is rather small, being only slightly wider than 2 meters; this is so it could fit into the Space Shuttle’s cargo bay. The biggest advantage of the telescope is that it is outside the earth’s atmosphere, so it is capable of taking high-resolution images of space.
Let me begin by saying that the Hubble Space Telescope has resulted in some great breakthroughs in astrophysics, so what I am going to describe is how some of this information is presented to the public.
NASA has released some magnificent pictures taken from the telescope. These are incredible pictures of the universe; the most spectacular being the “Pillars of Creation” and of other nebulas. These pictures consist of intense colors of red, green, and yellow. You may see some of these here.
These colors may impress you when you view the pictures, but they are not what you would see if you view them in space; the Hubble Telescope takes pictures in black-and-white. The colors are added based upon the interpretation of scientists of what they might look like. In fact, some of the colors are added, representing hues that cannot be seen by the human eye. With all respect to Ansel Adams, NASA must believe that color photos are more visual attractive than those in black-and-white.

Another example of the truth being manipulated by NASA; is how they inform the public of tragedies.

Go back to 1967; Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee were the crewman of the mission and inside the Apollo 1 capsule testing components of the spacecraft. A fire broke out inside the capsule, and all three astronauts were killed.

After this tragedy, NASA informed the public that these great heroes only suffered 2 seconds in the fire before they died. It was not until much later that it was revealed it may have taken a minute for the astronauts to die; in fact, they found Ed White turned around in his seat trying to open the hatch door.

Another time that a similar lie was told by NASA was during the space shuttle disasters. In 1986, the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launch; NASA’s initial response to the incident was that the astronauts were killed immediately. It was known during this time that several crew members survived the initial explosion of the craft and may have been conscious until they were killed when the crew compartment hit the ocean surface, 2 minutes 45 seconds after the explosion.

Since the space program is funded by taxpayers’ dollars, you would assume that we, the public, should be notified of the truth. However, it is the fact it is taxpayer’s dollars why NASA would deceive us about the cause of death of its astronauts. It is hard to get funding when you state that your astronauts suffered a painful death, so NASA hides the truth until a much later date, when the tragedy is not fresh in people’s minds.

You can understand NASA’a reasoning for deceiving the public. However, the consequences of misrepresenting information, is that ultimately people do not believe anything you tell them after that. It is no wonder there are people today, who believe that the moon landing was a hoax, or that the data about climate change is false.

Next time, we will discuss medical lies and the reasoning for this dishonesty.

I want to take a moment and discuss the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, which was held this past weekend in Amsterdam, NY. I volunteer at the hall of fame, so this was a big weekend for me and this wonderful museum.

Some of the greats of the sport showed up for the weekend. Wrestlers like Rick Martel, Michael Hayes, The Destroyer, (Dick Beyer), Wendy Riichter, Paul the Butcher Vachon and others. It was a pleasure to see some old wrestling friends again, and I look forward to next year.


  1. This is distressing to read. I don't think that there is any reason to deceive. Just because the truth is not palatable, that is not a reason to lie. This slippery slope is one we continue to slide down. We've lost any moral compass. One of the 10 commandments is "You shall not lie."

  2. William, that information about the Hubble Space Telescope is unbelievable and so unnecessary. Do scientists really think people are that shallow that they can't be impressed by something unless it has been doctored up?
    Those accident reports are pretty scary too but I can understand your statement about funds - no funding organization (and govenment) wants to be connected to possible negative publicity.
    The more I research the more I realize that you can't blindly take anyone's word anymore.

  3. It does create a trust and credibility issue when you find you've been lied to by what you think is fair and trustworthy institution. I can understand providing wrong information about accidents initially if that is what they believed until they found out more information, but to deliberately mislead is wrong.

  4. Lying is never a good idea. It eventually gets found out and then credibility goes down the tubes. Scientists supposedly deal in discovery and truth and I hate to hear that reports are sugar coated.

  5. I have alsways been a fan of NASA. That is partly because I'm just interested in space exploration and also because they run some pretty good public information and children's programs. So I am disappointed to hear about some of the things you pointed out.

  6. I visited the hubblesite.org gallery. Some of those "top shots" look like paintings, don't they? My guess is that NASA would point to the page's use of the words "picture" and "images" and would say, "We never said they were photos."

  7. Interesting. I had read somewhere how the photos from the Hubble Telescope have color added to them after the fact, but it doesn't bother me all that much I guess. I would imagine many photos of space have that happen, not just the ones that come from Hubble. So that makes me wonder why the photos are taken in black and white? Could they also be taken in color? For a true opinion to be formed, I would want to see one of the black and white photos next to a color photo and then also next to a doctored photo. Black and white doesn't allow much detail to come through at times. Part of the reason to add hues is to help with contrast and draw attention to details. Plus there's the Hollywood version of space that NASA has to contend with as well. People just aren't going to get excited by plain photos. Even science has to concede to that.

  8. Once you lie it's often hard to gain that trust back without some really hard work. Even then it's still very hard to trust again. I say just tell the truth no matter what and let people deal with it how they choose.