By Jon Cartwright
Fifty years ago today, US President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation that created the National Aeronautics Space Administration, or NASA.
An important anniversary, you might think. Perhaps some champagne, some fireworks, a speech from NASA boss Michael Griffin? Surprisingly not. With regards to birthday celebrations, the agency has stayed as silent as Beagle 2 over the past few days, with press releases noticeable by their absence.
Yesterday I buzzed press officer Edward Goldstein to see whether anyone was up to anything. “I’ve had a couple of European journalists ask me that,” he said. “But really we’re only recognizing when NASA began operations, on October-first.” Goldstein added that there would be a “big gala” on 24 September (I think he said it would be at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, but my biro skipped over the page at that point).
I asked if anyone might even nip to the pub for a pint or two after work. “You know,” the press officer continued, “maybe I ought to suggest that to the guys.”
Those NASA bods really need to learn how to party.