NASA’s Johnson Space Center has an employee newsletter named “JSC Today” that is distributed electronically to employees. The newsletter has events at JSC, what is happening in other NASA locations, updates on NASA programs and projects, etc. It also allows for clubs sponsored by and for JSC employees to advertise their clubs, meeting times, etc.
Since its founding in 2001, a club called the “JSC Praise & Worship Club” has been meeting on employees’ own time during lunch to pray and sing Christian praise and worship songs. The club, like many others, ran announcements in the “JSC Today” newsletter.
For example, the announcement from the May 28, 2015 edition of “JSC Today” read:
Join with the praise and worship band “Allied with the Lord” for a refreshing set of spring praise and worship songs on Thursday, June 4, from 11:15 a.m. to noon in Building 57, Room 106. (The theme for this session will be “Jesus is our life!”) Prayer partners will be available for anyone who has need. All JSC civil servants and contractors are welcome.
Following that edition, the club received a call from Rebekah D. Reed, an attorney from the NASA JSC’s legal office, saying the club could no longer use the name of “Jesus” in their announcements. The club could still say they were meeting, but any mention of the name “Jesus” would be censored and removed.
NASA’s concern is that by allowing the name in announcements, NASA would be appearing to endorse a specific religion. That makes no sense as NASA was allowing any club – including religious clubs – to announce their gatherings. The club offered to put a disclaimer on their announcements saying the club was not affiliated with NASA, the Johnson Space Center, or any government entity.
Not good enough. NASA said it would continue to censor “Jesus” in the announcements.
NASA’s position is baffling on many fronts.
The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Good News Club v. Milford Central School that a religious club had the right to meet after school and use school facilities just like every other club saying that no one would think the club was sponsored by the school and to deny the club the same facilities because of their religious beliefs was unConstitutional.
NASA’s position is even stranger when this is considered: (more…)
NASA takes you on the journey engineers go through to make a spacesuit. What challenges must be overcome to build a spacesuit capable of withstanding the heat, cold and the extreme environment of space? Learn about the accomplishments achieved by humans working in space, and discover two new prototype spacesuits, the PXS and the Z-2, as NASA continues to build on a 50 year legacy of spacesuits and prepares the next generation of explorers for the Journey to Mars.
Once again, astronauts on the International Space Station dissolved an effervescent tablet in a floating ball of water, and captured images using a camera capable of recording four times the resolution of normal high-definition cameras. The higher resolution images and higher frame rate videos can reveal more information when used on science investigations, giving researchers a valuable new tool aboard the space station. This footage is one of the first of its kind. The cameras are being evaluated for capturing science data and vehicle operations by engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Recent events in Newtown, Connecticut and other areas have us a little down.
To help lift our spirits and yours, we offer “Overview.”
On the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken of Earth from space, Planetary Collective presents a short film documenting astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the Overview Effect.
The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.
‘Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment.
The beauty of the planet never ceases to amaze us.