Some people just can’t take a little bit of constructive criticism. Over the weekend, a PETA supporter took to the stage at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference to interrupt a speech by NASA administrator Charles Bolden. Today, we received a phone call from Gary Barnhard, executive director of the National Space Society, threatening to sue us if we released details of the microphone takeover to the media. Ground control to Major Tom?
Wondering what happened that the National Space Society doesn’t want you to see?
Alarms everywhere are sounding over NASA’s plan to spend squander $1.75 million in tax dollars so that a vivisector can subject as many as 30 squirrel monkeys to cruel radiation experiments and a lifetime of confinement in order to observe the devastating effects of radiation on the animals’ brains and bodies. NASA apparently insists on strong-arming its way forward with these experiments, even though they may also violate NASA grant guidelines and federal regulations.
The results of NASA’s planned experiments cannot be reliably applied to humans because of biological differences between species and the fact that astronauts are exposed to low levels of radiation over extended periods of time, as opposed to the single large dose that the monkeys will be given in a matter of minutes. In a recent column criticizing these experiments, a neurologist who is affiliated with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated, “[T]he experiments are poorly planned and a far cry from the real life conditions humans would be confronted with in space. . . . At best we will come away $2 million poorer with information that we won’t know how to safely apply, and at worst, we will be misled by the results of this experiment in ways that can seriously jeopardize the safety of future astronauts.”
NASA officials seem bent on proceeding with this cruel, wasteful experiment. So let’s show them that our collective determination to stop it is stronger by tweeting, dialing, and e-mailing in defense of monkeys and decency today.
Written by Karin Bennett