Catching up with NASA & Ebola

There are a lot of things going on in the world these days. I need to catch up on a couple of things that are on my list of interests I like to keep an eye on. After editing, it dawned on me the title of this post might be a bit misleading – I apologize for that – but the NASA piece was short, and I liked the image. So, I’ll start with the cool stuff, and finish with the scary shit.orion-boarding-pass

NASA’s Human Exploration Space Program: NASA awarded Boeing and SpaceX the contracts to provide crew transportation – beginning with trips to the International Space Station targeted for 2017. I pretty much anticipated that they would get these contracts, as their designs were probably the furthest along. It helps that these companies are full of ex-NASA engineers, flight controllers, program managers, and even a few astronauts, as well as contractors in various positions,  that left NASA to build something in the way a new generation might. I sure hope we can eliminate our dependence on Russia by 2017. Not sure what else is going to shake out for the future . . . only time will tell at this point. But NASA’s Orion crew module – with Mars and other destinations in mind – is scheduled for its first exploration flight test this December. I’ve got my boarding pass 🙂 (Which is ironic, since I don’t fly!)

Ebola:  With the disease continuing to spread and the number of fatalities rising (close to 4500 so far), new cases have have been reported in Spain, and a few cities here. I’m afraid other places will also experience people contracting this virus. The U.S. has experienced its first case of the virus being spread from one person to another. Nina Pham, a nurse who had contact with Thomas Duncan the patient who died in Dallas earlier this month, has been diagnosed. I hope everyone that has come in contact with these patients is being quarantined and monitored. I can’t help but worry that someone has been missed, unnoticed, or unidentified.

Nurses in various cities have held rallies to voice their concern for the lack of preparedness for this infectious disease, though their employers (the hospitals) are saying they are fully prepared to handle these types of diseases. CNN reported nurses from the Texas hospital involved have anonymously complained to their union stating, “guidelines were constantly changing” and “there were no protocols” – the situation described of the handling of Duncan is exactly as I feared.

I read an article a few days back stating several issues that could increase the odds for a pandemic. I can’t remember all the points cited, and I didn’t get to read it all either, but the two that stuck out were if an infected person traveled to India or China, and the possibility for mutation and increased virility. (I have been trying to find that article so I could finish reading it, but haven’t yet.)

Stanford University Dr. David Sanders, who has studied the virus since 2003, commented on a news interview that Ebola can enter the lungs, via the airway side. With continued spreading of the virus, mutations could occur increasing virility, which could result in it becoming airborne.  He added that suppressing the outbreak in Africa is key to preventing it from continuing to spread globally. Well, we already know they have not been exactly successful in this endeavor.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the CDC and a host of others are trying to figure out how Mr. Duncan’s nurse became infected. They believe it has to do with the removal of protective wear. Last I heard, they have honed in on the possibility that the nurses necks were exposed in some way. Pham is improving, since having a blood transfusion from one of the recent Ebola survivors.

As a side note, I heard the patient in Spain had a dog that was euthanized. Pham’s dog is in quarantine. I wonder if anything might be learned from this.

Some people feel that travel should be suspended from the affected countries where the outbreak began and is concentrated. Though I can certainly agree with that sentiment, I get the impression, in today’s global village mentality, this is not going to happen. After hearing what Dr. Sanders and others have said, I think those in charge need to re-examine how to proceed further for the best interests of the global community.

When I took a training class on Pandemic Preparedness a few years ago (they were mostly targeting influenza) it was noted that a pandemic would cause major impacts on society due to widespread restrictions on travel, as well as other closings and cancellations affecting schools, large gatherings, and businesses. It was stressed a pandemic could have the “potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy.” Hmm . . . (yes, I have to admit, it was not a subtle hmm!)

What do you think about suspending travel? Do you think they are handling this crisis properly, or in a lackadaisical manner? Do you believe a robust Pandemic Plan is in place nationally in your country or globally?

Just some things I was thinking about . . .

11 thoughts on “Catching up with NASA & Ebola

  1. Hmmm Sadie. Good questions. I’m not sure that the general public has access to that info, other than to trust the authorities – who are notoriously untrustworthy. One of the problems with today’s society is that so much food and other items travel long distances to consumers. There are places,, like Canada, where in winter there is no choice but to import food and such. It will be very difficult to stop travel.

    Thoughtful post Sadie. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Sadie, I also heard about the neck being exposed – but then someone on our local news said that he thinks better masks should have been used – kind of like when someone paints or uses chemicals – they need a more advanced berthing mask.
    and still thinking about the other things you brought up….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m keeping the subject on space today, Ebola is scaring the hell out of me.

    Yesterday I heard the news that the USAF has had a new unmanned “spaceshuttle type” vehicle secretly orbiting for many months now , perhaps for over a year. They have finally released pictures.

    It is indeed as I suspected, when NASA stopped the shuttle program, I figured either NASA or the Defense dept already had a delivery system in the test phase. I also am guessing this system has already been to the ISS, not sure how the prying eyes of Russia would figuring into this. Or perhaps the first “docking” is arriving soon, since it was decided to publicize the project now. I believe there may indeed be a little bit of a space race going on between the USAF and SpaceX that we didn’t know about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DSS – I had heard a little about this back in 2011. I can promise you that this vehicle has not been to the ISS – yet . . .
      I’m real curious why it spent 2 years orbiting the Earth . . . definitely a DoD project. Thanks for the link – I hadn’t seen the new article!

      I’m with you about Ebola – though I wrote another post about it today. I do not plan to write about it for awhile – I hope. It is scary as hell, and the more I hear, the more i am amazed at the lack of respect for this disease.


  4. For now I’m going to believe what I hear individual doctors say, that Ebola in American is being handled sufficiently and is not a risk. For now. And actually those same doctors point out that what goes on in hospitals routinely is scary enough. Procedures not followed, errors being made, the growth and spread of resistant diseases… going to a hospital sounds like an excellent way to get sick!

    As for space (being the place), the only real dream I still have is getting up into orbit.

    You don’t fly? Fear of flying or hatred of TSA and airlines? (Put me down for the latter. I love flying, but won’t do it commercially until sanity returns.)


    1. I’m with you – hospitals are full of scary things without Ebola! Had no idea you’d like to go to space – I have “flown” in both the flight simulators that the astronauts trained in for the Shuttle Program. One of the Simulation Supervisors was one of my SME’s when I worked NASA education. It was really cool!! (I wrote about it for the kids, too!) As far as flying on an airplane – I have, but not in decades. I’m kind of a control freak when it comes to moving vehicles & the older I got, the plane thing became something I decided not to do. Once 9/11 happened, that pretty much cinched the fact that I would never fly again. I have heard all the horror stories . . . no thanks!! Having said that – when I was in the air, I was okay – it’s was the anticipation of the flight that became a problem 😉 And now that I am older – planes seem like a great place to pick up some kind of nasty germ, too, LOL!


      1. Yeah, I love anything to do with flying — except airlines and the TSA; them I hate.

        I’m fairly trusting with technology; it’s people I don’t trust. That’s why I enjoyed getting into skydiving (made 50 jumps), but wouldn’t get on a motorcycle for love or money. I don’t trust other drivers!

        My latest, “Ewww!” concerns hotel (let alone motel) rooms. The sheets and bathroom may be clean, but not much else seems to be. I’ll certainly never walk barefoot or lay down on the bed covers in one again, that’s for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Skydiving – sounds like a blast, but doubt I would ever attempt it. Now, I have been on the back of a motorcycle more times than I can count – we own a Harley (though haven’t been riding in lieu of our job/ins. situation). When I was younger I rode dirt bikes – fast ones LOL! My husband tried to teach me to ride his street bike when we were in our 20s (he had a Honda Rebel at the time), but I tend to like to go fast, & didn’t downshift/brake in the right amount of time – so hopped the big cement curb on his motorcycle while he held his breath (not sure if he was praying for me or his bike LOL!). Once I brought it to a stop (didn’t wreck it amazingly!), I decided I may be a bit too much of a “speed demon” to play with street bikes, so I resigned myself to being the passenger. BUT the other drivers do tend to freak me out – they are idiots!

          Hotels/Motels are disgusting!! I heard if you want to make sure your bed is really clean – spill something on it & make them bring you clean sheets/blanket/bedspread. I did that once when we were traveling and our daughter was real little. I also Lysol all surfaces when I first walk in before anyone is allowed to touch anything – yeah, my husband gets a lot of amusement out of my “concerns” (better word than phobias LOL!!!) There have been a few investigative shows reporting on the UNcleanliness of hotels/motels – but I knew about the “dangers” before they ever reported it 😉 Just reinforced what I already knew!

          Liked by 1 person

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