NASA can learn from NASA

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are back in the news. The two rovers, which had a 90-day mission, have been exploring Mars for over six years now. Spirit is now stuck in a sand trap. Since it is still mostly functional, NASA is working to make it a stationary research platform.

Besides searching of signs of life, the Rovers’ mission is to analyze the Martian climate. The raw climate data they are providing have been invaluable for NASA scientists.

This pursuit of truth and knowledge, uncolored by narrow political interests, will have far-ranging impacts on the understanding of our own climate. In the distant future, it may even help us to terraform Mars. This is the scientific method at its finest.

NASA also does climate research here on Earth. Unlike the Martian research, the data are being massaged and manipulated. The growing Climategate scandal has not been kind to NASA.

Why are the Earth and Mars data being treated so differently? Maybe because there is no predetermined outcome that must be obtained by the data coming in from Mars?