Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
NASA Television

Critics Call For NASA TV To "Liven Up" 305

Posted by Soulskill
from the have-the-ISS-astronauts-vote-each-other-off-the-station dept.
An article in the LA Times calls NASA out for failing to make broadcasts on their dedicated television network as entertaining as they can be. The author, David Ferrell, complains that fascinating subject matter is often fraught with boring commentary and frequent, extended silences, making most people quickly lose interest. Quoting: "Witness one recent segment about the recovery of a Soyuz capsule upon its return to Earth. The dark, bullet-like object landed in the featureless steppes of Kazakhstan, about 50 miles outside the unheard-of town of Arkalyk. Coverage consisted of video shot from an all-terrain vehicle approaching it — mostly soundless footage of tall grass going by — with an occasional word by an unnamed commentator. 'You can see the antenna that deployed shortly after landing,' the commentator said in that deadpan tone shared by scientists and golf announcers. The camera chronicled the tedious extraction of three crew members weakened by spending six months in orbit; they were loaded one by one onto stretchers. 'Again, a rather methodical process,' the commentator noted, as if grasping for something — anything — to say. Later: 'The official landing time has been revised to 1:15 and 34 seconds a.m., Central Time. The official time was recorded at the Russian Mission Control Center . . . by the Russian flight-control team.' ... Where is Carl Sagan when you need him?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Critics Call For NASA TV To "Liven Up"

Comments Filter:
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @10:54AM (#30563440) Homepage

    ... just watch a weather report on American TV. "ZOMG IT'S THE BIG ONE EVERYBODY RUN FOR COVER WINDS WILL REACH 50MPH IN PLACES!" and so on. We don't need it, thanks.

    Watch one of David Attenborough's natural history programmes. Get your ideas from that.

    • by wall0159 (881759)

      You're totally right. I watched a US-made doco about the solar system a while back and was shocked at the over-dramatisation that was used. While the content was (in general) good it had lines like "it's a massive ball of fire, shooting high speed particles at the Earth", etc. In most episodes was a reference to how the subject-matter could destroy life on Earth. The other amazing thing was the rate of video cuts - there was about 1 scene cut per second. It was really distracting, and gave the show an almos

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by node 3 (115640)

        The thing that's really awful about such sensationalism in science (especially *space* science) is that the thing they are showing you is *FREAKING OUTER SPACE*. It's already more amazing than pretty much anything a person can say about it. Give us facts, your hyperbole will just pale in comparison. I don't mean it has to be boring, Sagan did a great job of conveying the wonder of science without resorting to idiocracy-level commentary.

        The same goes for NASA TV. I don't need some entertainer-posing-as-comme

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by joggle (594025)

          Have you watched NASA TV when they aren't launching?

          I've watched it at various times, including when the Sojourner rover landed at some early hour of the night, when Cassini entered orbit around Saturn, portions of several space walks, and even idle times during shuttle missions. Some things have been very fun and exciting, such as the Sojourner landing, but by and large it's dreadfully boring even for an avid NASA/aerospace fan, especially during large portions of space walks (which is just inherent to the

    • by damburger (981828) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @02:18PM (#30564668)

      Yes, do watch David Attenborogh. At an age when a lot of peoples main hobby is drooling on themselves, he is as engaging as ever. When he commentates on something, you really feel like you are being shown something wonderful. Like being a child and your favourite uncle shows you all the different types of bugs down the bottom of your garden, but the experience doesn't get tired (largely because Attenborough has a camera crew and a budget, and can show you so much more).

      He may not cover every frame with speech, he does interject often, and when he does its with excellent deliver and content.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2009 @10:54AM (#30563442)

    Dead.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @10:59AM (#30563464)

    They should introduce a controversial character into the mix. Maybe have a mouthy Russian hang out with the straitlaced American scientists. Or a breakout character like Puck to pull everyone's strings to the breaking point.

    Or they could introduce some kind of challenge that the characters have to overcome. See which astronaut can escape fastest from a burning capsule. Or who can eat the most astronaut food without getting sick.

    Science TV is the ultimate reality TV.

    Or we can read this article as an indictment of the lack of attention span of the average American TV viewer.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Explosions! (easy one, just loosen safety standard)

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      All they really need to make it exciting is have a camera crew running up to it with a commentator talking about the history of the mission on the way. Nice and easy.

      The Bear Grills formula works people, you could even make the commentator act like a dumbshit (hey lets see what happens if I jump off this boulder!) on the way if you want to stick to the formula rigorously.

  • This ain't MTV! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bziman (223162) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @10:59AM (#30563466) Homepage Journal
    I don't WANT NASA TV to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The Discovery Channel used to be educational... now it's "how can we use science to blow shit up?" MTV used to be music videos... now it's the Shiny Things Network(c). I tune to NASA TV when I actually want to see what's ACTUALLY going on, narrated by someone who actually has some idea of what they're talking about, without going through an "audience is retarded" filter. If you don't find it interesting, fine, wait a few days, and read the brain-dead version in one of the mass media outlets. CNN will be happy to distill six hours of interesting live coverage down to a 30 second clip that you can digest will drinking your Starbucks. NASA TV is what it is for a good reason. The cameras are always on, and when something interesting, but unexpected happens, you get to watch it unfold. Keep your Hollywood ideas off my Nerdovision.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      There's a difference between turning NASA broadcasts into Spike TV with Space Capsules and actually trying to be a little less boring than going through airport security.

      • Re:This ain't MTV! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.vadiv@neverb o x . com> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @12:03PM (#30563858) Homepage

        Yes.

        Seriously, long boring drives to recovery sites, and dead silence?

        Don't they have some, I dunno, science they could be telling us? Like a clip of the launch, or an explanation of the mission, or simulations of the orbit, or something?

        People simply aren't interested in seeing every step of a recovery process with nothing else. That is because it is incredibly boring, and, no, that has nothing to do with modern society's short attention span or anything. That much time watching nothing happen, interspersed with short, boring comments, is boring to anyone!

        At the very least, do what CNN does when they're waiting for stuff to happen on camera, like someone to come out of a courthouse...have a bunch of random 'experts' sitting around a table in the studio, and cut to them for a few minutes at a time, and back when things actually happen.

        Although really NASA should be able to time things better than that. Their uncertainly is usually only a few seconds, except sometimes during launches.

        • by Kagura (843695)
          I really hate the long silences on NASA TV, and it is a big reason I don't watch it in my freetime online. The long silences makes it feel like nobody cares at NASA cares about what is being shown. Sometimes I like watching spacewalks with commentary/astronaut mic audio.
        • Re:This ain't MTV! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Dripdry (1062282) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @01:09PM (#30564264) Journal

          I've been watching NASA TV on and off since about 2000. I find the long silences to be Zen-like and relaxing. I can put it on as background in the evening, or while getting work done. Although the mission control screens and drives to recovery sites may be a bit tedious, there is something uniquely majestic about some of the long silences, especially the shots of space. It's the same way I like much of my music. Just because many people are used to action every 5 seconds in the media they consume doesn't mean that long bouts of calm punctuated with occasional fanfare is bad.

          Further to that point, it's more like real life. Media just edits out the boring parts of daily existence and puts up the interesting ones to entertain us. What's wrong with consuming something more realistic for a change? That used to be why I put the weather channel on when I wanted to relax. Now it's so wham-bam-OMG-STAY-INDOORS! that I can scarcely stand it for five minutes.

          In short, I advocate for a more relaxed media experience, but your mileage may vary.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by node 3 (115640)

          People simply aren't interested in seeing every step of a recovery process with nothing else.

          Then I guess I'm not a person? I'm not going to tune in to every second of every mission or anything, but it's interesting to watch what's going on. What's *really* going on, and not just the TL;DW version.

          There already exists outlets for "less boring" NASA TV.

          At the very least, do what CNN does when they're waiting for stuff to happen on camera, like someone to come out of a courthouse...have a bunch of random 'experts' sitting around a table in the studio, and cut to them for a few minutes at a time, and back when things actually happen.

          OH HELL NO! There's nothing I can stand *LESS* on TV than when commentators talk all over something that's going on. The opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics is a prime example. I want to watch the event as an audience member would, as the direct

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by darthwader (130012)

          You don't need to be spoon-fed your entertainment. If the people on NASA TV are spending 10 minutes driving out to the recovery site, then you can spend 9 minutes washing some dishes, or reading a few pages of your book, or whittling a solid-rocket booster for the shuttle model you are carving. Then look up at the screen every few minutes to see if you've missed anything.

          When they do finally start talking again, you can start paying attention again, because now you know something has happened.

          If they go t

      • In a world that has whole 5 security levels with highest being "severe" and lowest being "low", with only top 3 ever being in use - there is obviously no room for more than 3 levels of distinction.

        Whether it is from "smart and boring" TV to "fun TV" or from "our friends" to "our enemies".

        And I am not saying that it is somehow the fault of the US government or even culture. Not at all.
        People like things that are clear and simple. And 3 possible options are a nice, low, easily remembered number.
        There is a rea

      • For example, you could have one of the scientists with a sense of humor narrate it. Oh yes, they do exist... ...though their humor can usually be boiled down to complex analysis jokes, so maybe this doesn't solve the problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Yes. There is absolutely nothing in-between boring as watching paint dry, and Spite TV. I'm glad you're able to so succinctly summarize our black-and-white world for us.

    • The Discovery Channel used to be educational... now it's "how can we use science to blow shit up?"

      Indeed. Its sister channel, TLC, has gone from The Learning Channel to The Ladies Channel.
      • I've always wondered what the fuck happened to TLC. I always see the listings when I check what's on the history channel and cannot imagine anyone watching the shit that's on TLC.

        Discovery is almost as bad as they try to replicate the big hitters such as Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters, and Deadliest Catch. Does anyone else turn off the TV when they hear that (hopefully) temporary replacement for Kari on Mythbusters?

        And you know, they HAD some potentially good shows about parasites but they completely fucked it u

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dangitman (862676)

          Does anyone else turn off the TV when they hear that (hopefully) temporary replacement for Kari on Mythbusters?

          She's not going to be temporary. Even if Kari does come back from maternity leave, that annoyingly shrill little blonde is going to remain as a sidekick. I have complete confidence in this prediction.

    • leave nasa alone (Score:4, Insightful)

      by p51d007 (656414) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:17AM (#30563566)
      PLEASE don't turn NASA TV into cnn/abc/cbs/fox/pbs etc... I watch the nasa tv channel when something is going on for the opposite reason. THEY SHUT THE F*CK UP! Their comments are only when the ground to space loop is QUIET. They don't talk over the controllers or astronauts. The other "talking heads" think they have to blab 24/7. If I wanted that crap, I'd watch the regular channels.
      • by pclminion (145572)
        I get what you're saying, but take the example from the article summary as case in point: "... the featureless steppes of Kazakhstan, about 50 miles outside the unheard-of town of Arkalyk." Maybe during those silent minutes of terrain rolling by, the commentator could speak a few sentences about the area of Kazakhstan where the landing occurred, maybe throw out some interesting trivia, give a short history of Arkalyk? And yes, shut the hell up when something interesting starts happening.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SBFCOblivion (1041418)
        Out of curiosity (honestly), what is wrong with pbs? The NOVA stuff is too similar to the other channels for you? Too dumbed down?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by soupforare (542403)

          PBS is slowly becoming as bad as Discovery/History.
          Nova/The News Hour/Frontline is only a few hours a week. The whole of the rest of the scheduling can be pretty grating sometimes. My local station, WGBH, is considered one of the best ones and it's been showing just horrid, infomercial-style lectures on both WGBH-2 and WGBX-44. WGBX-44.4 seems like the Alan Alda channel.
          Maybe I'm just hitting it at the wrong times but I can only take so much Antiques Roadshow, concert repeats and whatever else. As far a

    • by GaryOlson (737642)
      Agreed.

      If some LA movie town reporter thinks a NASA edutainment channel should exist, he can reach out to his LA contacts for financing and operations and create such a channel. And, don't forget to pay royalties to NASA for the footage -- just like the actors who receive residuals.
    • The Discovery Channel used to be educational... now it's "how can we use science to blow shit up?"

      They have Dirty Jobs too not just Mythbusters.

      • by Trahloc (842734)
        I get the feeling he probably doesn't think there is anything to learn from window cleaners, sewer workers, or other blue collar jobs. Too far down the totem pole, not enough blinky lights.
        • by bziman (223162)
          Actually, Dirty Jobs and Mythbusters are two of my favorite shows. I *like* watching people blow stuff up, I just don't want anyone confusing it with "educational" - Discovery is a for-profit entertainment network. It drives me batty when the Mythbusters spend weeks working on a build that obviously won't work, because they don't have a physicist on staff. Dirty Jobs actually IS educational, probably the best "reality" show on television... but there's a lot of stuff on Discovery that is just really gimm
    • Next, he'd be asking that the NASA scientists all be replaced by nubile eighteen year old actresses who do a slow strip while discussing solid-rocket "bustier."

      Keep your low-grade opinion to yourself, Hollywood, and buy at least a high-school education and get some math, physics, astronomy and computer skills, so you don't [expletive deleted] insult us with plot devices that are obvious balsa wood and paint pretending to be "Spaceships from 'Planet Voltron' or some such ignorant twadle".

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by nomadic (141991)
        Next, he'd be asking that the NASA scientists all be replaced by nubile eighteen year old actresses who do a slow strip while discussing solid-rocket "bustier."

        Yes that would be...terrible.
    • In fact... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...isn't NASA TV public domain like other NASA IP? If so, if some dude is unhappy about the broadcasts not being shiny enough, he can just make his own. Hell, if his opinion isn't utter bullshit, he can even profit from it! What is he waiting for?????

    • "The Discovery Channel used to be educational... now it's "how can we use science to blow shit up?"

      You know how bad it is now? It's so damn unwatchable and stupid that I change the channel to ESPN instead. Yes, I've decided watching football is more realistic and informative than watching the scripted drama on Discovery Channel. National Geographics and the History channel are both following the same trend from what I can tell. God, I hate that stupid dog whisperer show!

      At least Discovery Channel has pu

  • No, thanks.

    I already fell like I'm living inside "Idocracy" when I happen to see any given network news show.

  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:01AM (#30563476)

    I like NASA TV the way it is. If you have ADD and need constant sound effects and graphics or everything dumbed down and edited into some fake reality, filled with game shows and so on, then channels like Discovery are for you. I like NASA because of its raw unedited nature and it is more of a direct access thing to NASA data rather than another discovery network. Do I want NASA TV to be another heavily commercialised pop culture discovery channel for people who have short attention spans and few brain cells? No.

    • by pz (113803) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @12:16PM (#30563938) Journal

      I like NASA TV the way it is. If you have ADD and need constant sound effects and graphics or everything dumbed down and edited into some fake reality, filled with game shows and so on, then channels like Discovery are for you. I like NASA because of its raw unedited nature and it is more of a direct access thing to NASA data rather than another discovery network. Do I want NASA TV to be another heavily commercialised pop culture discovery channel for people who have short attention spans and few brain cells? No.

      Moreover, anything that is funded with the public's taxes should be raw, unvarnished truth. No salesmanship. No splashy effects. Just high-quality information, and, potentially, art.

      As an educated, voting taxpayer, I *love* that C-SPAN has the uncensored coverage of our congress (at least it used to last time I watched); I *adore* that PBS produces commercial-free high-quality educational and entertainment shows like NOVA (what we were promised TLC would expertly take over and provide), Nature, Sesame Street, and Frontline. It is *imperative* that NASA TV be boring, because most of a mission is like that.

      • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:35PM (#30566176)

        I second that. I like the raw unfiltered nature of those things and the educational nature of PBS. PBS programs do use sound and graphics in their programs to make a presentation but they do so in a way not to make it pop culturish and still convey powerful information. One of the favourite things i like about C-SPAN is the call in segements, which unlike CNN and so on which are heavily scripted and fox etc which are blatantly biased, one gets to hear different sides of the issue from real, common people rather than media spin masters. CSPAN does a wonderful job of presenting unedited data and as well allowing for public commentary, nearly missing in the mainstream coverage, which tries to put everything into a manipulated edited package as if to slant peoples perspective on things.

    • First of all, there's too much of this polarizing on slashdot that I see happen all the time. Yes, it's true that there are a lot of really crappy reality shows and game shows and reality game shows that I have 0 interest in and don't go anywhere near, but there are also some trashy TV shows that are just fun to watch, for whatever reason. I don't have to have "ADD" or "few brain cells" to watch shows on the Discovery channel - what I do in my free time to relax is my business and you don't have any reason

  • Obviously, we need Hollywood to get on board to help liven things up. When they have a movie that doesn't have much of a plot, they turn it into a summer blockbuster by adding two things: Gratuitous explosions and girls in bikinis. Hell, watch the bad "giant crocodile attack" B movies on the SciFi channel sometime. Even those get the occasional explosion, to the extent their budget allows, and always at least a couple of very attractive young ladies wearing as little as they can get away with on a giant
  • Oh hell no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mononoke (88668) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:05AM (#30563510) Homepage Journal
    This critic is the type of person who has destroyed entertainment in general. Sports have become nearly unwatchable with the announcers straining to fill every millisecond with the sound of their voices. Movies are becoming overloaded with audio cues and monologues. Even the news has become a cacophony of zings and bleeps and sweeping noises.

    In music, the rests are as important as the notes. This is true elsewhere as well. I hope the people at NASA understand this and keep things the way they are.

    • Re:Oh hell no. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Quantumstate (1295210) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @12:00PM (#30563820)

      When I was visited America I remember trying to watch an american football match replay/highlights. If I ignore the fact that it was 50% adverts cutting in every 3 minutes it was still utterly dreadful. It showed very short clips of bits of play so you had little idea of what was actually going on with some crazy overexcited presenter yelling for the entire thing. Baseball generally seemed much better, ignoring the advert breaks. In the UK, with a football (soccer) match, even if it is on a channel with advertising you only get adverts at half time and before and after the match so there are two 45 minute blocks of uninterrupted football with decent commentators in general.

      • by kalidasa (577403)
        The baseball advertisements are almost all during natural breaks in the game between half-innings (the main exceptions being pitcher substitutions).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mikkeles (698461)

      It started with the Greek chorus, made a giant leap forward with the pianist at a silent film, reached its nadir with sitcom laugh tracks, and then managed, unbelievably, to descend even lower with sports announcers and television commentators!

  • precisely so I won't have to listen to breathless drivel about astronaut hair styles, or some damn thing. Just the facts, ma'am. (Why, yes, I am a scientist. Why do you ask?)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Exactly. Actually NASA TV has been dumbed down too much already compared to how it was in the late 1980s. The commentators speak over space-to-ground comms while repeating the same limited statistics
      they've said 5 times already. We're geeks, we want data, so give us some different numbers - delta-V of the latest burn, what's the airlock pressure now, not just the official
      landing time that the reporter was complaining about but the latitude and longitude of the landing site as well. That's the background inf

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by multisync (218450)

        Better yet, stream the raw MOCR console data to us so we can crunch the numbers ourselves :-)

        I can't find the link now, but I'm sure I remember downloading the Rover Sequence Editor and being able to see actual mission data with it. It was running on an old Mandriva box I don't have any more.

        Maybe I'm remembering it incorrectly, but it seems to me they provided access to the same data the scientists at JPL had, as well as the same client they were using. You could use that data and the Hyperdrive visualizer

      • by quixote9 (999874)
        Indeed. Show me trajectories. Show me telescope or satellite shots of the target. Even NASA has too many pictures of people talking.
  • We don't need NASA TV to end up like Mythbusters TV...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LittleRedStar (723170)
      Absolutely agree! Earlier this year I spent hours each day watching the live feed from Hubble repair mission. The occasional info from the 'commentator' was enough. What would be interesting is to have less restrained astronauts. An occasional oh shit! as a wrench flies away would liven things up.
    • by pclminion (145572)
      Curious what you think is wrong with MythBusters. As far as I've ever seen, there's no interpersonal drama, although some of the characters are a bit goofy. Are you objecting to the fact that it's not dry and boring, or something else? Seriously, I want to know. As long as you don't delude yourself into thinking they are conducting scientific experiments, I've always thought it's interesting and quite worth watching.
  • multiple feeds? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cashman73 (855518) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:27AM (#30563630) Journal
    The solution could actually be something like better incorporation of multiple feeds. I mean, they could spruce up the NASA TV cable network to make it a bit more appealing to the "brain dead crowd", while at the same time having the raw footage and all the good stuff (which, to non-Slashdotters, is ridiculously boring) on their website. This could probably work quite well for about a year or two under the right management, but unfortunately will inevitably be screwed up by Comcast, much in the same way that G4 screwed up TechTV.
    • by VoxMagis (1036530)

      Hear, hear - I wish I had mod points.

      Look, I love watching NASA TV when I can, as is. I also am very aware that the lack of commentary and descriptions makes it somewhat dull.

      Why is it that the /. crowd can endlessly debate making science more interesting, then suddenly condemn the idea of trying to make science more interesting?

      Split the channel. Part of the reason that NASA TV exists is to provide raw footage to other networks anyway, so keep one as is, then put some commentary on another one.

      Win.

    • Re:multiple feeds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:38AM (#30563684) Homepage
      Nope. The 'brain dead crowd' has quite enough of their own channels. Give us folks who have yet to flat line at least ONE channel. It's not too much to ask since we, on the average, pay most of the damned taxes anyway.
      • Wait are you brain dead or is your heart flatlining? This is important
      • His proposal is giving you your one channel. It's giving those that want something a little more hopped up their channel, which may lead them to understand why it is that you like your channel. This is trivial to do with a webcast, which is how I usually watch NasaTV, as I have no idea what channel it's on for me (or if it's even available).

        There are commentators that can do a good job of explaining what's happening while also making it a little more entertaining. Think of the way that Neil deGrasse Tyso

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:31AM (#30563648)

    Whenever ESA gets around to streaming something live, it's usually some old guys in suits congratulating themselves of a project that went well. No engineers to tell about the technical problems, no scientists to tell what to expect, and absolutely not a single live image coming straight off the probe or lander.

    If they were to get actual scientific or other interesting data, they'll never show it online. They just say "We got first pictures and they're very nice." ARGH.

    (For the record: I like NASA TV as it is; I'll rather take boring and accurate than shiny and wrong)

  • .... maybe everyone is just to busy looking at the mess they are in to see, or care, where we are going. including the NASA commentators.

    On the bright side, there are less interesting things to be found on youtube but probably get more viewers.
    The bright side being, it doesn't, or shouldn't cost a lot for NASA to stream what they do.

  • by Dunbal (464142)

    Just let Rupert and his team manage it...

    NEXT on FOX NASA - TERRORISTS IN SPACE

          Could Iranian sleeper agents be infiltrating NASA? We'll explore classified documents that show a government cover up of a plot to fly the next space shuttle into DOWNTOWN NEW YORK. Millions of people will be killed, and the government doesn't want you to know. STAY TUNED...

  • The last time I watched NASA TV was when they did the moon impact back in October. And here's the comment I posted when it was over:

    -----
    Well, I watched it on NASA TV, and all I have to say is, "Where was the kaboom???"
    I saw no plume, no nothing, just a close-up of the crater which never changed, even after they said impact had occurred and started congratulating each other. Only NASA could make crashing something into the moon boring!
    Hopefully there will be actual video where I can -see- something posted f

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xmundt (415364)

      Hum...you do realize that a "kaboom" requires and atmosphere?
      and the fact there was no huge plume visible might have been an indication that
      the composition of the ground was not what they expected.

      Real science is not like "CSI". it is not fast paced, and the excitement of a breakthrough
      in knowledge is usually restrained.

      I think the NASA coverage of the missions is quite qood...I do like to see the reality
      of it and not have some breathless announcer trying to jazz it up.
      regards
      dave mundt

  • mission control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarybum (468664) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:50AM (#30563752) Homepage

    i think they should use the mission control channel on somafm as background music throughout the day.

  • Budget, etc. (Score:5, Informative)

    by v1x (528604) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @11:51AM (#30563760) Homepage

    The network's budget -- $1.5 million a year -- is a pittance even compared with certain programs on National Public Radio, he said, and NASA TV's full-time staff of 18 people, based in Washington, D.C., cannot hope to create the sort of polished productions that grace "Nova" and the Discovery Channel.

    That about explains it all for me. Given their budget, does it really surprise anyone that their programming isn't as 'lively' as some of the other networks? In addition, there are people like myself who simply prefer getting the facts, and find more recent programming from networks like Discovery to be somewhat sensational and lightweight in content.

    • Re:Budget, etc. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pclminion (145572) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @01:03PM (#30564228)
      Yes, what the hell happened to Discovery anyway? Actually, I'm just being rhetorical, it's fairly obvious what happened, and it took several sad years. Watching Discovery turn to shit was like watching a relative die of cancer. The only people left worth watching are Jamie, Adam, and Mike Rowe (Mike Rowe, by the way, should be given a fucking medal and a gigantic bronze statue for the comments he makes about safety fascism in modern America). If these guys had the guts they should start their own channel and give Discovery the big fat finger.
  • Boring is safe. Boring is predictable. Boring means things are going to plan. This is exactly what you want from a space programme. Drama, hype, exaggeration and crises all have their place - in fiction but in real-life they are a bad thing(TM).

    It sounds like this guy is having difficulty in distinguishing between the two. Maybe the best thing would be to run a few trials on other TV channels. Such as the televising of politics - that could be livened up by dunking congressmen in slime if they lose a vote

  • Brains and entertaining. Get him to cover big events.

    Don't let "TV Pros" anywhere near NASA tv.

  • How about makeing it HD 24/7 vs very part time?b

  • Tell a story (Score:2, Insightful)

    by minstrelmike (1602771)
    People listen to stories because they entertain in some fashion. NASA and most scientists do not know how to tell a story and even "think" to themselves that a story is fictional or that if it becomes popular, it will lose some cachet.

    Perhaps, but politicians know that they can't get funding for stuff that doesn't tell a good story. Any hack ad writer could have written a 2-page in-depth personal profile on what it feels like to return to Earth and have to be carried off in a stretcher. It would demonstr
  • NASA really needs to sex things up. I mean, where's the dancing girls? Where's the musical interlude by Andy Williams?

  • Maybe NASA can add a rapping dog, or maybe hire Paris Hilton to host the whole channel.
  • What do they want ? American newscaster style where they go on and on back to that same old recording with completely mindless commentary ? Some things take time, and if you can't accept that, go back to living inside your game/movie world. Or grow up.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd...bandrowsky@@@gmail...com> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @12:22PM (#30563982) Homepage Journal

    There is an annoying thing in American media that every second has to have some sort of sound in it. Really, its almost like welfare for sound people that work in media. But honestly, I like that NASA TV goes for long stretches of silence. I don't want talking heads jabbering on about stupid shit. If I want people jabbering and pontificating about stupid shit, I'll just jack into slashdot, and that way I can be one of them.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @01:24PM (#30564370)

      There is an annoying thing in American media that every second has to have some sort of sound in it. Really, its almost like welfare for sound people that work in media. But honestly, I like that NASA TV goes for long stretches of silence. I don't want talking heads jabbering on about stupid shit. If I want people jabbering and pontificating about stupid shit, I'll just jack into slashdot, and that way I can be one of them.

      You are laboring under the delusion that most broadcasting aims to communicate information. It may do that, but that's not the goal. The goal is to distract you from the dullness of that room you're sitting in. The one with the glowing rectangle and the odd smells. It's there to placate you and entertain you, blinding you to the fact that most of us will waste the forty-odd years of our life working jobs that contribute little or nothing to the betterment of others or the world, that for all those years of work we have a couch, a few trinkets, in some suburban house, while the next generation struggles with answering how they can make a difference -- something that recurs generation after generation, only to perish because society has no real use for it. Television in today's society serves the same purpose that alcohol and recreational drugs serve: To make the pain of mere existance a little more bearable.

      The problem isn't that television rots your brain -- the problem is you, like a lot of people on slashdot, have an odd quirk of personality in that novelty is stimulating. For most people, routine is what refreshes and prepares them for the uncertainties, which is the exact opposite of how we interact with the world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tjstork (137384)

        You are laboring under the delusion that most broadcasting aims to communicate information..........

        I think you probably could have summed up the entire thing you wrote as "The media is entertainment, not information."

  • by datadigit (1561281) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @12:52PM (#30564142)
    Why is everyone on here assuming that making the broadcasts 'better' 'spruced up' and 'more interesting' equates to them being dumbed down? This is an incorrect gross generalization.

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that NASA TV turns into the Discovery Channel 'hey I wonder how big of an explosion we can make with all that liquid h2 and o2'.

    Anyone who thinks that the current version of NASA TV is utilizing resources to the best of their ability is sorely out of touch. There is plenty they could do to make these broadcast a lot more appealing to a wider audience whilst also enhancing their scientific and educational content.

    If you just want to listen to the bare minimum commentary video feed only broadcast I'm sure they can still make this available.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kent_eh (543303)

      Why is everyone on here assuming that making the broadcasts 'better' 'spruced up' and 'more interesting' equates to them being dumbed down?

      Because we have seen that particular experiment done many times, and to expect a different result the next time seems crazy?

      When "Robot Wars" first started (back when Jamie H and Grant I were competitors), there were some interesting interviews with the builders. They actually talked about what made their machines work.
      After a couple of seasons they hired some former pro wrestler to add "excitement". And they encouraged the contestants to spend most of their time trash talking the opposition.

      I stopped

  • They are going to order a new season of "Whose Line is it Anyway." All those boring Floor and Committee sessions... who gives a shit?

  • He's off doing mad sweet remixes of Cosmos with Stephen Hawking http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc [youtube.com]
  • by FlyingGuy (989135) <`flyingguy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @01:02PM (#30564216)

    Live feed when astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper lost her tool bag!

    Nicole Stott's very fine ass in full frame for about 10 minutes as she closed out a hatch!

    Ohh ok, I know I am going to hell for that second reference and I know she is smarter then I am, and no I am not denigrating her, but dayum she does have one nice butt!

    So there you have it, titillation AND adventure, so leave our channel alone!

  • Why does NASA have to enrapture every last television viewer? What if some aren't interested in the subject matter? Does every single show have to strive for 100% viewership? If that's the case, isn't it a contest on who can make the loudest noise and most flashy lights at the cost of the actual content of the program? And we're supposed to encourage this? Why am I asking you?

  • by yerktoader (413167) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @01:22PM (#30564364) Homepage
    But I certainly agree it does not need "EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES". Enthusiasm and fun != "Tomorrow's Rehabilitation promises to be even more better!" For proof, watch Alain De Cadenet [wikipedia.org] on Victory By Design [wikipedia.org] which has a great level of information and entertainment. And while the cars are loud the sequences of him driving are only interrupted by him speaking on occasion with enthusiasm for the car, giving that feeling of negative space in which you are left to drink in a relative silence and just enjoy what's happening on screen.

    The Secret Life of Machines [wikipedia.org] is another great example of how a science and history show can be entertaining without having the endless commentary such as is seen with news casters and sports commentators.

    I don't think anyone wants to see NASA TV turn into TLC or G4, but watching an hour of mostly silent footage of satellite maintenance is like having conversation with an Ent. Let's keep in mind that the latest Star Trek was pretty well received, so it is not impossible to add a bunch of explosions and still be relevant and good.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that many people simply don't have the time to watch an hour of mostly silent satellite maintenance. It's like the frustration I feel when I talk about music to people who have never been exposed to music outside of corporate owned radio station, MTv, movies and Target. It's incredibly frustrating, and while you might feel like these people have chosen to ignore what else is out there - and to be sure, many folks want the Clear Channels of the world to decide what they listen to - the fact remains that most of these people have jobs and families, and simply cannot spend their time digging for new things to be interested in. And considering the state NASA is in with budgets and such, it might just be useful and profitable to attract people to space programming like back in the 50's and 60's.

    Is a happy medium too much to ask?
  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @01:36PM (#30564434)
    I don't know what's worse:
    - mission specialists trying to be whimsical (Oooo you brought a Buzz Lightyear action figure up with you to the ISS - that's so funny! That only costs, what, $500 in rocket fuel?)
    - fifth-rate commentator/comedian/tv personality types interviewing NASA personnel and defense/space contractors and trying to make relevant jokes ("Boy, I bet you'd have no trouble putting the star on the Christmas tree with that robotic arm, huh?")
    - computer-animated "music videos" showing the magic of space.
    Etc. etc. etc.
    Stick with the science folks. Remember - If you don't have a sense of humor, don't try to be funny!
  • by fredrik70 (161208) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:12PM (#30565056) Homepage

    ... we need to get someone like Steve Irwing!
    "Crikey! Look at the size of that capsule!"

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

Working...