Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall of a Tragic Hero

Dr. Stewart Nozette has been arrested for Spying. Dr. Nozette who was largely responsible for the Clementine Lunar mission which reawaken interest in the Moon. Without whom there would not have been a Lunar Prospector, a New Vision for Space Exploration, or LCROSS or any knowledge of the water on the Moon because no one would have cared or thought we could afford it. This is a tragedy in its most classic sense. A Tragic Hero is one who caused his own downfall with the very things which made him great.

Stu made Clementine possible by stretching and bending the rules. He convinced The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to fund the Deep Space Program Science Experiment (DSPSE) (better known as Clementine) to test military components for $80 million. Stu then spent all of the money in a matter of weeks so that it would not make any sense to cancel the project. Stu made it work and work spectacularly on a shoe string budget. Stu was also not afraid to ruffle feathers. I remember being in the front row of the first Clementine presentation at Johnson Space Center at the Lunar Planetary Science Conference in a room with hundreds of people, where they were showing live feed from the Moon, the first American lunar exploration since Apollo. Stu Nozette gleefully explained how NASA had nothing to do with this project. I could just feel the anger in the room when he said that.

Stu made himself a target of scrutiny by ruffling a lot of feathers and may have bent the rules too far this time. That which made Stu Nozette a hero, to all of us who long to see lunar development, may have been his downfall. It is so incredibly sad, it brings tears to my eyes. How I wish this was all some cruel joke. But this is reality, and we are watching the fall of a great man because of, not in spite of that which made he great. We are watching a real tragedy, the fall of a lunar hero.

I was not at all surprised that Dr. Nozette ended up in trouble, only that it took so long and was so severe. Dr. Nozette had always struck me as amoral and reckless. He may have had Antisocial Personality Disorder. Once I got to know Dr. Nozette I was surprised they had given such a reckless and amoral fellow a security clearance. Maybe they did because he was amoral and would work on things others with a strong sense of right and wrong wouldn't. He may have had an Ollie North role someone who will do your dirty work then when you are done with him throw him to the wolves. In Nozettes case use him to send a message to Israel that our relationship was cooling.

My only questions are, did Dr. Nozette actually transfer sensitive information or had his down fall been in the works for years, was he told he had important information when he did not? How long had they been planning to trap Dr. Nozette? Revenge is a dish best served cold. In this case it may have been very cold. Who must he have angered and how did he do it for them to want to trap him in to an offense which carries a life sentence. How long must they have thought about it to design the perfect trap for Dr. Nozette.

The silence about Dr. Nozette in the Aerospace community has been deafening Those who do speak, condemn him totally forgetting that a person is innocent until proven guilty and that we do not live in Stalinist Russia where people are wiped from history because they fall out of favor.

Dr. Nozette's gall made Clementine possible when no one else could have. Before Clementine it had been over a decade since anything american had been in near the Moon and there were no plans to ever go back. It is a sad testimate to the US Aerospace community that only a man as manipulative and amoral as Dr. Stewart Nozette could get us back to the Moon.

For More information see -Stewart Nozette, Israeli spy?

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