The Corner

Nasa Tv

I’ve never paid attention to the NASA channel, but since the Mars landing, I’ve surfed there from time to time. On the one hand, the “programming,” if you can call it that, is almost ludicrously unprofessional. For starters, there’s a lot of dead air. I’ve also seen an “interview” featuring totally inaudible questions, with answers from an expert who doesn’t know when he’s on camera. The taped segments are completely lacking in commentary. Nonetheless, the channel is enthralling. There is spectacular footage of the rover’s take-off, shot from the rocket itself. The constantly replayed footage of the exaltation in the control room during the landing is wonderful to look at. And the very detailed animation of the craft’s take-off, landing, and operation (although it could sure use some commentary) is worth significantly more than a thousand words. (It’s very striking to see the similarity between the Martian terrain in this animation and the terrain where the spacecraft has actually landed.) The news conferences can be very interesting as well. I just wonder why this channel’s offerings are so poorly produced. I suppose there’s a reluctance to pour taxpayer money into the venture. But it does seem as though just a little bit of inexpensive effort could make things a whole lot better. They can land a craft on Mars, so why they can’t run a TV channel? In any case, at a time like this, the NASA channel is well worth a look.