We've been bombarded by all sorts of cheerleading news about our Angkasawan's progress. For eg. this ridiculous report from Malaysiakini about eating Hari Raya goodies in space.
I'm no Houston Mission Commander, but aren't their diets very, very tightly controlled?
I'm pretty sure that astronauts (and space flight participants) really... REALLY don't need a bout of diarrhea in space. Especially when there's no gravity to make sure everything ends up neatly in the toilet bowl, instead of say.., the ceiling or smeared all over your arse. And the time it takes to get out a space suit will probably feel like an eternity when barbarians are at the door, and you really need to take a crap... and take it right now.
Anyway, here's something more interesting I read from Bernama about the details of our Angkasawan's "research".
Malaysian astronaut Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, who is currently at the International Space Station (ISS), is also assisting the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in their research.OK, sounds good so far.
National Angkasawan Programme Director Col Dr Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh said the research involved the effects of microgravity and solar radiation on the astronaut's body system.And that's the first clue that our spaceman is not conducting research as such, but merely subjecting his own body to 'research'.
It goes downhill from there...
"The ESA research is on the effects of microgravity on the back portion of the body, movement perception, resilience before and after the ISS trip and the stability of visibility and the body," he told Bernama when contacted in Moscow today.Effects of microgravity on the back portion of the body... got any back pain?
Movement perception... how's your hand eye coordination?
Resilience before and after the ISS trip... any changes to your health due to the space flight, Mr participant?
Stability of visibility... any blurry vision? Double vision? Cross-eyed?
Stability of the body... can stand and walk straight?
The JAXA study is on the level of exposure to radiation by the astronaut in space.Put a rad sensor in your pocket and THAT'S IT? I mean, how complicated is that? Isn't the sole requirement for successfully 'conducting this research' simply remembering to wear a shirt that has a pocket?
"JAXA introduced a gadget which is placed in the astronaut's shirt pocket to study the radiation level," he said.
Heck, I'm no expert on the intricate techniques of space bound research.., but it sure sounds to me like our Angkasawan is no more than a convenient test subject on which to conduct some physiological experiments into the effects of space travel on humans.
A crash test dummy, a laboratory rat, a Durex condom tester, a tube of glucose gel to grow a colony of fungus in. He's subject matter rather than subject expert.
And we PAID 95 million ringgit for the privilege of being experimented on like Bubbles the chimp?!
Majulah Program Angkasawan Nasional. Damn, I'm proud. Aren't you?