Wednesday, 9 March 2011

It Floats... It must Float...

So, I recently got through reading Professor Colin Pillinger's biographical account of his trial and tribulation in getting the Beagle2 Probe built and out to Mars on the back of the Mars Express mission by the European Space Agency (ESA).  I recommend the read, I really do, it's a great roll through the foothills of the frustrations he encountered and his f**k you all attitude to get the job done... something which has been sorely missed from the overall field of human space exploration since the Apollo Programme was axed in the early 1970's.  And what's more, Professor Pillinger made all his efforts under a big British flag... its not often we can say "we did that", but Professor Pillinger can.

His book is called "My Life On Mars: The Beagle 2 Diaries" ISBN: 978-0-9506597-3-2, if you can't get it from Amazon I'd recommend trying the British Interplanetary Society as a source.

But this blog post is not directly to do with my evening reading habits, its actually about a character who cropped to me as part of the Beagle 2 mission, a chap whom works for ESA (back then) and still seems to be working for them now.  His attitude has somewhat changed since Beagle 2, but thanks to Professor Pillinger I know how full of shit this guy is.

I'm talking about the so called Professor (read that as "dipshit") David Southwood.  He is the ubiquitous flotsam to which the blog post title refers, and from the read of Professor Pillinger's book I think I'm somewhat in a position to say, this guy is a knob, a class A variety Knobber.  The kind of person whom if they worked anywhere near me would be burned in effigy nightly to relieve the stress they cause...

And what has me shocked is this... look at this image...

(c)2011 - BBC - The Sky At Night

That is a still from my BBC iPlayer window which I have had playing away merrily next to me, and I have been watching the momentous 700th episode of "The Sky At Night".  Yet suddenly up pops the topic of exploring Mars, of getting out of this hiatus of stopping manned exploration of the solar system, and low and behold here comes Professor *cough*dipshit*cough* Southwood... and he's only saying he's right behind exploring Mars...

I then flick through the pages of Professor Pillingers book to read "The really bad guys from ESA: David 'call me anytime' Southwood,".

Now, in the programme shown Southwood (I can't be bothered to call him Prof no more, he may as well just accept if I ever see him in person he's going to get heckled) is only going on about exploring Mars "I want to see us explore Mars"... Really?  Really Dave?  Do you?  Then why did you throw every spanner in your bag into the cogs and gears of the Beagle 2 mission?  Why did you stir the shit?

Dave was saying on the show that he is part of the joint ESA/NASA accord to explore Mars, which makes sense as in the book he was going on and on about NASA this and NASA that, too bad it was often found to be putting words in to their mouth for them (NASA that is) when they'd said no such thing.  And then when NASA were ever checked on Dave's commentary for them they (NASA) usually said the opposite.

And I was just amazed that having read the book this guy appeared on the special 700th episode of "The Sky At Night"... I do hope one of the many host/co-hosts there, who are very learned people, had read Professor Pillingers book and gave Southwood what for before he left the studio...

However, I was even more amazed to realize that Southwood still works for ESA... I'm glad to see the UK's 260 odd million quid contribution to ESA for 2011 is being spent on such *cough* quality staff.

And it just backs up the old adage, that even shit can float.

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