Friday, October 31, 2014

Sensitivity in Spaceflight

It has been quite a week in space, amirite?

As I type even now, helicopters and vehicles are littered around a section of the Mojave in the aftermath of a terrible account that no one wants to hear happen - Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo suffered a "serious anomaly" resulting in the loss of the ship.

As soon as it occurred, the speculation game was afoot. Now, earlier this week, Orbital Sciences lost their rocket, the Antares, very shortly after launch. The first thing everyone who witnessed it in person told each other was "Don't Speculate. It Isn't Your Job To Speculate Or Spread Unconfirmed Rumors."

Three days later and oh how quickly we have forgotten this. Jumping on the local police scanners and tweeting what we hear, completely unfiltered. Sharing "eyewitness" accounts of the scene, blatantly ignorant of how horrific the scene may be.

Let us please, PLEASE, take a step back, and try to be as respectful as possible in times like these. I think of it like this: if that were a loved one of mine, would I be posting information as unfiltered as I would normally want to? I think sometimes we may forget that when discussing spaceflight mishaps, the majority of the time it is uncrewed, so we are desensitized to a degree.

So, if one of these crew members were your loved one, would you want this sensational, headline-grabbing, reader-drawing, unfiltered information streaming through your timeline like it is now? I know I wouldn't. It makes me sick thinking someone is talking about them with no regard for who their audience may be.

To repeat: please be more respectful with what you post and share on these delicate topics.