Schmidt Speaks At NASA CelebrationBy: Doug Caverly - January 18, 2008
Eric Schmidt might have seemed a little out of place speaking at a luncheon commemorating NASA’s 50th anniversary; an astronaut or someone who had at least worked for the agency might have been a more commonsense pick. Schmidt had some interesting things to say, though, and effectively stirred up several discussions.
One of them relates to the concept of openness. According to Anne Broache, Schmidt advocated that NASA "[b]uild open, collaborative systems, not closed ones – a reference to NASA’s legacy of creating mission-specific vehicles," and "[c]reate simple platforms upon which others can build." All right. We wish NASA would do these things, as well.
The trouble is that, as far as Schmidt and Google go, some people see this as a pot-kettle situation. Compared to other companies, Google’s great at putting out press releases and blog posts, but certain information is strictly off limits.
Another suggestion of Schmidt’s related to taking the Internet to spacecraft. Schmidt isn’t the first person, even within Google, to bring this up; Vint Cerf has discussed it before. But Jordan McCollum had some fun with the idea, writing, "I mean, seriously, astronauts probably don’t have enough time to look at porn and stupid YouTube videos while they’re in months of intense training; we’ve got to do something about those inhumane conditions."
The last subject we’ll touch on relates to a less controversial issue, and is instead more a matter of recognition. In March of last year, Frank Taylor created a Google Earth video to match a fighter plane’s tour of the Swiss Alps. Schmidt showed the video, gave credit to Taylor, and, well, that’s it. Like many things relating to NASA, we just find it pretty darn cool.