Statement From Joe Firmage,
Chairman ISSO
Hello all,
I'd like to take brief moment to comment again on the recent discussions
surrounding Art Bell and Robert Stephens. As many of you know, beginning
this spring ISSO contracted Robert Stephens to design a continuing series
of art images depicting some of the ideas we'll be presenting to the
public later this year, and also to follow up on relationships he
established during his tenure as a contractor for aerospace firms.
We've concluded that recent developments in Robert's campaign of dissent
have crossed over the line of healthy scientific and intellectual
skepticism, and have descended into personal assaults that are
unprofessional and incompatible with ISSO's expectation of the public
demeanor of its contractors. Thus, his contract has been ended.
Echoing a concern that Mr. Stephens and many others have rightly voiced,
ISSO takes issue with a few of Art Bell's guests' extreme and irrational
views on "anomalies" and the institutional response thereto. Particularly
at this time, upon the 30th anniversary of the first human footprint on
another world, we must pause in deep respect for and admiration of the
staggering accomplishments of our institutions of collective achievement.
The men and women of NASA propelled a few lucky representatives of
humanity to the moon, and returned them home safely -- an amazingly brave
first step for a young species passionate about learning and exploration.
Art has indicated that he is working work to raise his program's
journalistic stature to a higher level, and that he will more clearly
articulate the distinction between reporting and entertainment. Given this
direction, ISSO will have no problem regularly communicating important
research initiatives and results directly to Art's audience.
Robert Stephens is an exceptionally talented artist, and I hope to see
more of his work over time. I will be including the images he's worked on
so far in ISSO's materials as planned. And I appreciate his generosity and
diligence in connecting me with folks whose paths he's crossed.
In any event, ISSO personnel cannot remotely afford the time to be
distracted by personal disputes. We're pressing forward on many important
fronts, which we'll be sharing with you later this month.
Very best,
Joe Firmage
Chairman, Int'l Space Sciences Organization