Mexican legislators get a ridiculously huge “dieta” … spending allowance … that they can pretty much spend any way the want. On satellite TVs… or on satellites.
Astronomer and Morelia PRD deputy Andrés Eloy Martínez is spending about eight thousand U.S. dollars out of his “dieta” for a a 30 cm. satellite to be launched late next year. From the Latin American Herald Tribune:
Esperanza I, which is being built by Interorbital Systems of Mojave, California, is expected to be launched at the latest in January 2014 from the Pacific nation of Tonga, but efforts are being made to have the launch take place in southeast Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the congressman said.
“It’s an economic satellite, very small, and its useful cargo capacity is limited, but it would undoubtedly be sufficient to include experiments of great creativity from students or others with an interesting project,” Martinez said.
The Mexican Space Agency, which was created in 2010 by Congress, will provide advisory services on the technical aspects of the project during the approximately four months that the satellite will be in orbit, the congressman said.
The guidelines for selecting the experiments to be carried into orbit will be revealed soon, Martinez said.
Science education from a legislator? It might be noted that Eloy Martínez is a member of the Chamber of Deputies committee equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology … you know, where Todd “rape can’t cause pregnancy” Aiken and Paul “Evolution is straight from the pits of Hell” Broun make the decisions that determine the future of science and education for our “first world” neighbor to the north.