Congresswoman Responds After Speech Goes Viral

On Monday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) made a series of scientifically dubious statements about the moon at an eclipse-viewing event for teenagers outside of Houston’s Booker T. Washington High School.

The 74-year-old politician told the students that the moon was made up of “gases” and expressed her desire to be among the first people to live there. She also claimed that the moon gave off “unique light and energy” and gave a strange description of the reason behind the solar eclipse.

In her speech, Jackson Lee stated, “You’ve heard the word ‘full moon.’ Sometimes you need to take the opportunity just to come out and see a full moon is that complete rounded circle, which is made up mostly of gases.” She then posed the question of whether humans could live on the moon due to these gases. This statement drew confusion from both the students and the scientific community, as the moon is actually composed of rock and not gases.

The congresswoman went on to discuss the challenges of living on the moon, saying, “The sun is a mighty powerful heat, but it’s almost impossible to go near the sun. The moon is more manageable. And you will see in a couple of years, NASA is going back to the moon.” She also mentioned that the moon was in its closest proximity to the Earth in the last 20 years, which is why the eclipse was occurring. However, she made no mention of the alignment of the sun and moon that actually caused an eclipse.

Jackson Lee’s comments also included her desire to be the first person to learn how to live on the moon. She stated, “I want to be first in line to know how to live and to be able to survive on the moon. That’s another planet which we’re going to see shortly.” This statement raised concerns about the politician’s understanding of basic scientific principles, as the moon is not considered a planet but rather a natural satellite of the Earth.

The Texas legislator’s previous role as the top Democrat on the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee also raised eyebrows. In the past, she has made questionable remarks about space exploration, including asking whether the Mars Pathfinder had successfully captured photos of the American flag she claimed was planted there in 1969 by NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong. This statement is also inaccurate, as Armstrong planted the flag on the moon, not on Mars.

Despite the factual inaccuracies and confusion caused by Jackson Lee’s comments, the eclipse-viewing event was a success. The congresswoman and the students were able to witness the celestial phenomenon and learn about its scientific significance. However, some critics argue that Jackson Lee’s statements may have done more harm than good, as they could perpetuate misconceptions about space and the moon among young students.

The scientific community was quick to respond to Jackson Lee’s statements, with many experts and organizations calling for accuracy and accountability when discussing scientific matters. Some have also expressed concerns about the politician’s misunderstanding of basic scientific principles and the impact it may have on her role in shaping policy related to science and space exploration.

Despite the controversy surrounding her remarks, Jackson Lee has not yet publicly addressed the issue or issued a correction. It remains to be seen how this incident will impact her reputation and career moving forward. However, it serves as a reminder of the importance of accurate and unbiased information, especially when discussing scientific matters with young and impressionable audiences.


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