Participatory Exploration at NASA

By Keith Cowing
February 1, 2010
Filed under
Participatory Exploration at NASA

Keith’s note: I asked NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver “While NASA has certainly been at the forefront of using new media – social media etc. – to connect with the public it still has a long way to go to catch up with how people actually learn and communicate in the real world. As you well know Education and Public Outreach at NASA is all too often an afterthought or a “nice to have” activity. Yet it is often the only way that the public really comes to understand what NASA does since press releases are aimed at the media – not real people. There has been a lot of talk about something NASA calls “participatory exploration”. Can you elaborate on the new ways that NASA will engage the public and describe the priority for such efforts from an overall agency perspective.”

Lori replied “The budget has $5 million to do this sort of thing. When we look at robotic prcursor missions – not only will we land – but we will have milions of people travelling along with us – with robots that can be controlled from Earth by students. This will be an oportunity for the taxpaying public who owns this program to participate. We hope to take take a page from DARPA and allow people to utilizing the science we develop. This is the people’s program and we are giving it back to them.”

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.