Author Topic: Discussing NASA's Future  (Read 23108 times)

Offline PhalanxTX

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Discussing NASA's Future
« on: 06/05/2008 02:58 PM »
Both internally and publicly, there is a growing discussion on what direction NASA can and/or should take, the involvement of younger generations in this process, and how to capture the public's interest and imagination.

We've seen projects like the Gen Y Perspectives presentation, the JSC 20-Year Vision, the NASAsphere pilot, the OpenNASA blog, NASA CoLab, and various other efforts spring up.  The general philosophy guiding all of these seems to be the idea that NASA can and should become a more inclusive agency - both internally and with the public.

As I work at JSC, most of my perspective (and, thus, the initiatives I listed) is from this center.  Our Center Director, Mike Coats, is driving the ideas of inclusion, innovation, and collaboration as much as anyone else.  I'm very encouraged by the fact that the first open discussion group to explore how to make the JSC 20-Year Vision a reality had representation from a wide variety of technical specialties and generations. 

I recognize that we have a very diverse community here at NASAspaceflight.com representing decades of experience in the space industry.  Our high standards of technical accuracy and mutual respect I think make this forum uniquely suited to elevating the public discussion of these concepts of inclusion, innovation, and collaboration across the generations.  All I ask is that criticism be offered constructively.

It is my personal opinion that we have struggled with answering the question "why?" to the general public.  Why are we going back to the Moon?  Why does it matter when energy prices are escalating?  Promoting spinoffs doesn't seem to be enough.  Esoteric notions of national pride, scientific knowledge, and destiny ring hollow with people who are more concerned about how to afford their daily commute.

Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't pursue knowledge or our destiny in the stars.  You won't find a more ardent believer in those notions than I am.  However, I do think we need to pursue those goals in a way that the public can both understand and rally behind.  We need to pursue space exploration in the context of using space resources to help solve the big problems our nation faces.  As an example, a good friend once said that no one would question NASA's value if we helped solve the energy crisis.

We need that kind of relevancy in people's lives to inspire young Americans to go into the aerospace field and sustain our expertise.  The coming crunch when a huge chunk of the aerospace workforce hits retirement has been lamented for years now.    As a community of people driven towards supporting what is arguably the most significant accomplishment of human history, what does it tell us that we've got a problem with making our case to the very people we need to keep moving forward?

I'm currently awaiting approval from my management to become a contributing author to a new Houston Chronicle-sponsored forum on spaceflight and astronomy where I hope to do my part in helping make that case to the public.  However, I'll be the first to admit that I'm just one person and that I don't have all the answers.  I'm contributing to the cause where I am able, but I recognize that this is something bigger than any individual person.

I have the utmost respect for my fellow travelers in the community here, so I'd really appreciate your thoughts and your input.  We all have a voice that deserves to be heard, and I'd like to help expand our audience a bit. 

What do you think works in the presentations and proposals I linked to?

What doesn't work?  In that case, how can we improve the message?

What are examples you know of where inclusion and collaboration accomplished more than you initially thought possible?

What do you think the spaceflight community should be doing - in terms of both institutional goals and public outreach & input?

I look forward to seeing where this conversation goes.
"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program, and if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"

-- Larry Niven, quoted by Arthur Clarke in interview at Space.com, 2001

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Offline vt_hokie

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #1 on: 06/05/2008 06:25 PM »
It is my personal opinion that we have struggled with answering the question "why?" to the general public.  Why are we going back to the Moon? 

After seeing the great ideas out there in industry and academia, and some of the brilliant minds capable of producing new and exciting technologies, the idea that we're going back to old capsule designs and limiting ourselves to shuttle-derived launch vehicle technology is a bitter pill to swallow.  I guess growing up with the overly optimistic promises of next generation RLV's and more routine access to space, this Apollo 2.0 is kind of hard for me to get very excited about.  While I understand that a NASP or VentureStar was never a realistic goal in the near term, I think we should be putting more of our scarce resources into R&D and less into pork like the Ares launch vehicle.

I just looked at the Gen-Y presentatation that you linked.  At 33 I'm a little too old to be included in that group.  But I was just walking through the engineering quad on Princeton's campus the other day, and I was surprised at how large the student body of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering department is, and particularly how many graduate students there are.  I wondered what types of jobs they're typically getting these days, and in what parts of the country.  With the rare exception of companies like SES Americom, there's not a whole lot of aerospace related work in this area anymore.  (Of course, the majority of those students might be on the mechanical side, but certainly for a small Ivy League school Princeton has a fairly large aerospace program.)  Anyway, I'd be curious to know the opinions of these young folks on NASA's current "Apollo on steroids" program, and how many would be interested in working for NASA or one of its contractors on the project.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2008 07:20 PM by vt_hokie »

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #2 on: 06/05/2008 06:49 PM »
{snip}
It is my personal opinion that we have struggled with answering the question "why?" to the general public.  Why are we going back to the Moon?  Why does it matter when energy prices are escalating?  Promoting spinoffs doesn't seem to be enough.  Esoteric notions of national pride, scientific knowledge, and destiny ring hollow with people who are more concerned about how to afford their daily commute.

{snip}

Abolishing NASA will not make it easier to pay for fuel.  The 1960s are over, NASA's modern budget is so small that even abolishing the agency will not produce any tax cuts.

Offline PhalanxTX

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #3 on: 06/05/2008 07:35 PM »
After seeing the great ideas out there in industry and academia, and some of the brilliant minds capable of producing new and exciting technologies, the idea that we're going back to old capsule designs and limiting ourselves to shuttle-derived launch vehicle technology is a bitter pill to swallow.  I guess growing up with the overly optimistic promises of next generation RLV's and more routine access to space, this Apollo 2.0 is kind of hard for me to get very excited about.  While I understand that a NASP or VentureStar was never a realistic goal in the near term, I think we should be putting more of our scarce resources into R&D and less into pork like the Ares launch vehicle.

I just looked at the Gen-Y presentatation that you linked.  At 33 I'm a little too old to be included in that group.  But I was just walking through the engineering quad on Princeton's campus the other day, and I was surprised at how large the student body of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering department is, and particularly how many graduate students there are.  I wondered what types of jobs they're typically getting these days, and in what parts of the country.  With the rare exception of companies like SES Americom, there's not a whole lot of aerospace related work in this area anymore.  (Of course, the majority of those students might be on the mechanical side, but certainly for a small Ivy League school Princeton has a fairly large aerospace program.)  Anyway, I'd be curious to know the opinions of these young folks on NASA's current "Apollo on steroids" program, and how many would be interested in working for NASA or one of its contractors on the project.

I have to admit that I was more than a little disappointed myself when Lockheed's original CEV proposal was scrapped.  I visited Texas A&M earlier this year to talk about Constellation to the AIAA student chapter there.  They were very receptive to the talk my boss and I gave, especially my overview of what lunar exploration will entail.  They seemed to be more interested in that aspect than the vehicles themselves.
"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program, and if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"

-- Larry Niven, quoted by Arthur Clarke in interview at Space.com, 2001

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Offline PhalanxTX

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #4 on: 06/05/2008 07:37 PM »
Abolishing NASA will not make it easier to pay for fuel.  The 1960s are over, NASA's modern budget is so small that even abolishing the agency will not produce any tax cuts.

I know that and you know that.  The average American thinks NASA gets a whole heck of a lot more than it actually does, though.  Most people are shocked when I point out exactly how relatively small the NASA budget is.

I'm just kicking around the idea that perhaps we should use these limited resources we do have in a way that directly impacts the lives of Americans for the better, in ways that are self-evident.
"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program, and if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"

-- Larry Niven, quoted by Arthur Clarke in interview at Space.com, 2001

One Percent for Space!

Offline Martin FL

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #5 on: 06/05/2008 08:01 PM »
Does this point to abandoning NASA's awful Gen-Y lack of insight by assuming youtube and "digg"ing bland PAO videos would be of any interest to that demographic, when it only entered them into the realm of the moon conspiracer and people looking for Britney Spears nude pics?

However, the point is, SOMETHING, is better than, NOTHING, so any outreach for NASA is at least SOMETHING.

Offline texas_space

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #6 on: 06/05/2008 08:19 PM »
I have to admit that I was more than a little disappointed myself when Lockheed's original CEV proposal was scrapped.  I visited Texas A&M earlier this year to talk about Constellation to the AIAA student chapter there.  They were very receptive to the talk my boss and I gave, especially my overview of what lunar exploration will entail.  They seemed to be more interested in that aspect than the vehicles themselves.

That might be an area to concentrate on.  If I were to have the chance to talk with an astronaut, most people aren't interested if they went into space in a capsule or a shuttle/spaceplane.  They are interested in what it is actually like to be "in space."  Astronauts appearing on the Stephen Colbert show like the other day can show the "neat" factor.  Imagine when we can have new astronauts that can talk about driving around on the Moon or viewing Earth from lunar orbit.  Actual exploration (Mars rovers, Apollo landings, Voyager pics of the outer planets) excites people.

NB I think vehicles are cool too.  I was in a state of constant awe when I visited the Air&Space Museum expansion at Dulles.  But they're a means, not the end.  It's about going to places (pardon the Star Trek reference) where no one has been or seen before. 
"We went to the moon nine times. Why fake it nine times, if we faked it?" - Charlie Duke

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #7 on: 06/05/2008 08:55 PM »
I know that and you know that.  The average American thinks NASA gets a whole heck of a lot more than it actually does, though.  Most people are shocked when I point out exactly how relatively small the NASA budget is.

When there may be a very big row over NASA's budget coming up it does not hurt to have a couple of lines saying how small the budget is in easily findable places like Wikipedia.  The Wiki entry will have to reference back to an independent source such as a magazine article written by an author who does not work for NASA.  The article can be written from primary sources like the US Government's budget.

Offline JLF

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #8 on: 06/05/2008 09:17 PM »
Ernst Stulinger recently died in Hunstville.  If you've never seen it, in 1970 he responded to a letter from a nun in Africa.  They circulated this link to the letter at MSFC.  The letter is very eloquent and just as applicable today.
http://www.css.ca/links/whyexplore.php

It's applicabilty almost 40 years later is a little depressing since even then he talks of "travelling to the Moon and eventually to Mars".

It's also a little depressing that they circulated a Canadian web site with the letter, rather then a NASA one.

I'll also say that I've had some recent experience trying to use NASA information to help some boy scouts get the Space Exploration merit badge.  With LITERALLY the wonders of the universe at NASA's disposal to excite the public, it's amazing how boring we can make it.  As an example I found a video on ion engines.  Ion engines are cool: multiple times more efficient then chemical, flying on spacecraft to explore comets and asteroids, they LOOK cool when firing, etc.  And the video was putting me to sleep.  We really need to learn how to package information to convey just how exciting it can be.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #9 on: 06/05/2008 10:36 PM »
As a community of people driven towards supporting what is arguably the most significant accomplishment of human history, what does it tell us that we've got a problem with making our case to the very people we need to keep moving forward?

Those same people, the general taxpaying public, didn't support the Apollo Program during the 1960s either.  Public opinion polls taken during that time showed that a majority opposed the big NASA spending, even before the landing.

NASA has a mission, and it isn't to solve the energy crises.  It is to expand human knowledge of the Earth, of the atmosphere, and of space.  NASA is also supposed to help preserve U.S. preeminence in aeronautics and space technology.

NASA needs to do a better job communicating its mission with the public.  It shouldn't try to "sell" the public.  That won't work, because the public, in the long term, doesn't buy hype.       

The Agency has played an important role in documenting and studying human effects on the Earth's environment, for example.  We didn't know about the hole in the ozone layer, the first significant measurable  global human impact on the atmosphere, before NASA told us about it. 

NASA fostered the development of the now ubiquitous communications and weather satellites, machines that affect our daily lives.  It gave us images of Earth that, for the first time, placed it in context against the vastness of space. 

NASA has explored the solar system with robots, providing a majority of the images of the planets that now appear in textbooks. 

Just tell the story, the big story, about NASA's mission.  Don't tell us about the details of the space station toilet.  Don't try to make it look like "Dancing with the Stars".  Tell us what NASA does.  Tell us what NASA has learned about our planet and our solar system.  Tells us about global warming (or global cooling) or global pollution.  Show us what overpopulation and deforestation look like from space.  Tell us about the ice volcanoes on Saturn's moons, about water on Mars, about comet dust.  Tell us what Buzz Aldrin felt like when he stood on the Moon looking at Earth.  There won't be a need to tell us "why". 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 06/05/2008 10:37 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline simonbp

Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #10 on: 06/05/2008 11:07 PM »
Well, to honest, as someone at the front end of Gen Y (born 1983-97), NASA's done pretty well on two accounts:

1) We're going to the Moon. Period. For my generation, spaceflight is a given; STS had been flying for three years by the time I was born, and by the time I could read, all the planets but Pluto had been visited by spacecraft. The question is not so much "should we go to space", but "what should we do". CxP gives my generation the chance to walk on the Moon, both literally and vicariously. That's orders of magnitude more exciting than the pre-2003 NASA I had been raised on.

2) Old fogies are retiring. As the boomers that have populated NASA for most of its history start reaching retirement age, NASA has actually been hiring my generation. The Gen X'ers never had a chance with NASA stuffed full of boomers for 30 years, but Gen Y now is being actively recruited.

On the other hand, NASA still has work to do, including:

1) Pushing the varieties of space exploration. At most, people will have heard of the Shuttle, Mars Rovers, and possibly Hubble. Push Cassini, New Horizons, JWST, and especially Orion/Altair. Once its final shape emerges, push the image Altair like crazy; the STS orbiter is The Icon at present for "spaceship", and Altair should be the successor.

2) Recruiting like mad at Gen Y. Even if only a tiny fraction of those you target even consider working for NASA, you send the message that NASA is cool and important. The USAF and CIA are quite good at this, and NASA should learn from them.

3) Coordinate as much as possible with commercial media. The Science Channel's coverage of the Phoenix landing was a good start, with lots of NASA-provided content, and the Chief Scientist, Jim Gavin, providing real-time commentary. This is a thousand times better than a standard NASA briefing. Seriously, the usual NASA press conferences seem like fossilized relics of the Eisenhower administration, when all information was doled out by newspapers; stuffy suits on a dais with little cups of water in front just doesn't cut it anymore. The Science Channel should want to cover NASA briefings...

4) Hype CxP ever single step of the way. Hype Ares-IX (the first flight test of the vehicle that will take us to the moon)! Hype LRO (the first large NASA mission to the Moon since 1972)! Let the engineers do conservative engineering, PAO should be promoting the extreme awesomeness and futuristicness of NASA...

Simon ;)
« Last Edit: 06/05/2008 11:08 PM by simonbp »

Offline hop

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #11 on: 06/06/2008 12:24 AM »
I agree with Ed. NASA doesn't need some specific Gen-Y marketing, it needs to keep doing interesting and important stuff, and convey as much as possible the importance of those results and the excitement of the process.

NASA should obviously use new media and technologies as appropriate to do this, but that's a technical detail, not a major driver. Things like encouraging the science and engineering teams to blog, or having a twitter page for phoenix (which I thought was silly at first, but is actually a great ongoing Q&A + way to see most recent events) help convey the excitement, but it only works because they are actually doing something exciting.

Offline STS Tony

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #12 on: 06/06/2008 02:06 AM »
I read the presentation and I'm confused. It appears to be calling for the very thing that's not working, but 'blogging' and 'twittering'.

Also seemed to be very patronizing by claiming my demographic have no interest, and then used some census that picked out two unaccredited census results, where I could find similar census answers that show 75 percent support.

I'm sure it means well.

Offline Shuttle Scapegoat

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #13 on: 06/06/2008 02:16 AM »
"Barbie, Horses and My Space.com". Sorry, but I'm Gen-Y and this social networking idea only works if you search for such a subject, so people who aren't interested will never go to some "twitter" sites.

I became interested in spaceflight by seeing a launch on the news by accident. I googled for space shuttle and found this site. This site is cool so I'm here.

The key is mass exposure of the subject and X amount of people will then go search for more. So until the mass exposure media decide against only giving exposure to this subject when there's a toilet to fix or there's a major problem, it's not going to happen, regardless of how many myspace sites you aim to have.

Go and ask someone random tomorrow if they know about the mission in space right now. Most who are aware will say toilet.

Blame the news sites and news programs that made that the biggest point of the mission.

Offline Maverick

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #14 on: 06/06/2008 02:18 AM »
"Barbie, Horses and My Space.com". Sorry, but I'm Gen-Y and this social networking idea only works if you search for such a subject, so people who aren't interested will never go to some "twitter" sites.

I became interested in spaceflight by seeing a launch on the news by accident. I googled for space shuttle and found this site. This site is cool so I'm here.

The key is mass exposure of the subject and X amount of people will then go search for more. So until the mass exposure media decide against only giving exposure to this subject when there's a toilet to fix or there's a major problem, it's not going to happen, regardless of how many myspace sites you aim to have.

Go and ask someone random tomorrow if they know about the mission in space right now. Most who are aware will say toilet.

Blame the news sites and news programs that made that the biggest point of the mission.

Then that's NASA's fault for giving Marcia Dunn the freedom of PAO. Then should ban journalists who are actively looking to write negative things about NASA.

Her attempt to put words into Leroy Cain about dodging the bullet on the pad damage was a disgrace.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #15 on: 06/06/2008 02:32 AM »
Then that's NASA's fault for giving Marcia Dunn the freedom of PAO. Then should ban journalists who are actively looking to write negative things about NASA.


You can't "ban" a journalist, for several obvious reasons. Regardless, Marcia would still be writing about the missions with or without the ability to ask questions at the briefings, and the danger of stopping such journalists from asking questions at the briefings could be more dangerous.

As far as angles, sometimes you need to ask a question from a certain position to provoke a quote that fully addresses the question.

It's no good saying "No concerns with this flight, that's great, isn't it?" - as you've already answered the question and the comment back might not be quotable.

Asking, for instance: "Are you at all concerned about the TPS damage on the nose gear door?" (To which we all throw are arms in the air because we *know* it's practically nothing) - and the chances are the journalist knows that too, but a mass media audience won't, so getting a quote saying "No it's not a concern, because..."  serves its purpose to address that in the article.

Mass media sometimes have to ask dumb questions, because the Joe Public's in their audience would probably not know better and would ask the same question. A lot of the journalists at the briefings will know the answers to their questions, but they are out to get quotes.

You wouldn't believe how lucky journalists like myself are, cause we've got a specific audience that means I don't need to take that route.

That said, the "dodged the bullet" question was pushing it, as it had already been answered and it was almost attempting to put words in Leroy's mouth, but he side stepped it nicely. :)

Of course, you do have to factor in dumb media too, but all NASA has to do is send in Mr MOD to sort them out: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=3297 ;)

Anyway, back on to the subject of the presentation.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2008 02:44 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline PhalanxTX

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #16 on: 06/06/2008 12:55 PM »
I do agree that the Gen Y presentation doesn't present as coherent or positive a message as it could.  Some of the fiercely negative responses I've seen elsewhere show me that it could stand to be tightened up a bit and speak more to the target audience than the group it is illustrating.  I didn't make that presentation, but I know the primary author and I'll certainly convey the responses here at NASAspaceflight.com with him.

That said, the main idea of that presentation is to help NASA better understand the "Gen Y" audience so it can reach out to the youth of America.  It was created to start a dialogue.  For better or worse, it has got people talking and it was what got me involved in the 20-Year Vision team at JSC.

I like what edkyle said about presenting NASA's mission.  I absolutely agree that we need to be doing a better job on that.  I'm certainly not suggesting we "sell" the public, as that would imply there's no "there" there.  The pursuit of knowledge and exploration are more than enough to get me out of bed every morning and come in to the office.  I was convinced on those merits alone when I was a child.

Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself on the issue of space resource utilization.  Based on the responses I've seen in the public media to NASA reporting, I'm just concerned that maybe there is something more we could be doing to demonstrate NASA's relevance.  Confronting the energy crisis was just the first thing to come to mind as an example of a "big picture" item.

We have to figure out a way to present our vision without running afoul of the prohibition on advertising.  Have ya'll seen the Air Force commercials about their launch operations and the not-so-subtle dig at NASA launch rates?  As far as I can tell, NASA isn't really allowed to respond to that. 
"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program, and if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"

-- Larry Niven, quoted by Arthur Clarke in interview at Space.com, 2001

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Offline Oh Captain, My Captain

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #17 on: 06/06/2008 06:15 PM »
First off, this is my first post, and I'd like to say it's good to be here! Now, to the business:

I just looked at the Gen-Y presentatation that you linked.  At 33 I'm a little too old to be included in that group.  But I was just walking through the engineering quad on Princeton's campus the other day, and I was surprised at how large the student body of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering department is, and particularly how many graduate students there are.  I wondered what types of jobs they're typically getting these days, and in what parts of the country.  With the rare exception of companies like SES Americom, there's not a whole lot of aerospace related work in this area anymore.  (Of course, the majority of those students might be on the mechanical side, but certainly for a small Ivy League school Princeton has a fairly large aerospace program.)  Anyway, I'd be curious to know the opinions of these young folks on NASA's current "Apollo on steroids" program, and how many would be interested in working for NASA or one of its contractors on the project.

I can help on that; I'll be an aerospace engineering sophomore next year at Florida Tech. From what I've seen, most of the aerospace kids are more into airplanes or other earth contained aircrafts. And most of the ME's are more car nuts then anything.

I don't think it's a PR problem per se. I mean, I've wanted to be an astronaut since I was little when my dad showed me The Right Stuff. People don't become interested in space, they're raised into it.

Look at the time line. The first boom would have been during the cold war. At the time, space was a matter of national pride and defense, which is enough to turn engineers on a specific track. This led on until the end of the Apollo missions. The next wave came years later, with probe missions around the galaxy and to mars. My money is on the idea that the first boom got the second wave of kids interested. But now there's a lag in big things going on. Everything that's important thus far is only interesting enough to drawn those who are already interested.

NASA doesn't need lectures in kindergarten classes. And a mission to fix a toilet certainly isn't enough. We need something big. Moon station big. Mars big.

Offline STS Tony

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #18 on: 06/06/2008 06:25 PM »


Look at the time line. The first boom would have been during the cold war. At the time, space was a matter of national pride and defense, which is enough to turn engineers on a specific track. This led on until the end of the Apollo missions. The next wave came years later, with probe missions around the galaxy and to mars. My money is on the idea that the first boom got the second wave of kids interested. But now there's a lag in big things going on. Everything that's important thus far is only interesting enough to drawn those who are already interested.

NASA doesn't need lectures in kindergarten classes. And a mission to fix a toilet certainly isn't enough. We need something big. Moon station big. Mars big.

It did not lead on until the end of the apollo missions. No one cared after Apollo 11.

You're charactization of STS-124 is rediculous.

And you aren't going to get a moon station or Mars until 30-40 years.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2008 06:37 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline Oh Captain, My Captain

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Re: Discussing NASA's Future
« Reply #19 on: 06/06/2008 06:39 PM »
It did not lead on until the end of the apollo missions. No one cared after Apollo 11.

You're charactization of STS-124 is rediculous.

And you aren't going to get a moon station or Mars until 30-40 years.

Sure no one in the media or higher levels of politics cared, but I'm sure you'd find a number of bright eyed 5 year olds who watched the Apollo missions and everything else space related from then on.

No, my characterization of STS-124 is simple, simple as in how the media and society in general sees it. I know about the new spacelab, I know about the scientific ramifications of the ISS in general, but to be blunt, the average citizen doesn't care. They think about astronauts peeing in bags and they giggle, and I'm using that as proof of how useless weak NASA PR is.

But there are going to be huge amounts of advancements toward that goal over the next 30-40 years. The goal needs to be shown to the world alongside the development towards said goal. We should let the world in. Sure Apollo 11 and 13 have the most notoriety because the drama, but I'm sure there were some, albeit few, who watched the other missions and saw heroes who they want to become. We need to generate interest, not the mask of interest.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2008 07:16 PM by Chris Bergin »