NASA, the mere mention of the word electrifies the soul and sets the imagination racing. Er, no not really.
For all it’s achievements NASA has a bit of an image problem, it’s a black hole of funding for little results and plays fast and loose with safety until someone gets killed, go on any Youtube video on NASA and space and there are hundreds and thousands of posts saying “Shut NASA Down”
It doesn’t help that the media snap at NASA at every given opportunity, scrubbed launches, Mars landers slamming into the ground because of imperial and metric units.. In a way as we know, the media is the be all and end all, what they say has massive repercussions, they shape public perception, what they say usually becomes part of peoples beliefs, like immigrants eating swans, and lights cause cancer. NASA has had an on-off affair with the Press dating right back to Project Mercury.
Perhaps it’s these articles that give NASA a bad public image? Does the media and detractors lies about how it’s a funding vacuum that accomplishes nothing?
The reality is NASA accomplishes a lot, but in the world of 24 hour rolling “News” most doesn’t make the news. The ISS just reached it’s 10th anniversary, it’s had people living on it orbiting over us at 17,500 MPH for 10 years, that is an achievement that will help us discover the effects of weightlessness, and how equipment performs in long duration spaceflight key milestones needed for voyages to other worlds.
As for the cost, for every tax dollar, half a penny goes to NASA, now when you think that pays for the spacecraft, all the research, the labs, the staff, telescopes, not to mention stuff on other planets, what NASA has is UNDERFUNDING. Now SpaceX is going to free some of that money up since NASA won’t be doing any LEO launches to the ISS, instead SpaceX deals with that while NASA pays them, still cheaper than a launch themselves, allowing NASA to finally concentrate on reaching the final frontier. But this is still going to be a struggle, people will be asking “why go to Mars, what’s there? Exploration isn’t worth the cost” Well put bluntly a few thousand years ago people like that never left the cave and died there, again it isn’t a good argument for going, but our future depends heavily on us mastering the skills to get off our world, no matter how perfect for us it is, and leave. Our species depends on it.
NASA has accomplished so much in the 50 years of it’s existence, it’s pushed our knowledge and understanding of the universe to levels we couldn’t possibly comprehend, it’s put man and machine on far off worlds, created technology we couldn’t live without in the modern world and in a way brought us together, the blue marble, a symbol of environmentalists, Earthrise, the pale blue dot, they have humbled us and helped do away with our inflated ego’s and pointed out, that this tiny rock is all we have, and it won’t be around for ever.
NASA has a public image problem, it doesn’t engage enough, yes the social media side is good but it could be better, NASA should be out there, engaging everyday with people, it should have advertisements on Radio, TV and the print Media. When someone asks what’s the point in NASA people should be able to tell them. NASA has a job, not only to push the frontier of space, but energise the young and old, get them genuinely excited about space exploration, in short, recapture the spirit of Apollo. And the day will come when eventually,NASA, the mere mention of the word, electrifies the soul and sets the imagination racing.
Three awesome “advertisements for NASA” Seriously the talent is already there, use it