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D. Fisher, N. Leon (NASA/JPL)
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) strongly emphasizes the importance of public and educational outreach as an intrinsic part of every space mission. Not only is it necessary to gain and retain public support for space science missions, but also it is an explicit mandate that NASA make every effort to offer genuine and accessible value to the general public in exchange for its support. The product of value is, first of all, information. Of course part of this outreach effort includes industrial technology transfer and free access to raw data for study by science investigators. But an equally important part includes reaching out to a number of different audiences, including those younger members of our society who will soon be choosing their careers, paying taxes, voting, and helping to decide the direction that space exploration and other scientific research will—or will not—take in the coming decades.
NASA seeks to implement this commitment through each of its space missions Thus, each NASA mission needs include a small budget for public and educational outreach. But how can these missions best use this resource? This paper describes in some detail the approach taken by a small educational outreach team for NASA’s New Millennium Program (NMP).
The outreach team’s approach is twofold: develop a highly desirable suite of products designed to appeal to, as well as inform, a variety of different audiences; then negotiate relationships with existing channels for dissemination of these products. This latter task is normally the most expensive part of outreach. The paper will describe in some detail both the products and the "marketing" approach for those products.
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