Editor's note: If you check the Constellation Program Work Locations page at ESMD, you'll see that "The Constellation Program work is being performed at a variety of NASA Centers, Prime Contractors and Subcontractors located around the country. This work includes the Orion Crew Vehicle and Ares I Launch Vehicle and the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Partners."
If you scroll down you will see that NASA has mapped ESMD contracts against the nation's congressional districts and the individuals who represent those states and districts in Congress. There is also a fancy flash animation (see this chart) of a U.S. map that lets you see who gets the money. The animation even goes down to civil service and contractor head counts and budgets for each field center. Just the sort of thing you need to put in a letter to your Congressman or Senator to remind them to support NASA.
To be certain, this is interesting information - but why is NASA posting this? The obvious answer (to me at least) is that NASA wants people to know who to contact on Capitol Hill about NASA. Of course, this also serves to show Congress just how well/widely NASA has spread the work across the U.S.
I also find it of interest to note that there is no mention of this exhaustive page of congressional information on the Office of Legislative Affairs page - nor is there any link from this ESMD page back to Legislative Affairs. I would think that the Legislative Affairs folks would like to promote this page - or is it that they had nothing to do with it?
Also - shouldn't NASA show earmarks as well - after all these pet projects are another way that Congress sends money back home. And what about all the other programs NASA distributes across the U.S. ?
It is good that NASA tries to explain how broadly based participation in space exploration is across the U.S. - but isn't this just a little too close to NASA facilitating public lobbying - on behalf of NASA? This might be a more appropriate (and useful) thing for the Coalition for Space Exploration to put on their SpaceAdvocates.com website.