NASA Has No Education and Public Outreach Coordination

Keith's note: Apparently there is a NASA education competition for "Children ages 4-12 around the world, including NASA families, to submit artwork" on different space-related themes. This calendar was apparently announced on 13 September 2018

Given the global aspirations of this competition you would expect NASA to use its global brand i.e. @NASA and But there is no mention. Nor is there any mention on the NASA STEM Engagement page or the NASA Commercial crew page.

There is this one tweet from @CommercialCrew on on 16 September 2018 and another on 28 September 2018 . Today Astronaut Victor Glover @VicGlover also tweeted a link (Glover is one of the NASA astronauts who will fly on SpaceX Crew-1 mission). NASA's Stem Engagement Office tweeted about it on 17 September 2018 and again on 25 September 2018

Otherwise, that's it. If this was truly an agency-wide effort with a stated intent of reaching children around the world, you would think that the agency would have put a little more effort into utilizing its global branding - unless the agency is not synchronized in such a fashion as to coordinate activities such as this one to make the best use of NASA assets.

But why is the NASA Commercial Crew Office doing NASA education activities specifically targeted at students? Who is in charge of this? Is there an overall, agency-level NASA Education and Outreach plan that specifically calls for the agency's commercial programs to target "children aged 4-12 - around the world"? Of course there isn't. The White House tried to gut NASA education funding - one of the main points being that this education stuff was already being done elsewhere - so why is NASA trying to reach beyond the nation's borders? Maybe a little more of a domestic focus is what this White House is thinking about.

Since there will be effort required to set up and collect the artwork, someone is going to have to pay labor costs. If a calendar is produced, then someone will have to be paid to do that. And if it is printed and distributed that will cost something too. Is this really what NASA's Commercial Crew Office should be doing right now? Yes, its probably a trivial amount of money in the overall grand scheme of things. But this speaks to a broader lack of simple strategic thought on NASA's part. If the educational needs of children are really what is of concern, aren't there more focused products that stand a better chance of educating children than a glorified coloring book?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 10, 2018 10:08 AM.

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