SMD Sends A $2 billion Astrobiology Mission to Mars and Then Forgets About Astrobiology

Keith's note: NASA has an Astrobiology rover heading to Mars. Time to dial up the Astrobiology stuff, right? Guess again. Check out the NASA SMD website. Do a search for Search for "astrobiology". These are the top search results - yes they are rather stale. Not exactly the top shelf outreach that you'd expect SMD to be doing for a $2 billion Astrobiology mission on its way to Mars. Just sayin'

- Dr. Michael New - Astrobiology Discipline Scientist Mar 24, 2008
- Due Dates delayed for C.20 Astrobiology Science And Technology For Exploring Planets (ASTEP) Mar 16, 2011
- Amendment 8: New TBD C.23 Interdisciplinary Consortia for Astrobiology Research
SOLAR SYSTEM May 9, 2019
- Sled Dogs Carry Astrobiology to Dizzying Heights EARTH Mar 12, 2008

Keith's update: As a reader has noted it you click "newest" then the results are more current. But please tell me what website design thought went into making "relevance" the default setting for search results when it shows random news more than a decade old? Did NASA SMD bother to have actual humans test drive this? And regardless of which button you click there are few search results regarding actual NASA Astrobiology research - despite databases that are online that can provide that information. I see no search results that link to the official NASA Astrobiology website at astrobiology.nasa.gov. My point still stands. NASA has no idea how to present its search for life in the universe - Astrobiology - to a public audience. And when you bring these issues to their attention they simply do not care.

If you go to Pubspace - a research results database established by NASA at NCBI and search for "astrobiology" you get 1,192 search results which are all scientific papers. If you go to the Astrophysics Data System which the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under NASA Cooperative Agreement you get 218,350 results - again, all research results. If you go to arXiv.org preprint server and search for "astrobiology" you get 503 results of relevant research. Searching for other relevant key words such as "biosignatures" or "habitable" would yield even more results. Why doesn't NASA SMD include these resources in their search engine algorithm? If this is beyond the skill set of the web folks at NASA then why doesn't NASA make prominent mention of these research search engines - not just for astrobiology but for other aspects of NASA space science research - by simply linking to them?

If you go to the official NASA Astrobiology website you will see that the top story is a recycled post from 4 January 2020 about a comic book. Yes, a comic book. If you want current Astrobiology news that covers the actual research go here.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 3, 2020 10:07 AM.

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