Astrobiology: January 2010 Archives

Keith's note: James Cameron's "Avatar" has continued to break box office records, has won the Golden Globe Awards for "best picture" and "best director", and is now headed for the Oscars. There is clearly something that the public enjoys about "Avatar". At a time when NASA needs to re-exert its relevance to decision makers and the public, you'd think that there would be some effort to tap this interest in a movie about the wonders of extrasolar planets, astrobiology, and what may lay out there as we explore space - rendered in unparalleled detail and believability. So, how did NASA capitalize on this phenomenon? Answer: It didn't.

All I could find online at is this short summary of an article that was written by someone at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and this link to an interview with someone from MIT that aired on CNN. That's it.

Keith's update: This appeared at late in the day on Monday.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Meets Award-Winning Director James Cameron

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, right, and award-winning writer-director James Cameron, meet at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. Cameron, who is a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, has had a life-long interest in space and science. The two talked about public outreach and education among other subjects."

James Cameron On Past And Future Plans To Shoot In Outer Space, MTV

"I had been working closely with NASA and we were going to do a... joint mission. I was going to go up and work on the International Space Station with our 3-D cameras," Cameron explained. Unfortunately, the timing did not work out. On multiple levels. "I was pushing for something in the 30 day range and they were pushing for something in the 10 to 15 day range. We got partway down the road on that and, it was interesting, we were testing our 3-D cameras at the Titanic wreck site and September 11 happened. I wasn't prepared at that exact moment in my life, with a family, to go live in Russia for 12 months, which is what it was going to take to do all the training. so I held off," he explained, adding "just before we were about to ramp up on it again, then [Space Shuttle] Columbia went down."

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Keith's note: The NASA Astrobiology Institute recently notedthat "AstrobiologyNAI now has over one million followers!" on Twitter. One small problem: a close look at the followers for NAI's Twitter account will show that a substantial portion are fake accounts used for spam or other marketing scams. Just go through them and you will see. These accounts have no profile pictures or information, follow (at most) a couple of dozen accounts, and rarely if ever post anything. And when they do post something they do so once and it is often not in English - and yet all of NAI's Twitter postings are in English. To be certain, some of NASA's Twitter accounts are wildly popular and are of great value. But in this instance, the numerical popularity of NAI's Twitter account is due mostly to spam, not content. NAI has been informed of this issue more than once by a number of people inside and outside of NASA, but the NAI folks seem intent upon boasting about this number without understanding what it actually means. There are ways to scan and remove spam and scam followers. NAI should look into this.



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Astrobiology category from January 2010.

Astrobiology: November 2009 is the previous archive.

Astrobiology: February 2010 is the next archive.

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