Education: April 2010 Archives

Administrator Unveils Future Vision and a Renewed Journey of Learning, 12 April 2002

"The new NASA vision for the future is:

To improve life here,
To extend life to there,
To find life beyond

The NASA mission is:

To understand and protect our home planet
To explore the Universe and search for life
To inspire the next generation of explorers . . . as only NASA can"

Keith's note: Do these words still work? If so, could they be re-adopted by NASA? The NASA Advisory Council Education and Public Outreach Subcommittee had a spirited and supportive discussion on this today. What do you think?

Americans Back Space Exploration, Know Little About Proposed Policy Changes, Everett Group 'Space Poll' Finds

"As Pres. Barack Obama vows continued commitment to space exploration, including increased funding to explore the solar system and the ultimate goal of landing astronauts on Mars, he finds support from many Americans. Most Americans have a positive image of NASA, the country's space agency, and one-third say it's very important to them that the U.S. continue to explore the solar system (with one-third more saying it's somewhat important to them)."

Keith's note: Yawn - yet another space poll with the same results as the last dozen space polls. I am not certain why people keep paying to do these polls. The polls always come up with the same answers - yet government, private sector, and the general public do not care about the results enough to do anything to change the situation. Until someone, somewhere gets off their ass, nothing is going to change.

For half a decade Americans were told by the White House and NASA, with great excitement, that we were going back to the Moon. Then the next President suddenly tells everyone "Why go to the Moon?, we've already done that". Its as if we walked away from Apollo in 1967. These back and forth policy changes leave everyone with a case of intellectual whiplash. Why should anyone understand (or care) about policy changes when they end up meaning little in the end.

Consumers spent billions to see a space-themed film like "Avatar" and yet NASA was incapable of seizing the opportunity to capitalize on this interest before, during, or after the film's release. And then there is the "Summer of Innovation" that NASA has the lead on from the White House. Summer is only a matter of weeks away. Has anyone heard anything about what this project is going to do? Finally, there was the Space Summit/Conference last week with the President. NASA/OSTP waited until only hours before the event to tell people what was actually going to happen at this event. As for follow-up, how will all Americans learn of the event's results?

Don't hold your breath. If NASA does not care enough to reach out and inform the taxpayers who fund its activities, why should it get upset when people's interest in what the agency does is not all that it could be?

Aerospace Must Adapt

Study concludes aerospace industry must evolve new ways to recruit and retain future engineers

"Aerospace companies must consider offering newly recruited workers flexible job assignments and a variety of projects to remain competitive with other scientific fields of employment. This was among the conclusions of the "2009 Survey of Aerospace Student Attitudes" discussed at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Joint Societies Capitol Hill Reception, April 13, on Capitol Hill."

Recipe for the Future: Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards Program Combines Entrepreneurship, Imagination and High-School Innovators

"All winners were chosen from the 21 finalist teams that assembled for the annual Spirit of Innovation Awards' Innovation Summit at the NASA Ames Conference Center in Moffett Field, Calif., from April 8 to 10, 2010. The teams were joined by notable leaders such as Lori Garver, deputy administrator of NASA; Miles O'Brien, chairman of the NASA Advisory Council for Education and Public Outreach; Steve Westly of the Westly Group; Chairman Jon Wellinghoff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and entrepreneurs Rafe Furst, John Gage, Fred Nazem and Ari Meisel."

Thousands Turn Out for Yuri's Night Celebration at NASA Ames

"NASA's Ames Research Center hosted a mega Yuri's Night celebration on two days: April 9 and April 10, 2010. A 40-foot futuristic rocket ship, air show and top music acts, including Common and N.E.R.D. were among the highlights."

Keith's note: What utterly baffles me is how ARC PAO all but ignored the Conrad Awards event. They streamed a small portion of the events (and charged an outrageous sum to do so) but other than they seemed to be uninterested in having their staff cover the event or make any mention of the event in this press release as part of their overall education activities - this, despite the fact that the Deputy Administrator of NASA spent a considerable amount of time there as did members of the NASA Advisory Council, billionaire investors, etc. According to one ARC PAO staff it apparently had to do with the fact that one event had thousands of students while the Conrad event had a hundred or so.

Keith's note: I am having a wonderful time at the Conrad Foundation's Spirit of Innovation Awards. NASA ARC has been a wonderful host for this event plus a number of other events this week with the support of NASA IPP and a wide array of public sector sponsors (including my company). Alas, as far as the Conrad Foundation's events are concerned - an event where students are encouraged to think outside the box and innovate - NASA's Education Office seems to be totally uninterested - there is no mention whatsoever on their website for example. Yet they (reluctantly) put $10K in to support this event. Oh well "and the children shall lead", I suppose.


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