Policy: February 2013 Archives

OSTP Memo to Departments and Agencies: Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research

"The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hereby directs each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government."

American Astronomical Society Applauds Obama Administration's New Open-Access Policy

"So why is the AAS supportive of open access? "Because we're already in compliance with the administration's new guidelines," says AAS Executive Officer Kevin B. Marvel. "Research articles from all AAS journals are available online, without charge, 12 months after their original date of publication, and they've been available that way for years."

Keith's update: Why NASA hasn't said anything about this? No mention at the NASA Open Government Initiative.

Education & Public Outreach, Lars Perkins, Chairman Education and Public Outreach Committee NASA Advisory Council 29 November 2012

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NASA Says It Cannot Advertise - and Then Buys Advertisements, (NASA Watch posting referenced in this NASA Advisory Council Chart).

Keith's 25 August 2011 note: I have lost count how many times people at NASA have told me that they cannot self-promote, advertise, lobby, or otherwise try to use standard marketing tools to inform the public of the things that they do. They always cite dire Congressional prohibitions against such activities. Then they go off and totally violate these prohibitions with advertising procurements such as this one. I am not certain that they actually know what it is they are allowed or not allowed to do and just throw this answer out when they do not want to do something.

Keith's update: This story has not changed. If you ask, NASA tells you that it cannot advertise. And then they do.

Can Commercial Space Rescue NASA From Deadly Public Indifference?, Forbes

"Sustainable public advocacy will depend upon around bold goals and clear plans that warrant substantial investments. Writing in Reason magazine, Gregory Benford correlated public interest in space exploration with a natural desire for vicarious adventure. Benford observed that: "Much of the passion in science fiction springs from a deep-rooted human need: to reach out, to prefer movement to stasis, to understand." Accordingly, he concludes that NASA has a choice: "swing for the bleachers or die."

For D.C. shelter's 600 homeless children, a crucial source of fun and escape

"On Thursday, the children arrived in the big recreation room and found a spacesuit waiting for them. "There's no one inside. That's fake!" one girl insisted. "I"m right here," said Leland Melvin, standing behind her, delighted at her defiant challenge. Melvin is an astronaut. "What do you think I do in this blue suit?" he asked, pointing to his flight suit. "Nothing," a bunch of kids wisecracked. It's a tough crowd. Every year, Melvin brings a NASA spacesuit and a slide show of his adventures in space. It doesn't hurt that he also tells the kids about his time in the NFL, getting drafted to play with the Detroit Lions. And then getting injured."

Keith's note: If you ask NASA for their plan - i.e. their strategy - guidance - goals - for engaging the public in education and public outreach activities they cannot provide you with one. Yet they always tell you (they think) that some one is working on one - but it doesn't cover everything that NASA does because NASA is incapable of adopting an agency-wide strategy or plan. And even if something resembling a plan starts to emerge, it never goes beyond draft stage due to infighting and turf disputes. After 4 years the NASA Advisory Council Committee on Education and Public Outreach has done absolutely nothing to address this situation. They are meeting in Washington in a week or so. Not sure why they even bother.

All this being said, you still see poignant attempts to go beyond the normal audiences such as Leland Melvin did at this homeless shelter. Alas, these activities go unnoticed since NASA is clueless as to how to inform others that they even take place. Oh yes - OMB is going to significantly cut NASA's Education budget for FY 2014 - again. And yet they will tell you with a straight face that the White House supports education blah blah blah. I guess its hard to totally blame NASA when the White House won't even stand behind its own rhetoric.

Charlie Bolden Intends To Press President Obama on Mars Mission Mandate for NASA, earlier post

"At one point, Bolden teared up and said that "Mars is the Goal". Bolden claimed that he was intent upon going to the White House, "pounding his shoe on the table", and demanding a commitment from President Obama to direct NASA to send humans to Mars. Bolden said that he needs that commitment to allow him to decide what to do (not do) with regard to extending the ISS."

Keith's note: It has been more than 3 months since Bolden proclaimed his intent to go to the White House and bang his shoe if he did not get his way. In addition to not approving the L2 station, there is nothing in the FY 2014 budget passback regarding any additional, strong Mars commitment that Charlie Bolden declared must be in the budget (other than what the President has already said, that is). No word yet as to whether Bolden has requested a meeting at the White House for his shoe pounding event - although he was there last week and was told that he could not do some of the other things that he wanted to do. Stay tuned.

- Bolden Seeks To Force Mars Goal Commitment From Obama, earlier post
- Is It Time For Charlie Bolden To Pound His Shoe?, earlier post

NASA OIG: NASA's Efforts to Reduce Unneeded Infrastructure and Facilities

"NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin today released a report evaluating NASA's efforts to reduce unneeded Agency infrastructure. NASA is the ninth largest Federal Government real property holder, with over 124,000 acres and 4,900 buildings and other structures that have a replacement value of more than $30 billion. Primarily located at 10 Centers in Alabama, California, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia, this property includes such technical facilities as wind tunnels, rocket test stands, and launch complexes and such non-technical facilities as office buildings, roads, fences, and utility systems."

"Guest List for the First Lady's Box State of the Union Address"

"Bobak Ferdowsi (Pasadena, CA) Flight Director, Mars Curiosity Rover

Bobak Ferdowsi, aka NASA's "Mohawk Guy," is a member of the Mars Curiosity rover team at NASA and Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. After the successful landing of the Curiosity rover in August 2012, President Obama called to congratulate the team on their success, and singled out Bobak for his unique haircut that captured the imagination of millions of people around the world. The Curiosity rover is a car-sized robot equipped with a laser, chemistry set, and drill for assessing whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms. Bobak is an Iranian-American and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professional who, in addition to his inspiring day-to-day work on the Mars Curiosity mission, volunteers as a FIRST robotics mentor to get more boys and girls excited about STEM education."

Keith's note: Here's my audio interview with Bobak Ferdowsi, aka NASA's "Mohawk Guy", about his upcoming attendance of the President's State of the Union Speech as a guest of Mrs. Obama.

Letter from Paul Damphousse to National Space Society Board

"During the last year in this role it has become abundantly clear, however, that as long as elements of the existing leadership of the NSS continue to pursue courses of action-- and perpetuate an atmosphere-- that are not in the best interests of the Society, the challenges the organization face will become insurmountable. For both professional and personal reasons, I have decided to pursue other opportunities."

Keith's note: The NSS really needs to get its act together. This organization is already on the borderline of irrelevancy. When good, talented people like Paul Damphousse leave, you know that something is very broken.

Space Abhors a Policy Vacuum; The NRC Report and The Need for a Broad National Space Policy, Dennis Wingo

"...The above sentence in its implication says that a scientifically justifiable space program is the only means to continue its international leadership in space. This has been the underpinning of all NASA related strategic thinking for the past thirty years but is it still tenable, is it still complete to say so? It is my opinion that the answer is no and indeed it has never truly been the case and to think of space through this narrow lens is actually the reason that we have been unable to come to any kind of national consensus on space. The key word in their mandate is national consensus, not just a presidential fiat or even a consensus between the congress and the president. If we are to move forward toward a national consensus we must look beyond the scientific justifications for a space program and look at the broader aspects of national interest to underpin our reasoning."



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