- NASA Watch
- January 11, 2023
NASA Education Office Ignores Aeronautics And Mars Helicopters
Keith’s note: Take a look at the NASA Advisory Council STEM Engagement Committee. The page has lots of meeting agendas but no one seems to have taken any notes at the meetings in 2020.
The October 2019 meeting minutes has a few strange entries. This one stands out:
“Mr. Dan Dumbacher noted that the five Sphere 1 activities did not include Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate content. Ms. Brown noted no aeronautics activities were brought forward for Sphere 1. While Office of STEM Engagement strives to be equitable across Mission Directorates each year, no aeronautics activities with a high level of magnitude were brought forward. Not every Mission Directorate will be highlighted each year but will be across years.”
So let me get this right: the NASA STEM organization is only going to cover part of NASA’s science and technology part of the time? In this case Aeronautics is not being highlighted? And yet in a few days there will be a helicopter flying on Mars – and in so doing – this helicopter will demonstrate every possible aspect of aeronautics as people learn how you can actually fly in an atmosphere 1/100th the density of Earth’s at sea level.
If you go to the NASA STEM Engagement main page – there is no mention of Ingenuity or or Mars Perseverance. You would think that a multi-billion dollar mission on Mars – one that utilizes virtually every aspect of NASA science and Technology – would be front and center on the page of the part of NASA dedicated to teaching and learning. Talk about an opportunity dripping with teaching opportunities. Guess again. This organization only serves some of the students some of the time – and it tells you that it is doing so.
Just to be fair the NASA Science Mission Directorate is not exactly promoting educational opportunities associated with this mission either but I suspect they will dial that up. But the NASA Aeronautics folks are much more proactive with a link to a page with overt STEM activities – something that the NASA STEM Engagement Office is ignoring.