- NASA Watch
- May 24, 2023
NASA Advisory Council Meeting Today
NASA Advisory Committee meeting agenda, dial-in/Webex instructions
.@milesobrien asks about Education & Public outreach for SLS. NASA guy says it is not important. Miles says "sure it is". #NASA
— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch) April 17, 2014
I wish they would partner with a network and do a behind the scenes reality show with the astronaut class that will fly beyond LEO.
Here’s hoping that Miles turns out to be a real thorn in their collective sides, but in a good way. With his position on the Council, he can hold their feet to the fire on things that really matter. Go, Miles, go.
The nitwits at NASA HQ just do not get it.
Can you be more specific?
Sure. NASA HQ do not think that education and public outreach is important for SLS. I agree with Miles O’Brien…it is important. It is taxpayer money and when you get the public interested and enthused about the program, it is an much easier sell to Congress. Education outreach and interest in space is vitally important to get kids interested in STEM. NASA and the space industry needs engineers and is there anything else other than the space program that will spark any interest for kids to be engineers? Few and far between. Caltech/JPL is a good example of getting kids interested in STEM, while there is little or nothing on the manned side of the equation to spark that interest.
I agree that NASA outreach is a good thing, I just don’t think it’s the only (or necessarily the best) way to get kids interested in STEM. There aren’t that many jobs in human spaceflight. NASA should focus on outreach that either helps all students (i.e. websites and teacher education) or helps those who are specifically interested in careers int he space program (i.e. graduate internships). I don’t think the modest support for human spaceflight is a sign that kids aren’t interested. It could be a sign that human spaceflight as we are doing it today will never be experienced except by a tiny handful of government professionals and ultra-rich tourists. That’s what I feel we need to change.
I think the decision about SLS is a nuanced one. If we tell all the kids to support it, and then in ten years when they are in their 20’s it is cancelled after three or four missions and $30-40B spent, a lot of people will lose faith in NASA. We shouldn’t try to use outreach to build public support unless we have solid evidence that the program we are selling is a good investment for the country. That doesn’t mean it has to necessarily make a profit, but it must provide value greater than its cost.
Is there an archived webcast?
I cannot speak specifically to SLS however the current NASA leadership does not think education is of any significance at all. Though dollars do not tell the whole story, since most of NASAs education dollars are wasted, when the budget goes from 250 million, which is what it was at prior to Bolden, to less than 100 million $ today, you know he has little genuine interest.
However most of the dollars are wasted because they have no actual plan for what they are trying to do. They have no plan because they have no leadership that has any ligitimate experience or training in education. We’ve seen this repeatedly with NASA Associate Administrators who got the Education position because they were mainly just a friend of Charlie; we see it in the programs where the education manager is simply a way to promote your buddies, and we see it at the centers where they take a failed NTSB manager with no knowledge of either education or space and put her in charge or 10 years and 3 or 4 different HR managers all in the Education Director’s position. Its a lot of wasted taxpayer dollars, very little to show for the effort, no importance placed on it and not a positive outcome.
That is incompetent leadership in work at NASA.