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NASA Ignores Science Websites – Loves Rocket City Trash Pandas

By Keith Cowing
May 10, 2021
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NASA Ignores Science Websites – Loves Rocket City Trash Pandas

Keith’s note: NASA PAO and SMD have repeatedly told me that the NASA Astrobiology program’s Twitter account @NASAAstrobio and its official website would be unable to link to or follow my twitter account @Astrobiology (with nearly 22,000 followers) or its companion website which ranks in the 3rd – 4th search results for “astrobiology” on Google, Yahoo etc. – globally – and has for decades (since 1996 to be exact). If you go to Google and search for “astrobiology” and then click on news you will see that totally dominates the first four pages of search results. A single NASA result only shows up on the fourth page. I think it is not an exaggeration to say that these Astrobiology efforts on my part are of some interest and value to the Astrobiology community and the public as a whole, yes?
But PAO and SMD say no, Keith. NASA websites and Twitter accounts can only follow other NASA sites, or select government agencies, or things wherein a formal relationship has been established with NASA, they say. And they claim that this official NASA policy – except they have never provided me with a copy of the actual, formally adopted/baselined NASA policy on such things. This is all very seat of the pants. They just throw some words in an email and hope that I will just go away. It is baffling that they’d not want to help their Astrobiology community gain access to news about NASA’s own research results. But no. FYI they also ignore all of the scientific journals that publish NASA Astrobiology research. Why be useful, eh?
So … I wondered if other official NASA accounts followed this official NASA web policy. So I went to the official NASA Marshall Twitter account @NASA_Marshall and look at the official NASA accounts that it follows. Some of my favorite official NASA Twitter accounts that @NASA_Marshall follows include: Rocket City Trash Pandas @trashpandas; JOXRoundTable @JOXRoundtable; Josh Dobbs @josh_dobbs1; Karen Kilgariff
@KarenKilgariff (TV/VCR Repair); My Favorite Murder @MyFavMurder; Melissa Joan Hart @MelissaJoanHart; NelsonMandela @NelsonMandela; Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow; and Smokey Bear @smokey_bear. That’s just from the first two pages (larger image).
Can someone at NASA PAO please explain this to me? Do you actually have a policy – one that is enforceable – and enforced? If so can you send it to me – but wait – please incude explanations as to why your own websites ignore that policy, if you don’t mind. Oh yes: is there a waiver process that allows the Rocket City Trash Pandas to be considered equal to an official NASA account? I’d love to read the justification. Just wondering. Have a nice day.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.