The Challenge Facing NASA (and You)
Notwithstanding the special status assigned the space program in this piece, NASA faces precisely the same challenge when it comes to articulating the importance of its science missions to everyday life. Indeed, to many everyday people NASA itself is the ethereal domain of highly trained professionals with "the right stuff." This gut-level conclusion is a forty-year-old relic of the last time the Space Program captured the attention of the entire world at a deeply personal level. Today's reality is that people feel disconnected from what NASA science does, due in part to "an inability to get its message across to the public."
Ironically, this "right stuff" conclusion is simply not true. NASA, like any other successful enterprise, is made up of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. True, NASA is rocket scientists and astronauts . . . and so much more. A closer look reveals that it is a rich microcosm of American society. Yes, it has scientists and engineers, but it also has business managers, food service workers, lawyers, electricians, accountants, secretaries, police officers, etc. - each with an important role, each with a community of "colleagues" outside the Agency, and each with stories to tell that potentially can bring NASA back to Earth.
For a start regarding the issues involved in the public understanding of science, we recommend you first:
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Last Modified: Mon Aug 23, 2004
CSR/TSGC Team Web