It was February 2008 when I posted my first article on opennasa.com! So much has changed both at NASA and in the world since then. We originally launched opennasa.com because we were a group of people extremely passionate about space exploration that wanted to share, first hand, our perspective of what was happening inside the U.S. space program. We started a conversation that lasted 3.5 years. 277 posts, 5,274 comments, 347 tags and an average of ~54 unique visitors per day. It’s been such an amazing adventure. We have really appreciated the conversation and the #opengov community that has formed within the space industry since then.
Yesterday we launched open.nasa.gov. Like openNASA, the new site will be a collaborative platform for the open government community to share success stories and projects they are working on. We are excited to finally have a home on nasa.gov and look forward to highlighting the ways that transparency, participation, and collaboration are being embraced by NASA policy, technology, and culture and discuss the amazing future that becomes possible because of that commitment.
For over half a century, NASA has inspired people across the world to look to the heavens and wonder what secrets are hidden within the cosmos. Solving those mysteries has long been the domain of lab-coat wearing scientists in government agencies and universities. However, with the advent of the internet, social web, and open source data, it has become possible for anyone to make scientific discoveries about our universe. Find out how you can actively contribute to space exploration and how the collective power of the internet is enabling the future of scientific research.
Much of the work we do at NASA is truly world-class and routinely we push the capabilities of science and engineering by leading the way. Lately, I’ve thought a lot about how we can push the envelope of our engineering work to improve how we build spacecraft at NASA Goddard, where I work.
But I find that often we are like the mad scientist who invents new technology that is going to change our lives, but can’t seem to find his wallet. It seems that we often cannot do some very practical, day-to-day activities to keep our “capability engine” well tuned, poised, and ready to strike at solving the next big problem.
I think there are tremendous opportunities for us at Goddard and more broadly across NASA to improve our process of the way we do engineering and to introduce some new tools that will substantially allow us to stop re-inventing the wheel and focus more on solving the titan challenges we face everyday.
There are three areas which I believe can tremendously help. They are the title of this article. I will dive into each of them below.
Over the past year and a half I have seen Tx/Rx Labs grow from a 300 sqft room to a 4000 sqft lab. By collaborating with each other, Tx/Rx Labs makes innovation accessible to everyone. Whether it be learning new skills, accessing equipment, tapping into another member’s knowledge, Tx/Rx Labs facilitates the path to working on technology. In March, Tx/Rx Labs will be hosting HACK-B-Q, a technology demo series where we will show some of the cool projects we have been working on. Please show your support for the movement by coming out, and telling your friends.
Please help to spread the word about the Space Technology Fellowships inaugural call for Fellows. The due date is February 23, 2011 to allow for review and selections to be made for the Fall 2011 term. If you are a current graduate student (Masters or PhD) please also consider applying!
The NASA Advisory Council provides perspective, advice, and counsel to NASA leadership on areas of importance to the agency. The Council has nine committees, one of which is the Education and Public Outreach Committee. During their meetings, they receive updates on NASA programs and activities. The names in italics below were in attendance for the LAUNCH presentation this week. Now you can see it too.
Eight years ago, I was awakened one Saturday morning to a phone call from a good friend.
“Did you hear what happened? Are you watching the news?”
Groggy from having just woken up, I had little idea what I was about to see, as I trudged into my living room to turn on the television. I was least prepared. The late breaking news headline on CNN hit me, quite literally, like a ton of bricks: Space Shuttle Columbia had broken up over the skies of the southern United States as she came hurtling back to Earth with her crew of seven.
A lifelong “space nerd,” I’d dreamed of the day I would be able to say that I worked for NASA, and even more so of the day I could break free of gravity’s bonds. After a couple of NASA internships over the previous two years, I had acquired a taste for what it was like to be a part of the NASA community – a tight knit group of people who collectively recognized and appreciated the value of space exploration, many of whom, like me, grew up staring at the heavens at night, eyeing the moon as an eventual travel destination.
That morning, I sat in absolute disbelief as I watched the news unfold, while file footage provided graphic evidence of the disaster that took place over the skies of Texas. My thoughts immediately turned to not just the immediate family and friends of those who perished onboard Columbia, but to all of those who belonged to the NASA family…to my NASA family. Tears flowed as I saw images of the flight control team reacting to what they knew was the absolute worst possible scenario, a bad day amplified by a magnitude of infinity. Without even personally knowing those onboard, I felt a deep sorrow for their loss, for those close to them, and for NASA.
Last week, we held our West Coast LAUNCHpad Salon with the LAUNCH team to talk lessons learned from two successful events, LAUNCH:Water and LAUNCH:Health; and start planning LAUNCH:Energy. The Cazneau Group, one of our implementation partners, hosted the Salon at their offices in Sausalito, California. Great conversation, great setting, great food. But best of all, great common goal — to bring about positive change to our home planet, one innovation at a time.