State of NASA
I was fortunate enough to be a part of NASA Social earlier this month at AMES Exploration Center in Mountain View for the first State of NASA (Kennedy Space Center in Florida), which focused on the agency's journey to Mars.
What is a NASA Social, you ask?
Someone who is selected and agrees to use social media to disseminate and promote the NASA event. Basically, ten of us lucky tech-savvy social media users got to try to make NASA look sexy and, or help inform part of the general public that may not have been reached before.
It was super exciting to be at a NASA center for the first time in person and learn about what they've been into. My takeaways were:
-NASA employees seemed to highlight how little they had to spend in order to build some high-tech stuff that can get to space
-It's almost offensive how easy it is for startups like Yo and Snapchat to raise millions of dollars for apps while NASA struggles to bootstrap itself to space for the livelihood of humanity.
-The overall mood of NASA's past accomplishments and outlook for future projects was positive. Listening to Charles Bolden made me more a little more optimistic about the rest of my life on earth.
The State of NASA on Feb. 2, 2015 at the Ames Exploration Center in Mountain View.
Measuring tape attached to a $10,000 nanosatellite (as small as 10 inches), because they are great, foldable antennae. It was on display at the State of NASA at the Ames Exploration Center in Mountain View on Feb. 2, 2015.
NASA is experimenting with sending out multiple nanosatellites that talk to each other and take turns being "captains" that report back to ground instead of sending one big one. The little ones can cover more ground at once than a big one could in a shorter amount of time. With a modest budget, NASA has to come up with economical and creative ways to continue with its missions.
A nanosatellite with 3D printed parts at the State of NASA on Feb. 2, 2015 at the Ames Exploration Center in Mountain View, CA.
A yeast-group activation pack on display at the State of NASA event on Feb. 2, 2015 at the Ames Exploration Center in Mountain View. NASA is experimenting with yeast to see how it grows in space, and to learn how to better manage and treat infections on Earth.
A robot used for testing in the roverscape at the NASA Ames Research Center at the first State of NASA on Feb. 2, 2015.
A Spherical Underactuated Planetary Exploration Robot (SUPER) ball on display on Feb. 2, 2015 during the State of NASA event at the Ames Exploration Center in Mountain View . Aside from cheap computer components, it is also made with 3D printed parts.
Sriram Narasimhan, a contractor from UC Santa Cruz, gives a briefing of the agency's Automated Contingency Management (ACM) project at the State of NASA on Feb. 2, 2015 at the Ames Exploration Center in Mountain View.