No, NASA is not opening an inter-planetary space travel agency, but while interest in space is at a level unseen since the race to the moon NASA is looking to build on this excitement.
NASA becoming a PR firm
“The Martian” starring Matt Damon was never going to be the biggest movie of the year with Star Wars: The Force Awakens being reboot in the same year, but it did pretty well and made NASA and astronauts, hell colonizing Mars, look pretty cool. Add to that the fact that tens of thousands of Tesla drivers just watched the man behind the car they love vertically land a rocket after launching an array of satellites into space. Throw in some pictures of Pluto taken from NASA’s Blue Horizon, confirmation of water on Mars and the identification on an Earth-like exoplanet in Kepler 452b (needs a better name) and what you have is a genuine American interest in space.
While NASA had nothing to do with it, the collision of two black holes, the LIGO team, Dr. Sheldon Cooper and The Big Bang Theory, and the confirmation of Einstein’s theories yesterday and you have a genuine interest in physics if your Facebook feed was anything like mine yesterday and today.
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NASA builds on the groundswell
As a tax-payer funded organization, the agency needs tax-payer dollars and it needs people calling their congressperson to get it especially with this “Congress.”
While Congress gave NASA $19.6 billion last year ($19.3 in 2016) and has another $19 billion ear-marked for the agency in the budget that Obama just submitted to Congress (2017), NASA still wants you to be excited.
It’s for this reason that NASA has recently released 360-degree views of Mars’ dunes as well as the unveiling this week of 14 good-humored space tourism posters that it contracted the company Invisible Creatures to design for the agency. Perhaps “good-humored” is the wrong word, these are beautifully done vintage space tourism pictures that I’m already having blown up and framed from the images released this week. I’m not sure I have room in my house for all 14 and I still wish to have sex with attractive women, but that’s neither here nor there.
“[NASA] gave us notes, bullet points, kind of what topics or themes that visually should be hit in each poster,” Don Clark, one of two brothers responsible for the posters, told the Verge.
Space is fun, and our space agency just wants you to remember that.