It’s not only about inspiring the next generation of explorers, its about inspiring today’s scientists and engineers as well.
In 2007 (which seems like so long ago now), 16 young engineers, technologists and scientists at NASA came together to write a paper (PDF link) about the role of “participatory exploration”. Our goal was to influence NASA senior leadership to adopt a more participatory, collaborative and transparent approach to the way government does business, and to proactively engage citizens to help address the many challenges facing the Agency. We were young, passionate and convinced that if the space agency we loved truly wanted to remain relevant to the world around us, we had to start thinking about things differently.
In that paper we made many great points that still resonate with me today. Here are a few that stand out:
Participatory exploration allows citizens from outside the NASA workforce, as well as within, to contribute in meaningful ways to their space program.
Participatory exploration creates a mechanism for NASA to engage non-traditional audiences and to leverage the diversity and volume of this talent in tangible and meaningful ways.
Participatory exploration is critical for sourcing new ideas, solving difficult problems, and executing ...