While everyone gets an idea of all of the exciting engineering tests and evaluations going on this week in Key Largo, Fla. for the upcoming NEEMO 15 mission from these daily blogs, not many folks know about what goes on behind the scenes to inform YOU about what’s happening with the day-to-day activities. What it takes to get the word out, what it takes to let you in on the cool tests and evaluations that these hardworking engineers perform undersea and on the ocean floor at the Aquarius habitat, and what it takes to bring the action to you, so you can enjoy it, interact with it, learn from it, and be inspired by it.
One method would be a blog, just like this. Another, perhaps a press release or media advisory or interviews with media outlet, or maybe one of those new fancy social media outlets. Who updates those and answers all of the questions? What about all of those cool photos… who takes them, who organizes them, how are they stored? And let’s not forget about those really awesome live interactive education events! How in the world do you coordinate getting into a classroom full of kids in a remote location, tying in an education specialist at Johnson Space Center, adding a live video feed from a boat out at the Aquarius, talking live with a person at the Aquarius Reef Base Watch Desk, and interactively chatting online at the website where the live video feeds?
How we inform the media or public, how we bring live education events to classrooms, how we document and record the mission, takes more than one person and more than one asset. It takes a team of people located in different centers and some on-site, to know all the technical details of the mission and to be able to follow what is happen throughout the day to entertain, interact with, inspire you.
So, here is an snapshot of our Education and Public Outreach activities that happen on a typical day during our NEEMO mission during our engineering evaluations. We start our day bright and early, with our all-hands meeting with the NEEMO mission manager. From there, we get ready for the rest of outreach activities throughout the day. For example, set up a phone interview with a national media outlet, conduct recorded interviews with subject matter experts for use during live events or in the case of a communication issue during a live event, write a basic script and coordinate and test the communication equipment and phone lines for interactive education event that will occur the following day, continually update Facebook and answer questions, tweet throughout the day and respond to questions on Twitter, meet with the engineering team when they get back from their day activities, download all of the photos and videos taken throughout the day to a server, sort through and pick favorites to upload to Flickr and write captions for those. Coordinate a photo shoot at mission control. Write a blog, such as this! Set up for a live distance learning (DLN) event and execute it.. Pretty crazy, huh?! And then, the day ends by documenting all of the work, lessons learned, preparing for the next day, and it all starts all over again the next day.
The Education and Public Outreach (EPO) team interviews subject matter experts on systems deployed during the engineering tests. Photo credit: NASA