After grabbing the attention of all 100 PR professionals at PRSA Houston’s lunch meeting Wednesday, Michael A. Kincaid, a NASA director of external relations, continued to engage his audience, sprinkling space-trivia questions into his description of NASA’s communication efforts.
- Out of 135 space-shuttle missions, 35 flew parts to assemble what?
- Name one requirement for becoming an astronaut.
- Who landed from space yesterday (March 1) after 340 days?
- Why do we need a space station to explore the universe?
NASA’s mission is threefold:
Reach new heights. Reveal the unknown. Benefit all mankind.
It’s no surprise that he compared his team’s job to Lucy and Ethel working the chocolate-factory assembly line.
Kincaid got laughs for other comments as well, including, “We don’t have a bottom line like most businesses. We spend your tax money, and we always want more of it.”
Kincaid said the movie “’The Martian’ was a great opportunity to help tell our story.” Perhaps that’s why this year’s eight-week astronaut-application window pulled in a record 18,300-plus applicants.
“On a personal note, I’d like to say that Matt Damon deserved the best-actor award,” he said.
“One of our astronauts said 90 percent of the movie/book is exactly right. Five percent is silly. And 5 percent is ‘Dang—that’s a great idea.’”
Kincaid and crew took full advantage of the movie’s popularity and, among other missions, created a website called The Real Martians.
In fact, was it “The Martian” or NASA’s external communication that spurred One Direction, the English-Irish pop boy band to create a video that has been viewed, so far, by 373 million people?
- The International Space Station.
- To apply, you need a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering or math; three-plus years of related professional experience; and the ability to pass a NASA astronaut physical.
- Scott Kelly (whose twin brother Mark, also an astronaut, served as part of the Earth-bound control group).
- So we know what we’re up against.