Saturday, December 22, 2007

Another Year in Review Emphasizes Prizes

New Scientist gives us another of those "year in review" articles. This one is on spaceflight. As with similar articles I've mentioned, it gives space prizes a lot of weight considering the relatively low funding for the prizes. The article also emphasizes NewSpace events and robotic science spacecraft far more than NASA's Ares I/Orion plans (which interestingly are covered mainly under section "NASA woes"). I think that reflects on the level of interest in, and expectation of results from, the public has in the prizes, NewSpace activities, and robotic science missions compared to ESAS.

Since the ESAS rockets don't attempt to lower launch costs, don't encourage much commercial (not contractor) activity, and don't even help the non-NASA space field by using EELVs, they should at least have strong public support and (non-scandal-related) interest. Yet if "year in review" articles like this one are any indication, it seems the professional judgement of the media is the public isn't tremendously interested in ESAS. That leads to the question "Why isn't the public interested in ESAS?", followed by "How can ESAS be changed so the public is interested in it?". I suspect the answer has nothing to do with communication strategies, but rather is all about changing ESAS so it has some of the characteristics of the activities (space prizes, COTS, NewSpace, robot science probes) the public apparently is interested in.