Public Relations

Our mission cannot succeed without an active and engaging public relations campaign. In order for Congress to award NASA the necessary funds for the mission, Congress must see overwhelming public support for the project. Thus, we propose an intense public awareness program, which will target all subsets of the community. This program will take place primarily in the first two years of the mission. A program which plans to integrate learning about space exploration and the search for life on Mars with general curriculum will be introduced in public schools nationwide. A special public relations committee will be responsible for providing teachers with a monthly information folder that will include general space exploration history, facts about Mars, and possible benefits of the mission. The information can then be adapted to accomodate any grade level and fit into various subjects, including science, history, and social studies. After this program, we will also start a series of television programs, which will cover similar material, but at a more mature level. Consequently, adults will become more interested in the mission and more aware of the possible benefits. To appeal to a sense of national pride and adventure, we will support movies such as James Cameron's forthcoming film about Martian exploration. These movies should capture a large audience and awaken public support for the next great space endeavor.

The final element of our public relations agenda is the release of our mission's findings. The controversy surrounding the Alan Hills meteorite has taught us the importance of not releasing findings prematurely. If, after extensive analysis, it is determined that life has been discovered on Mars, it is important to investigate the consequences (religious, medical, etc.) of the discovery and keep these issues in mind when releasing the information to the public. If no life is found, we will have to justify having spent the money and emphasize the positive aspects of the mission; i.e., a manned exploration of another planet, developing new technology, etc. The group could also shift its goals or definition of success to fit the findings. Any other possibilities will be addressed if and when they arise.

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Comments and questions to mission2004-students@mit.edu Last updated: 10 December, 2000