Here is a risky PR move — producing a celebrity-narrated video on a Mars landing before the landing has happened.  NASA’s confidence might be unwarranted given the history of unsuccessful approaches to the planet and since this landing is unusually complex, one could claim the agency’s confidence verges on arrogance.  Still, if it works, the agency has a PR vehicle it can use for some time to come, and NASA needs one in an era of deep budget cutting.  I’m not sure I would have the courage to take such a PR step even with all the engineering simulations and extra precautions NASA has taken to make sure the landing goes well.  Of course, if the landing fails, the space agency can always withdraw the video quickly.  In a time of stressed budgets, that would be a waste of resources.  However, my guess is no one would call them on it.

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