NASA wants to build a very special lab to prevent Martian plague. Although. when communicating, the facility’s developers will need to take the public interest into account in addition to research.
The team assessed that the possibility of tardiness posed “significant programmatic risk” to the Mars Sample Return. After all, the return is likely to be more complex in terms of paperwork than that of exclusively terrestrial ventures, reports News Cinema.
NASA wants its effort to be compliant with both worldwide planetary-protection policies and its own supplementary objectives. The Sample Receiving Facility would also need to be approved under the National Environmental Policy Act, which would necessitate the creation of an environmental impact statement. The spaceship and its on-board facility may also have to cope with National Security Presidential Directive 25, which governs technological and scientific research that may have significant environmental consequences. This is not to dismiss official interest from the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Homeland Security with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and possibly other state and local governments.
However, the team discovered that connecting with the public, rather than simply government organizations, was critical to project success. Transparency with the public, according to Dr. Rummel, is critical not only for winning public support but also for keeping the endeavor accountable and safe. “Total openness is the only thing that’s going to make this work, which means that you have to do the right thing,” he said.
“If you thought you had any of this that you had to keep secret, then you shouldn’t be doing it,” he added.
When communicating, the facility’s developers will need to take the public interest into account in addition to research. When Scott Hanton, editorial director of the periodical Lab Manager, considers the perception and communication problems that NASA will confront with the Sample Receiving Facility, two additional acronyms spring to mind: NIMBY and WIIFM. Not In My Backyard and What’s in It For Me must always be balanced.
Dr. Hanton believes that the latter question must be answered from the perspective of the resident. “Not just from the scientist’s perspective of learning something new,” he said. “But why should the neighborhood, the region, the state, the country, embark on this investment and this risk?”