Friday, October 07, 2005

NASA Website Analysis: Searching for Humanity at NASA

  • In NASA's Shuttle Mission Archive outlining the Challenger launch, NASA writers broke down, by the second, the events leading up to the explosion and ultimate failure of this launch. They did not seem to qualify these events as failures, however. Rather, it seemed as if NASA was using the fact that they were able to understand exactly what caused the explosion as a way to represent the organization as intelligent. In this case however, it was NASA’s lack of intelligence that lead to the explosion that occurred. I would consider NASA’s message here to be very strategic in preserving NASA’s reputation, or saving face. As a secondary note, and from a spiritual perspective, it was very interesting to me that this launch was delayed 6 times due to weather and other reasons, as if the universe was trying to prevent it from happening.
  • In terms of the way NASA represented the history of the Columbia launch in their website, I thought it was very interesting that the only synopsis of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) Report that NASA gives its online readers is one written by an employee of NASA. This presents a biased view of the incident, as readers are only receiving the information NASA wants them to receive, as opposed to what is actual and should be received. Please note: the actual CAIB Report for this launch is no longer linked through NASA's website.
  • In terms of the organizational culture and climate of NASA, the website makes the organization seem very citizen friendly, as if just anyone has the potential to work at NASA. (I came back into my post today to set up a link to show you the actual print on the NASAJobs website, but mysteriously, that page is not available today, 10/16/05. Maybe NASA has been reading this blog?) This seems like a persuasive tactic to get people to support NASA. I also noticed that no negative NASA incidences were mentioned in any of the organizational pages, a strategic tool known as “omitting.”

*Please note: This blog post was updated on 10/16/05- Cristina Calderaro