The Museum of Science Fiction, the world’s first comprehensive science fiction museum, has entered into a Space Act Agreement (SAA) with National Aeronautics and Space Administration to further public outreach and education in science. Through this partnership, the Museum will have access to NASA’s vast resources and be able to share important accomplishments by NASA scientists and engineers with the Museum’s student community. “One of NASA’s core goals is inspiring students to be future scientists, engineers, and explorers,” said Jason Derleth, Program Executive, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), Space Technology Mission Directorate. “We look forward to working with the Museum of Science Fiction to expand the public’s knowledge of space exploration.”
“Every day, NASA is turning science fiction into reality,” said Mandy Sweeney, Vice President of Operations for the Museum of Science Fiction and former NASA consultant. “We are thrilled to partner with them through this SAA. There’s no doubt having access to the incredible minds at NASA will be a tremendous benefit to the Museum’s community and its educational programs.”
Article 2 of the SAA reads:
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Museum of Science Fiction (“the Museum”) enter an agreement for collaboration on increasing awareness of and interest in innovation, inspiration, technology, and technology-related careers. In accordance with this partnership, NASA and the Museum agree to share content and expertise to deliver inspirational programming to the public that inspires innovation and interest in aerospace technology, science, and exploration. A defining characteristic of the Museum’s mission and program delivery is the coupling of science fiction with science fact to inspire imagination, learning, and ultimately innovation. Accordingly, NASA’s participation will be led by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, in the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). NIAC is a visionary, far-term research program that has already performed credible study of several concepts that originated in science fiction, so NIAC is a natural partner for the Museum. NASA’s participation, expertise, and content in Museum programming will make it more relevant and effective in reaching the desired audiences and inspiring them to action.
The NASA-Museum collaboration will allow the parties to: 1) participate in and increase awareness about Museum and NASA events and programming that marries the themes of science fiction to science fact, 2) share content and ideas for exhibitions; and 3) enhance Museum classroom programs, related to aerospace and technology, for students.
One of the first major activities planned for the two organizations is “Escape Velocity,” a three-day STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) event in June, 2016. Escape Velocity will be like a micro-futuristic world’s fair, blending education with science and science fiction, through a variety of thought-provoking programs:
- Panel discussions, photos, and autographs with celebrity guests such as former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy, author David Brin of The Postman, Earth, and Existence, author Greg Bear of the Eon series, Star Trek screenwriter Morgan Gendel, and many more still to be announced over the coming months
- Animatronics, high resolution 3D scanning/printing, and robotics demonstrations
- Science fiction trivia celebrity shoot-out with the Museum’s new mobile app
- Technology forum and over-the-horizon prototype demonstrations
- Museum exhibits, displays, and new technology video game design
- Mini film festival with the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival
- Costume and model building workshops and contests
- Recognition service and leadership category awards
- Exhibition floor and vendor tables
- Screenwriters workshop
The Museum will bring “Escape Velocity” to the Washington, DC metro area on the weekend of June 30, 2016. This expo debuts on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and will be like a micro futuristic world’s fair, giving fans a chance to celebrate science fiction and comic con activities while tying both to STEAM education.
“This event sits between Comic Con and the USA Science and Engineering Festival,” said Mandy Sweeney, vice president, operations for the Museum and former NASA consultant. “Blending STEAM education with science fiction is central to the Museum’s mission. Currently, there really aren’t any large-scale, community events that intentionally deliver informal learning inspired by science fiction. We want people to have a lot fun and learn some interesting things along the way. The Museum of Science Fiction and this event are perfect vehicles to achieve that escape velocity, boost interest in STEAM, and escape to a brighter future – hence the con’s name.”