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Pluto Fly-By

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PlutoFlyBy

NASA's New Horizons probe has visited a place never before visited by a robotic probe from Earth: Pluto. In July 2015, the spacecraft completed a nearly-decade-long journey to fly by Pluto and revealed humanity's first close-up look at the distant dwarf planet (Dwarf planet). The goal of the dissemination was to communicate results of the mission and facts about Pluto to the broader audience

Who?

NASA as a first party in the project initiated the dissemination. The aim was to target the general public as an audience, by revealing interesting facts about Pluto to the audience and presenting the results in a simplified way.
What & How?
Different dissemination activities were conducted, such as a Twitter campaign, live streams, YouTube videos, and press, by disseminating text, video, data, software and simulations.
Outputs of the dissemination activities were very rich and can be categorized into images, series of videos, live streams, simulation software, blogs, scientific data, reports and scientific articles.

What & How?

Different dissemination activities were conducted, such as a Twitter campaign, live streams, YouTube videos, and press, by disseminating text, video, data, software and simulations.
Outputs of the dissemination activities were very rich and can be categorized into images, series of videos, live streams, simulation software, blogs, scientific data, reports and scientific articles.

When?

Certain dissemination activities are evident after the second and third research lifecycle phases - Instrument development and Data Collection/Implementation. However, most of the dissemination takes place after having important results, findings, i.e., in the fifth research life-cycle phase - Publication.

Relation to Open Science

The rights of the published scientific results, images and videos are held by NASA. The FreeFlyer simulation software is proprietary commercial software, whereas the NASA’s Eyes software is developed by the California Institute of Technology, so they hold the rights. For scientific articles published by Nature or Elsevier, the rights are managed by the corresponding publisher.
Scientific data gathered during the mission that are publicly available can be used by researchers for further investigations. Scientific articles underwent a classical peer review process. Available alternative metrics are: the number of newspaper headlines, number of views of YouTube videos, number of tweets or number of downloads of the simulation software.
It can, therefore, be concluded that NASA followed the paradigm of a rather closed research activity.

Effort

Within the Pluto fly-by project, very professional and high-quality dissemination materials are produced (i.e., high-quality videos, reports or NASA's Eyes simulation software). Based on the methodology for generating the estimates for the cost dimension described in section 4.2, the costs are estimated to be high (>= EUR 50,000).

Impact

Followed by social media, press, TV, made international headlines; it became the perfect media storm. The Pluto story was on the cover of more than 450 newspapers in multiple languages. The New Horizons team produced new images of Pluto with analysis and informed members of the general public about new discoveries on Pluto.

Gender

The first party of the project is NASA (compared to other projects, in which founders are individuals), thus, it is not so easy to identify the gender dimension in this project. According to some blogs, men (maybe in majority) and women are represented in the team of NASA behind Pluto fly-by. However, due to the scope of the project, the gender-sensitive language is not visible in the dissemination materials. For example, the NASA team is mentioned as a team, without distinguishing between male and female.

Highlight

Method: “Pluto in a Minute” videos

NASA broke down interesting facts about Pluto and findings from the mission in one minute long videos. In each video, a NASA scientist talks about a specific topic, e.g. Pluto’s moons; the findings are visualized using stills and animations. The “Pluto in a Minute” videos provide interesting bits of information about Pluto in a way that is understandable for an interested audience. A similar format is Minute Physics, which is done in the RSA Animate style.

Link

For a more extensive analysis of the Pluto Fly-By case study, please follow the link: http://openup-h2020.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/OpenUP_D4.1_Practices-evaluation-and-mapping.-Methods-tools-and-user-needs.pdf

Additional Info

  • I am a: Young scholar, Researcher, Project manager, Funder, Publisher
  • Domain: Scholarly Dissemination
  • Type of resource: Case studies
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