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Space and Society Editor-in-Chief: Douglas A Vakoch Fulvio Drigani Communicating Space Exploration Challenges, State of the Art and Future Trends Space and Society Editor-in-Chief Douglas A Vakoch, METI International, San Francisco, CA, USA Series Editors Setsuko Aoki, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan Anthony Milligan, King’s College London, London, UK Beth O’Leary, Department of Anthropology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, USA The Space and Society series explores a broad range of topics in astronomy and the space sciences from the perspectives of the social sciences, humanities, and the arts As humankind gains an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the structure and evolution of the universe, critical issues arise about the societal implications of this new knowledge Similarly, as we conduct ever more ambitious missions into space, questions arise about the meaning and significance of our exploration of the solar system and beyond These and related issues are addressed in books published in this series Our authors and contributors include scholars from disciplines including but not limited to anthropology, architecture, art, environmental studies, ethics, history, law, literature, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, and sociology To foster a constructive dialogue between these researchers and the scientists and engineers who seek to understand and explore humankind’s cosmic context, the Space and Society series publishes work that is relevant to those engaged in astronomy and the space sciences, while also being of interest to scholars from the author’s primary discipline For example, a book on the anthropology of space exploration in this series benefits individuals and organizations responsible for space missions, while also providing insights of interest to anthropologists The monographs and edited volumes in the series are academic works that target interdisciplinary professional or scholarly audiences Space enthusiasts with basic background knowledge will also find works accessible to them More information about this series at http://www.springer.com/series/11929 Fulvio Drigani Communicating Space Exploration Challenges, State of the Art and Future Trends 123 Fulvio Drigani Frascati, Italy ISSN 2199-3882 ISSN 2199-3890 (electronic) Space and Society ISBN 978-3-030-33211-2 ISBN 978-3-030-33212-9 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33212-9 © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland “You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon1 airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.” “Why, what did she tell you?” “I don’t know, I didn’t listen.” —Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” 1985 The Vogons are aliens from the planet Vogsphere in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy They are unpleasant bureaucrats who destroyed Earth to make a Galactic hyperspace route by-pass To my parents Acknowledgements First of all, I would like to thank Stefano Sandrelli, currently Head of the Education and Outreach Office at INAF, Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, and writer of space books for adults and kids, who actively participated in the early phase of the project and has provided contributions that were included in Sects 2.4 and 4.2 Secondly, I also have to thank Rossella Spiga, astronomer and science communicator at the University of Padua, Italy, who was an active contributor to the book In fact, she wrote the entirety of Chap and made some contributions to Chap A special thanks goes to my daughter, Valeria Irem, for her technical and graphical support, and to Fabrizio L’Abbate, Head of Corporate Identity Unit, ESA, who advised me on the notion of Corporate Identity ix Contents What This Book Is About 5 11 15 Institutional Space Communication 3.1 Strategic Questions and Target Groups 3.2 Assets and Limits 3.3 Powerful Messages but in a Competitive Information Society 3.4 Challenges of Space Communication 3.5 The Communication Funnel 3.6 Crisis Communication 3.7 Available Communication Tools and Their Evolution Over Time References 19 19 21 26 31 36 40 44 45 Space Communication for the Public 4.1 The Interested, the Neutral and the Residual Publics 4.2 The General Public’s Attitudes Towards Space 4.3 Some Important Segments of the General Public 4.3.1 Astronaut Followers and Amateur Astronomers 4.3.2 The Science-Informed General Public References 47 47 48 51 52 56 57 Space Communication for the Stakeholders 5.1 Decision-Makers 5.2 Media, Opinion Leaders and Influencers 59 59 62 Science and Space in Society 2.1 Science in Society 2.2 Science and Its Values 2.3 The Role of Science Communication 2.4 The Fascination of Space References xi xii Contents 5.3 The Scientific Community 5.4 Industry References 66 67 73 Some Space Missions and Events as Case Studies on Space Communication 6.1 Sputnik 6.2 Yuri Gagarin 6.3 Apollo (11-13) 6.4 The Hubble Space Telescope 6.5 First Crew Aboard the ISS 6.6 Mars Rovers 6.7 Massimino’s First Tweet from Space 6.8 The International Space Station Cupola 6.9 The Rosetta Mission 6.10 The Stratos Mission 6.11 SpaceX References 75 75 77 81 84 87 88 92 94 97 100 101 103 Future Trends in Space Communication 7.1 Introduction 7.2 Trends in Space Industry and Science 7.3 Trends in Communication 7.4 Institutional Space Communication in the Future References 107 107 108 110 112 114 6.9 The Rosetta Mission 99 The key people involved were featured extensively in ESA promotional material, on TV channel interviews and documentaries, and across social media They were shown during live key events, during their daily work and in ESA’s control room in the exciting moments when Rosetta reached the comet These moments were experienced at ESA in the same way that those of Curiosity were at NASA It is important to notice that, in this way, probably for the first time in Europe, key people were not only contributing, through their interviews and commentaries, as seasoned professionals, but also as human beings who were emotionally involved in the success of the mission The Rosetta communication campaign (Bauer et al 2016) capitalised on the experience of the Mars rovers, releasing real-time information about what was going on hundreds of millions of kilometres away, and providing a continuous coverage via social media, which, in the meantime, had become mature communication tools In this respect, it is important to notice that Rosetta mission was launched in 2004, before the arrival of social media as mass-communication channels Despite this, their role in making Rosetta one of the ESA’s biggest communication and public engagement successes was central The two Twitter accounts—@ESA_Rosetta and @Philae2014—communicated in the first person and, between them, via Twitter, engaged the followers in friendly conversations about their journey and adventures in the Solar System An interesting aspect that stresses the human dimension of the mission was the fact that the two protagonists, Rosetta and Philae, similarly to what had been done with the Mars rovers, acted as if they were live beings Their tweets were often accompanied by images from the cartoon series “Once upon a time…” (ESA Science 2017) in order to reinforce the connection between the fictional spacecraft characters and the mission’s human followers The cartoon (Baldwin et al 2016) presented Rosetta and Philae as two brave explorers on a pioneering journey across the Solar System and was published on ESA’s websites and YouTube channel The journey was narrated by a “grandfather,” represented by ESA’s Giotto spacecraft, which, in 1986, was the first spacecraft to get close to a comet The NASA cometary missions, Deep Impact and Stardust were depicted as cousins (Fig 6.19) When Rosetta woke up, the message was a familiar “Hello, World!” (Baldwin et al 2016), tweeted in 23 languages, allowing followers to retweet it in their own native languages The use of multilingual tweets was also repeated at the arrival The tweet was: “Hello, Comet!” (Baldwin et al 2016) The progress made in the meantime by the cellular phone industry also helped, since content was produced in formats that were suitable for social media and mobile devices, preferably in video form, in order to share stories with the relevant audiences as rapidly as possible Another part of the Rosetta communication campaign was the science-fiction movie “Ambition” (McCaughrean 2016; ESA Space in Videos 2014) Its aim was to entertain and engage non-traditional audiences, including film lovers, gamers and internet surfers The title referred to the goal of the mission, reminding the audience 100 Some Space Missions and Events as Case Studies … Fig 6.19 Rosetta’s lander Philae wakes up from hibernation Credit ESA of the risks and expectations of such a technological challenge, and the choice of a short format (about min) made it easy to share the video on the internet The movie represented an innovative but expensive6 approach to communicating the risks A core message of the film was, in fact, that humans are ambitious, that they want to explore the Universe, and thus accept the risks Released two weeks prior to the landing of Philae, the movie obtained 1.5 million views 6.10 The Stratos Mission The Stratos mission (Red Bull Stratos 2012) was a sky-diving project involving the Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who, on October 14, 2012, dove in a pressure suit from an altitude of about 39 km to the ground in about 10 For the first and 19 s, Baumgartner was in a free descent, after which he opened his parachute and continued to descend for about He reached a maximum speed of 835 km/h and broke the sound barrier without any consequence to his body, something that was seen by the organisers as a significant scientific result He landed in a desert area in New Mexico, USA The whole mission was financed by the Austrian beverage company Red Bull, which produces energy drinks For that very reason, the company has always been a sponsor of extreme sports events Felix Baumgartner, a controversial figure, was an ideal candidate to perform such as a sky diving He was in fact at the time known for his very dangerous stunts Producing this type of movies is quite expensive, and it can quickly drain the communication budget With reference to what said in Sect 3.3 on channel planning and budgeting, one therefore has to consider whether this type of investment is an optimal allocation of money or not 6.10 The Stratos Mission 101 One cannot really say that this mission was a space mission Nothing was actually carried out in space, and the description of the jump beginning “at the edge of space” was catchy, but not correct Scientifically, the edge of space is set at the so-called Karman line, which is at an altitude of about 100 km However, there are a number of reasons as to why the Stratos mission is of interest in regard to Space Communication The main ones are: • Red Bull stated that the “Purpose of the Red Bull Stratos mission is to transcend human limits” (Red Bull Stratos 2012) This statement, in conjunction with the claim that the balloon reached the edge of space, has positioned the mission in the general public’s mind within the evocative dimensions of the “fascination with space” and of “new frontier for humankind” The fact that the mission was not actually a space mission from a scientific standpoint has proved to be of no relevance for the millions of people who have enthusiastically followed it • The Stratos mission is a good example of genuine hype, attracting millions of people, most of whom are not knowledgeable on space and space research, who nonetheless got the sense that “space is cool”, and establishing a record on Youtube at the time with more than millions concurrent views • The mission was a very risky communication campaign for a private company, even one as used to high risk-high reward campaigns as Red Bull The company, in fact, was not only a sponsor, but also took the scientific lead in the mission If something bad had happened, Red Bull would have been blamed for the excessive risk taken and its campaign could have turned into a disaster However, a strong promotion on social media aimed at involving the public in the endeavour well before the jump, made viewers sympathetic and probably also prepared them for the possibility of a dramatic failure • There was criticism from some parts of the scientific community that did not see much value in the mission, did not qualify it as a scientific research programme and/or did not realise its potential in terms of communication The statement about “transcending human limits” (Red Bull Stratos 2012) was also challenged It was, in fact, felt by some that it conveyed a mistaken idea of space to the general public However, this criticism remained within the boundaries of scientific community, which had not been the target of the mission in terms of communication anyway 6.11 SpaceX SpaceX is a private Space company launched in 2002 (SpaceX 2017) by the visionary billionaire Elon Musk, creator of PayPal and several other projects and initiatives The basic idea behind SpaceX is to build relatively cheap rockets to allow humankind, in Musk’s words, to be “a true space faring civilisation” (Chaikin 2012) This can be achieved by avoiding the need to throw away the whole orbital rocket after each launch and reusing its first stage 102 Some Space Missions and Events as Case Studies … The first SpaceX launch vehicle was named Falcon 1, and it was the first private liquid fuel rocket ever In 2010, SpaceX became the only private company to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit and, in May 2012, its Dragon spacecraft, also designed to eventually carry astronauts into space, delivered cargo to and from the International Space Station Finally, in 2017, SpaceX successfully achieved the first re-flight of Falcon 9, its orbital class rocket, in this way demonstrating the savings that can be achieved with rocket reusability As Musk stated in a SpaceX webcast: …you fly and re-fly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of a rocket … (Amos 2017) SpaceX also developed a very powerful launcher named Falcon Heavy, and its success has created anxiety in the companies who had previously received most of the public funding, because its launch prices are below those of traditional launch vehicles Elon Musk claims that this is possible because simplicity is the basic principle of SpaceX’s design He underlines that the Space Shuttle operated in the exact opposite way, calling it “a Ferrari to the nth power” (Galeon 2017) Moreover, rockets such as Atlas V have usually been built in stages, each having different engines Falcon’s stages, contrastingly, maximise commonality and all have only one type of engine (Figs 6.20 and 6.21) SpaceX is very interesting from a communication standpoint for a certain number of reasons: • It is a very significant example of the fact that Space is not only a fascinating endeavour and a way to engage in science, but also a high tech industry that creates highly qualified jobs and technological spin-offs and that can also be a lucrative business These messages are very important for decision-makers worldwide; • Space is increasingly becoming a private business, and not merely a publiclyfunded initiative The more Space becomes privatised, the more communication about it will tend to be marketing We will therefore see, in the future, the public becoming aware of Space through marketing campaigns conducted by big high Fig 6.20 Lift off of Falcon carrying the Dscovr Satellite, 2015 Credit SpaceX 6.11 SpaceX 103 Fig 6.21 Long exposure of a Falcon launch shows its trajectory, 2016 Credit SpaceX tech corporations, significantly changing the way that information about space is communicated Inevitably, public Space Agencies will have to take that into account; • If big corporations invest in Space, it means that the economic development of humankind will go further and further in that direction Paradoxically, private corporations will probably be in a position to influence politicians more than public institutions, with the advantage being that space will rank higher on their agendas, but with the disadvantage that economic considerations will tend to prevail over scientific ones, obliging Agencies to fight their communication battles even more fiercely This can be avoided only if Space Agencies reconsider their role and identify areas in which they are unique This point will be dealt with in the next chapter References Amos, J.: Success for SpaceX ‘re-usable rocket’ BBC News https://www.bbc.com/news/scienceenvironment-39451401 (2017) Accessed 27 Aug 2019 Andrews, J.T., Siddiqi, A.A.: Into the Cosmos: Space Exploration and Soviet Culture University Press, Pittsburgh (2011) Armstrong, N.: ‘One Small Step for Man’: Moment of Neil Armstrong’s Famous Line https://www youtube.com/watch?v=J6jplPkbe8g (1969) Accessed 27 Aug 2019 Baldwin, E., Bauer, M., Homfeld, A.-M., Marcu, S., McCaughrean, M., Mignone, C., O’Flaherty, K.S., Palazzari, C.: How a cartoon series helped the public care about Rosetta and Philae CAP J 19, 12–18 https://www.capjournal.org/issues/19/19_21.php (2016) Accessed July 31, 2019 Bauer, M., Landeau-Costantin, J., McCaughrean, M.: The strategy and implementation of the Rosetta, communication campaign CAP J 19, 5–11 https://www.capjournal.org/issues/19/19_ 05.php (2016) Accessed 31 July 2019 104 Some Space Missions and Events as Case Studies … CBS News: 10:56:20 PM, EDT, 7/20/69: The Historic Conquest of the Moon as Reported to American People, page 60 CBS Television Network, New York (1970) Chaikin, A.: Live from the Moon: The Societal, Impact of Apollo NASA SP- 4801 https://history nasa.gov/sp4801-chapter4.pdf (2007) Accessed 26 July 2019 Chaikin, A.: Is SpaceX Changing the Rocket Equation? Air & Space Magazine https://www airspacemag.com/space/is-spacex-changing-the-rocket-equation-132285884/ (2012) Accessed 27 Aug 2019 ESA Science: 2017 Rosetta outreach resources http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/53593-outreach-resources/ #once-upon-a-time Accessed July 31, 2019 ESA Space in Videos: https://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2014/10/ambition_the_film (2014) Accessed 31 Aug 2019 Forster, E.M.: A room with a view Edward Arnold, London (1908) Galeon, D.: Elon Musk Says His Reusable Rockets Will Make Space Access 100-Times Cheaper We’re on our way to becoming “a space-faring civilization” Futurism https://futurism.com/elonmusk-says-his-reusable-rockets-will-make-space-access-100-times-cheaper (2017) Accessed 27 Aug 2019 Gilruth, R.R.: Apollo Expeditions to the Moon NASA Scientific and Technical Information Office NASA SP-350 https://history.nasa.gov/SP-350/ch-2-1.html (1975) Accessed 25 July 2019 Harwood, W.: Four years after final service call, Hubble Space Telescope going strong CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/ 1ae7cac0d167055e41e1f0da7b0ac6a3-588.html (2013) Accessed 26 July 2019 Howard, R.: Apollo 13 Movie Image Entertainment, Universal Pictures (1995) Hubblecast: https://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/archive/category/hubblecast/ Accessed 27 July 2019 Hubblesite News Releases: Amateur Astronomers Will Use NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, STScI https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/1992/news-1992-23.html (1992) Accessed 27 July 2019 IMDb Crazy Credits: Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0244365/ crazycredits (2005) Accessed 29 July 2019 Krasnova, A.: The first one beyond the Earth: it is eighty five years since Yuri Gagarin’s birthday Russian Geographical Society https://www.rgo.ru/en/article/first-one-beyond-earth-iteighty-five-years-yuri-gagarins-birthday (2019) Accessed 23 July 2019 Launius, R.D.: Apollo: A Retrospective Analysis NASA Monographs in Aerospace History, No https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/Apollomon/cover.html (1994) Accessed 24 July 2019 Lubin, A.: A successful failure Movie Monogram Pictures (1934) Massimino, M.: https://twitter.com/astro_mike (2009) Accessed 27 Aug 2019 Massimino, M.: Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe Crown Archetype, New York (2016) McCaughrean, M.: Ambition: a risky adventure in science communication CAP J 19, 21–28 https://www.capjournal.org/issues/19/19_21.php (2016) Accessed 31 July 2019 Mortimer, L.: The first man in space Norwich Evening News https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/ views/the-first-man-in-space-1-4972932 (2017) Accessed 28 Aug 2019 NASA: John F Kennedy Moon Speech—Rice Stadium https://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/ricetalk.htm (1962) Accessed 25 July 2019 NASA Scientific and Technical Information Office: Apollo Expeditions to the Moon NASA SP-350 https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-350/cover.html (1975) Accessed 24 July 2019 NASA SpacePlace: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/mars-rovers/en/ (2019a) Accessed 28 July 2019 NASA SpacePlace: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/mars-sojourner/en/ (2019b) Accessed 29 July 2019 Newcomb, A.: How the first ‘Twitter’ astronaut bucked all norms NBC News https://www nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/how-first-twitter-astronaut-bucked-all-norms-n754591 (2017) Accessed 30 July 2019 References 105 O’Meara, S.J.: The Demise of the HST Amateur Program In: Aguirre, E.L (ed.) Sky & Telescope https://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+demise+of+the+HST+amateur+program.a019661324 (1997) Accessed 27 July 2019 Public Broadcasting Service: The Moon and Domestic Policy http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/ americanexperience/features/moon-and-domestic-politics/ (2019a) Accessed 25 July 2019 Public Broadcasting Service: NASA Wives and Families http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/ americanexperience/features/moon-nasa-wives-and-families/ (2019b) Accessed 26 July 2019 Red Bull Stratos: www.redbullstratos.com (2012) Accessed 28 July, 2019 Russian Through the Lens: Happy birthday Sputnik-1 https://rttl.me/2017/10/04/happybirthdaysputnik-1/ (2017) Accessed 23 July 2019 Science Magazine: Catching a Comet 2015 Special issue American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) http://www.sciencemag.org/site/special/rosetta/ (2015) Accessed 31 July 2019 SpaceX: 2017 www.spacex.com Accessed 27 August 2019 STScI Communication and Outreach: www.stsci.edu/communications-and-outreach (2018) Accessed 27 July 2019 Sutherland, P.: Humankind’s fascination with Mars throughout history Skymania https://www skymania.com/wp/mans-fascination-with-mars/ (2007) Accessed 28 July 2019 Van Dijk, S., Ockels, J.W., Eckart, P.: The Earthview Project—An Outreach and Education Proposal for SMART-1 Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon In: Foing, B H., Perrry, M (eds.), Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon: ICEUM Held 10–14 July, 2000, at ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands European Space Agency, ESA SP-462, 2000, page 41 (2000) Weitering, H.: The Best Hubble Space Telescope Images of All Time! Space.com https://www space.com/best-hubble-space-telescope-images.html (2019) Accessed 28 July 2019 Worldlesstech: The Most Amazing Window Ever Created by Humankind https://wordlesstech com/most-amazing-window-ever-created-by-humankind/ (2011) Accessed 30 July 2019 Chapter Future Trends in Space Communication Abstract In line with some considerations that have been made throughout the book, this final chapter underlines the following ideas: • A fascination with space attracts many people and media in specific moments, but it is not enough to convince the majority of citizens to give priority to funds for space; • In reality, space-related research benefits life on Earth considerably, but this is not known as well as it should be; Therefore, in the future, distinct messages will have to be delivered to different target groups, although this will be done in a changed environment; • Space agencies will no longer be dominant in space research They will become enablers in a space economy that will be increasingly privatised and marketingoriented; • Space exploration will create incredible opportunities for raising interest, thanks to exploration of the Moon, Mars and exoplanets, as well as space tourism; • The evolution of communication tools will continue, allowing space communicators to understand and segment their public with unprecedented precision in order to offer exciting and engaging experiences In this way, institutional space communication, without jeopardising the quality and rigour of its messages, will have to get closer and closer to marketing analysis and to advanced forms of social media engagement 7.1 Introduction I am an optimist Anyone interested in the future has to be, otherwise he would simply shoot himself Arthur C Clarke, “The View from Serendip,” 1977 The future of space communication (Fig 7.1) will inevitably be the result of the combination of two elements: © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 F Drigani, Communicating Space Exploration , Space and Society, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33212-9_7 107 108 Future Trends in Space Communication Fig 7.1 Space, a planet, a person looking at stars Credit Pixabay, Michael Hiraeth (a) The future trends of space industry and science (b) The future trends in communication Space communication officers will have to face these two factors and they will need to be ready to react to the relevant challenges Failure to so, will forever put them in the unpleasant position of having to chase the events and suffer from the change, rather than being part of it I will try to give some insight on (a) in Sect 7.2 and on (b) in Sect 7.3, in order to be able to come to some conclusions in Sect 7.4 7.2 Trends in Space Industry and Science In an article recently published on the web (Merhaba et al 2019), it has been pointed out that Space Agencies are now in the Space 4.0 era According to the authors, Space 1.0 was the time of the early astronomers like Galileo, Space 2.0 was the era of the Cold War and of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, and Space 3.0 was the time of space collaboration, of which the ISS was the best example Both Space 2.0 and Space 3.0 were eras in which a small number of states around the world spent huge amounts of money through their agencies, who would, in turn, place contracts with a few powerful main contractors Space 4.0 is instead more and more characterised by the increasing number of private initiatives, with a few main actors, but also a crowd of small- and medium-sized enterprises In this new situation, new types of collaboration, such as public-private1 and private-private, will become more and more common and will tend to supplant public collaboration projects As an example of this, the authors NASA felt that times were changing and truly came to experience that transformation when the Shuttle was retired 7.2 Trends in Space Industry and Science 109 Fig 7.2 Space Industry Evolution Credit (Merhaba et al 2019) quote data that demonstrate that venture capital deals made in the USA by private space companies in 2017 were about twice as large as the annual budget of JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency This shift in space activities towards the private sector is creating a situation whereby space agencies and governments are loosing their dominant position and are now just some of the many actors in the space sector This evolution of the space sector is depicted in Fig 7.2 In such a situation, traditional space agencies will now need to redefine their future role in the space industry and become key enablers According to the same study, in fact, the future role of agencies can be summarised in the following points: Enable the national space sector; Foster private sector growth and attract foreign business; Define and communicate a clear vision and strategy Establish a conducive and strategic regulatory framework Be the national space sector’s international face Drive strategic space activities (Merhaba et al 2019) I tend to share this view and, from a communication standpoint, I am particularly interested in points 1, and As to point 1, “enable the national space sector,” I find that institutional space communication has to play a major role in promoting the space sector in its entirety.2 As to point 3, “define and communicate a clear vision and strategy,” institutional communication has the important duty to inform the public about the national space strategy As to point 6, “drive strategic space activities,” institutional communication shall continue its traditional role of communicating the achievements of those strategic space-related activities that need to remain public, such as, for example, the science missions in deep space and some of those within the solar system.3 As described in Sect 5.4 believe that some missions within the Solar System, for example, to the Moon, will become privatised in the foreseeable future 3I 110 Future Trends in Space Communication Let us now try to imagine the future global trends in Space exploration.4 In the short-middle term, i.e., within a generation, Mars could become a reachable destination and the Moon a docking station for astronauts It has been said that the first person to travel to Mars has already been born With the first person to land on Mars, humankind will once again experience a golden age of colonisation, one that will be shared globally and will unquestionably involve the use of new communication tools The International Space Station has so far represented only a human outpost, but, by reaching another planet, our vision of human frontiers will dramatically change and, thanks to widespread communication at all of the levels of society, all human beings will participate in this epochal revolution In the middle-long term, the scenario will change again: exoplanets will also become part of our vision of the World, as America started to be in the European culture five centuries ago, and discussing the presence of life on some exoplanets will be part of our everyday lives Moreover, Space tourism will also become a regular business, allowing people to spend some vacation time in space All of these new achievements will demonstrate to the entire planet the degree to which space science is deeply shaping tomorrow’s World and society, a truly unique opportunity that space communication shall not miss 7.3 Trends in Communication Working in communication is and will continue to be challenging Understanding the needs of the various target groups and following the technological and behavioural trends of modern society is, in fact, a complex task If you listen to marketing experts (Chrzanowska 2015), you will hear them talking about the four points below when they talk about the marketing of the future: • • • • Engagement; Experience; Exclusivity; Emotion The point that they are making is that people don’t buy products anymore but rather experiences and emotions One could argue that space communication officers not sell products, but it is a fact of life that they have to adapt to social trends anyway The truth is that the public, and millennials in particular, is used to: • Being engaged (through social media); • Participating in experiences (through multimedia and live content); This discussion does not pretend to analyse the future of exploration from a scientific point of view, but simply to highlight which trends are particularly relevant for institutional communication 7.3 Trends in Communication 111 • Looking for exclusivity (for example, by participating in a club of space fans that offers exclusive opportunities to meet scientists and astronauts and to obtain limited edition gadgets); • Being emotionally involved (the dream of travelling into the unknown, the search for other forms of life, etc.) How can this be done? An important point in this direction is to build one-to-one relations As mentioned in Sects 3.1 and 3.2, this approach is already in place, since messages are already defined by the groups at which they are targeted, but with the combination of big data and social media, this process has to go deeper.5 This is possible because data analysis has now reached a level at which the public can be segmented into very small groups with similar interests, preferences and demographics The next step is to build a deep and solid relationship with them, something that cannot be achieved by simply interacting on social media This is too superficial a level and only has short-term effects, since the public participates without passion What is needed is to engage them directly The second point is that influencers today have the power to shape opinions The public, especially the younger demographic, feels that influencers speak its language and has confidence in their recommendations Moreover, no matter whether this corresponds to reality or not, young people tend to believe in what they hear from social media, while they often think that traditional media channels are not trustworthy Consequently, cooperation with professional and reliable influencers will become more and more of a need for space communication officers, just as it was in the old days6 with space journalists and opinion leaders A third key point is that, for the same reasons, space research will always need astronauts to promote its activities Even if robots could the job, first of all, they would have to be designed to look and behave believably human, becoming real characters And second of all, actual human astronauts will always remain the best for giving testimonials, provided that they act in a natural way and convince the public that they are genuine in what they say In this respect, storytelling will be more and more of a key asset (Forbes Communication Council 2018) Public involvement will, in fact, depend on how a particular “space story” is told, and video communication will likely be predominant As to the technical aspects of their job, space communication officers should remember that they will never be able to impose a communication channel on society On the contrary, they will always be the ones who will have to adapt to the new technological trends of their target audience If, for example, Facebook becomes obsolete, they will have to abandon (or substantially reduce) their investment in that platform and move to newer, trendier technologies, even if they have already invested a lot of effort in it See Sect 3.5, the communication funnel still is And 112 Future Trends in Space Communication 7.4 Institutional Space Communication in the Future Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real —Jules Verne, “Around the World in Eighty Days,” 1873 All of us have dreamed about: • • • • The first satellite in space; The first human being in space; The first landing on the Moon; The first spacewalk these are the themes that dominated the first missions mentioned in this book: • Sputnik-1; • Vostok-1; • Apollo Later on, we saw new frontiers open up: • The Hubble Space Telescope has revealed the mysteries of astrophysics and, by transforming sets of incomprehensible data into images with an artistic touch, has offered all human beings the possibility to pose questions to themselves that were once the exclusive prerogative of philosophers: – – – – What is the origin of the Universe?; What happened when it all started?; Is the Universe growing or collapsing? What made life possible? • Mars exploration has opened up the debate on the possibility of life outside of Earth and on the migration of human beings to other planets in the solar system • Cometary missions like Rosetta made us wonder how the seeds of life came to Earth and also marvel at the incredible precision of a human-made probe that was able to encounter a comet at the right time after years of travelling into the unknown Yes, it is a fact! Generations of human beings all around the World developed a fascination with space Yet, despite all this, this book has clearly demonstrated, through surveys and data, that citizens interviewed during their daily lives are not ready to spend money on space exploration if there is no evidence of immediate economic and technological benefits for our life on Earth In general, they have other priorities, such as health and education In reality, space has contributed significantly to our daily lives, but this message has only partially reached the general public, even if experts are aware of both the importance of technology transfer and of the dimension of the space economy 7.4 Institutional Space Communication in the Future 113 In such a situation, decision-makers will always oscillate If the economic and technological experts’ advice coincides with a moment of popularity of space in the media, they will support it If not, they will prefer a more “prudent” approach that will penalise space exploration in favour of health and other more “Down to Earth” issues As a consequence of this, in the future, the dichotomy—fascination with space— immediate benefits on Earth—will continue to remain a dilemma for communication officers: • Fascination with space attracts many people and media in specific moments, but is not enough to convince citizens to give priority to funding for space-related activities; • Benefits on Earth exist, are important, and should therefore guarantee funding, but they are not so easy to explain, not often make the headlines and are not well enough known; In such a situation, communication officers will therefore have no other choice but to continue fighting both battles at the same time In doing so, they will have to face the following strengths and weaknesses; • Space agencies will no longer be dominant in space research They will take the role of enablers in a complex environment that, due to the increasing size of the space economy, will be more and more influenced by the decisions of private industry; • In the foreseeable future, space exploration will give them incredible opportunities to raise interest, thanks to trips to the Moon and Mars, Space tourism, the discovery of exoplanets, etc These opportunities shall not be missed They could, in fact, help to significantly enlarge the public’s interest and support (Fig 7.3); • The evolution of the communication tools will continue, allowing space communicators to: – Understand their public with unprecedented precision; – Segment it into small homogeneous groups; – Establish one-to-one relations and offer exciting and engaging experiences All of this will lead institutional space communication to get closer and closer to marketing analysis on one side and to advanced forms of social media engagement on the other However, this should be done without jeopardising an essential element of science communication, i.e., the quality and rigour of its messages In this respect, we should keep in mind the following sentence written by Arthur C Clarke: The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be (Clarke 2012) 114 Future Trends in Space Communication Fig 7.3 This artist’s concept depicts astronauts and human habitats on Mars NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will carry a number of technologies that could make Mars safer and easier to explore for humans Credit NASA This should be framed and on the wall of each person in charge of space communication, not to discourage them from engaging in innovation, but as a sort of warning References Chrzanowska, N.: Thoughts About the Future of Marketing Brand 24 blog https://brand24.com/ blog/the-future-of-marketing (2015) Accessed 28 July 2019 Clarke, A.C.: 2001: A Space Odyssey, p 73 RosettaBooks, New York (2012) Forbes Communication Council: Seven Communications Trends Worth Knowing about https:// www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/07/12/sevencommunicationstrends-worth-knowing-about (2018) Accessed 28 July 2019 Merhaba, A., Ainardi, M., Aebi, T., Khairat, H.: The Space Agency of the Future, Arthur D Little Global, Aerospace and Defence https://www.adlittle.com/en/FutureSpaceAgency (2019) Accessed 28 July 2019 ... Nature Switzerland AG 2020 F Drigani, Communicating Space Exploration , Space and Society, https://doi.org/10.1007/97 8-3 -0 3 0-3 321 2-9 _1 What This Book Is About All of this makes Space a crucial element... © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 F Drigani, Communicating Space Exploration , Space and Society, https://doi.org/10.1007/97 8-3 -0 3 0-3 321 2-9 _2 Science and Space in Society The beginning of... General Public at large, the science-informed public, space followers, industry, media, decision-makers, opinion leaders, different stakeholders and, last but not least, the scientific community
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