Exploring the Stars with NASA Video, Education Expertise

Even as NASA’s InSight Lander is hard at work 33.9 million miles way on Mars, members of its imaging and educational team will be working just as hard a bit closer to home.

A group of NASA engineers, imaging specialists and distance learning leaders will descend on the Government Video Expo this year to talk about the kind of work the space and aeronautical agency is doing when it comes to advances and experiments in imaging.

Sessions and keynote addresses delivered by experts from NASA are sprinkled across the agenda at this week’s show, including an insider’s look at the agency’s most recent high-definition challenge: recording and broadcasting video in 8K from the International Space Station.

[Read: Space Station Goes 8K]

At the Wednesday morning session titled “NASA’s Imaging Experiments and Advances,” NASA Imagery Experts Program Manager Rodney Grubbs will discuss how astronauts from NASA and the European Space Agency are recording in 8K their efforts to advance DNA sequencing, study space-grown vs Earth-grown plants, and shoot off indoor water jets. Video is being shot via a Helium 8K camera by digital camera company Red. Viewers are taken on a guided tour of the space station — as it orbits the planet at 17,000 mph — and get a glimpse of the station’s subzero space freezer and giant robotic outdoor arm.

“This new footage showcases the story of human spaceflight in more vivid detail than ever before,” said Dylan Mathis, communications manager for the International Space Station Program when the first 8K video was released in November. “The world of camera technology continues to progress, and seeing our planet in high fidelity is always welcome.”

NASA continues the conversation when the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Office of Education shares insider knowledge on how the agency uses instructional design models and different distance-learning technologies to facilitate virtual learning.

In the Wednesday session “NASA Goddard Distance Learning Models,” leaders of the agency’s distance learning and educational arm will give a preview of ADDIE, a framework for instructional design that NASA uses. Members of the Goddard team will talk about how ADDIE is implemented at NASA and how it is being paired with other learning models — such as webinar platforms, learning management system and videoconferencing — and how this helps the agency facilitate meaningful learning.

On Thursday, NASA will offer attendees a closer look at how it connects with its viewership in the session “Digital Engagement: How NASA Does Video.” The agency has 21 million followers on its digital platforms and retains their interest with a constantly updated series of videos, images, profiles and interviews.

Take the recent Mars landing, for example, where the world watched along with NASA engineers as they endured the so-called seven minutes of terror — the seven minutes that would determine whether the InSight Mars lander would land successfully on the Red Planet and send back images to Earth. After a journey of more than six months, the NASA InSight lander returned its first image from the surface of Mars. NASA gave viewers a 360-degree minute-by-minute view of the Mission Control Center as NASA engineers watched for word and showed viewers the first images via an instrument context camera mounted on the lander.

At this Thursday afternoon session at the GV Expo, NASA representatives will look at how the agency engages its digital audience into science and engineering topics — including live video, replays, 360-degree views, high-res illustrations, and recorded video and audio from the International Space Station.

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Susan Ashworth

Susan Ashworth is the former editor of TV Technology. In addition to her work covering the broadcast television industry, she has served as editor of two housing finance magazines and written about topics as varied as education, radio, chess, music and sports. Outside of her life as a writer, she recently served as president of a local nonprofit organization supporting girls in baseball.