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I am leading one effort to address NASA@work's problems. Please feel free to contact me at home for more information. Interest from people inside the NASA firewall would be most welcome.

--Jriley 14:22, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

NASA@work Self Description section

The subsection about "What is NASA@work" is written as if addressing NASA employees. I will change it to fit the point of view of general readers. Farred 14:52, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the input. The sections written in that voice are direct quotes from NASA documents. --Jriley 18:24, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Since you mention here that the section is a direct quote and make that clear by adding quotation marks to the text, I ought to undo my previous changes. Farred 17:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Your changes read better than the original but the original was a cut-and-paste job from a NASA press release. -- 22:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)


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The Three Blocked New Challenges

I entered three New Challenges to NASA@work through the fall of 2011. All were blocked. They were:

1. A Place for Open Design -- This is a lengthy study of how people do technical design and the case for reworking NASA@work into a Wiki format. Through suggestions from many people reached by person contact, this New Challenge is now 24 pages long and in an outline format with pictures, equations, and graphs and 3 pages of references.

2. The Future of NASA -- This New Challenge looks at the situation NASA's primary customers, the American people, must face in the 21st century and develops justifications for NASA primary projects from that prospective. Again, now in outline form with pictures, graphs, and three pages of references.

3. We Symbiotes -- This New Challenge looks at the effect on human space exploration if we consider ourselves as symbiotes of our machines. It is intended to be out-of-box. Again, now in outline form, with and pictures and references.

No reason for the blocking was given but my best guess is that it is fear of controversy. I do not see how one can expect to solve great problems if we are not even allowed to talk about them.

If anyone here would like to comment on any of these New Challenges, please drop me an email. If there is interest, I could enter them as Lunapedia entries.

--Jriley 18:49, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Why were challenges rejected?

I have ideas about why your proposed challenges might have been rejected for publishing on NASA@work, and what we can do with them. Let us start with the We Symbiotes idea. First, considering ourselves symbiotes of our machines does not technically fit the definition of the word symbiotes as machines are currently made. Symbiotes are a pair of dissimilar organisms that live together in more or less intimate mutual dependence. Machines cannot fit the definition of symbiote because they are not alive. They would at least need to be capable of self-replication to be considered alive. It seems that people could make self-replicating machines in the not too distant future if we try, but keeping our machines dependent upon our instructions seems prudent to me for centuries into the future. We could instead consider humanity and our machines as a single self-replicating system, as E.M. Forster did in his 1909 science fiction story The Machine Stops. This would avoid the problem of suggesting machines are alive. NASA is sensitive about suggestions of non-conventional living things since the Richard Hoover affair in which his paper claimed fossils of micro-organisms were found in a meteorite. It might be true but the evidence was not widely accepted as being convincing. What I consider useful in thinking of men and machines together as a self-replicating system is that it opens the door to considering which technologies are essential for the system to self-replicate, and which technologies can be discarded as redundant. Particularly, this view is applicable to colonies on Luna, Mars, and in free space. If you think this line is worth discussing, we could later take up the other ideas in turn. Farred 23:39, 14 December 2011 (UTC)