NASA has a long tradition of interacting closely with and inviting advice from the scientific community, which is integral to the culture of its scientific programs. In this newly published monograph, the author looks at two main sources of scientific advice: the NASA Advisory Committee structure and the National Academy of Sciences’ Space Studies Board. As a former executive director of the latter organization, Joe Alexander is well-positioned to flesh out this subject from its roots in NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), to the mid-2010s. Alexander’s assessments of NASA’s interactions with outside scientific advisors provide useful lessons for research managers, decision makers, and scientists. Finally, Alexander discusses the recurring characteristics of notably successful advisory activities and provides a glimpse of what past experience might imply for the future of scientific advice at NASA.
Published: August 27, 2017