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NASA Asks Crowd for New Website Suggestions

NASA Asks Crowd for New Website Suggestions

NASA is updating its website for the first time in five years, and it wants to hear what changes the crowd thinks should be implemented.

For the initiative, which started last week, NASA paired up with the crowdsourcing platform IdeaScale. Suggestions will be accepted until December 19th.

“How do you think we here can apply what you've learned?” the project’s page states. “Do you like something you've seen? Is something missing? How do you interact with NASA online? Where else do you get your NASA news from? We've opened this forum to take your feedback.”

Thus far, 275 suggestions have come in from 1250 users, with nearly 400 comments on the ideas. Individuals can up- or down-vote the proposals, and over 9000 votes have been cast. The top idea thus far is to “give the public access to more raw data,” which has over 450 up-votes.

Other popular ideas include showing a live feed from the International Space Station, creating a countdown clock for big events, and putting together short educational videos on astronomy, prominent scientists, and other relevant topics.

This isn’t NASA’s first time using IdeaScale – in the spring, the agency solicited questions about Mars and Mars exploration, in anticipation of the Curiosity rover’s landing on the red planet.

The Office of Management and Budget also use IdeaScale to run the SAVE Awards, a project which asks federal employees for thoughts on how to make government more efficient. And two years ago, Washington state government used the platform to solicit suggestions on how to reform the state’s budget. Ironically enough, the top idea was to legalize marijuana – a sign of things to come. (IdeaScale’s Jessica Day wrote in to describe how Washington’s governor Chris Gregoire took advantage of that seemingly far-fetched suggestion to connect with her constituents.)

That NASA’s recent call for ideas has generated a robust response shouldn’t come as a surprise. The agency, and space exploration in general, have been enthusiastically supported by the crowd. NASA’s massive multiplayer online game Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond, for example, was funded in part through Kickstarter donations. The space agency is also partly responsible for Planet Hunters, a citizen science initiative that recently helped to uncover a planet with four stars.

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