In 2007, a small group of people began an intentional, collaborative experiment in open, transparent, and direct communication about your space program. Our goal was to enable your direct participation in exploring and contributing to NASA’s mission.

Many of us have since begun new adventures. This site will remain as an archive of the accomplishments of the openNASA experiment.

Ali Llewellyn

Space is well-represented at #SXSWi, with a number of interactive sessions (not to mention a big flock of angry space birds…) Here are just some of the reasons why NASA is here at #SXSWi and some of the ways you can engage your space agency.

We honestly believe that everyone has a contribution they can make to the exploration mission, and we have some amazing opportunities coming up where you can connect with other software developers and creative thinkers to work on short-term projects that could change the world.

A License to RHoK (5pm, Sunday, March 11) will highlight Random Hacks of Kindness, a global initiative to create practical open source solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges. NASA is joining with partners Google and Microsoft as well as Secondmuse to share how you can change the world with your mad hacking skills, what you can expect at a marathon coding event, what kind of technology success stories have come out of RHoK… and how you can join us for the upcoming International Space Apps Challenge in April and for RHoK Global in June.

Our mission is to explore the unknown… and #SXSW has lots of people, ideas, and technologies that could help us do that better. We are ready to share some of the latest developments in our technology portfolios and how the government is using prizes to help incentivize breakthrough.

In the session Government as a Catalyst: Prizes for Tech Innovation(11am, Tuesday, March 13), we’ll look at some new approaches to technology innovation. Federal agencies have recently been given the authority by Congress to sponsor competitions for individuals, groups, and companies to develop new ideas and technology innovations for a chance to win potentially lucrative prizes. These competitions can range from new mobile outreach technologies to web-based data analytics tools to even vehicle-to-vehicle communications; the government is looking for breakthrough technologies from the minds of the most innovative and forward thinking Americans, many of whom are at SXSW. You’ll hear some of our more interesting prizes and how effective they have been in stimulating tech development.

We believe in connection – in some pretty unconventional ways. We are looking forward to sharing stories about how we are engaging the public to get them involved in the coolest mission on Earth – and in space.

Out of this World Engagement (11am, Sunday, March 11) will feature a conversation between the nation’s space agency and the world’s largest museum and research complex about how they have embraced the use of social media to reach out, engage new audiences, engage existing audiences in new ways, and give the public behind-the-scenes access.

We love great movies as much as anyone else – but we also know that a good film isn’t necessarily a true story.  We’ll give you the real lowdown about asteroids (along with our friend the Bad Astronomer) and talk about how we can get the real data out there, and tell an even better story.

2012: You Bet Your Asteroid the World Won’t End (9:30am, Monday, March 12) will take on the Internet factor in the cause and cure of 2012 hysteria, looking at how urban legends spread, data gets shared, and myths get debunked online. While we’re at it, we’ll see how NASA JPL’s Near Earth Objects office and the amateur astronomy community keeps an eye on asteroids, comets, and other low-flying space rocks.

With citizen engagement as a core value, we are highly invested in empowering space-lovers everywhere to spur exploration. Our goal remains to see how people will literally change the world with the vision, inspiration, and engagement of exploration.

The session How to Win Friends and Influence Space Exploration (12:30pm, Sunday, March 11) will focuses on “brains as valuable assets to take over the world.” Learn why people get so passionately committed to space exploration, how they became connected over the Internet, and what they’ve created to make “measurable change toward a more awesome tomorrow.” The grassroots “space tweep” community will give you strategies about community ownership and empowerment to turn ideas into action.

Social media strategy at NASA has grown leaps and bounds since @MarsPhoenix told the story of his long journey to the red planet, and we are excited to share practical lessons about how we have integrated a variety of social media platforms across a large organization and continued to see them grow and mature.

The strategy of NASA’s Mission Possible: Tweeting Thru Space (5pm, Sunday, March 11) is all about extending the space “experience.” We’ll share about tying the social and physical experience together with events like Tweetups, how to get social media buy-in across large diverse organizations, how to manage high volume interactions, and how to keep that momentum going after the big event.

The community’s commitment to space exploration continues to be deepened with local education and engagement events like SpaceUp – and ideas grow out of these events that could change the way we do outreach. These nontraditional approaches to outreach will help shape the future of a changing space program.

SpacePoints: Space Outreach at Ludicrous Speed(12:30pm, Monday, March 12) will feature space-related outreach and engagement strategies developed from a group of web developers, aerospace scientists and engineers, and people who dream of living in space. These “space geeks” are sharing SpacePoints and are increasing awareness about space policy, increasing funding to aerospace-related research (commercial and government), and having fun playing to win!

Why have we come to Austin? We are excited to share our ideas and experiences, and learn from others who are pushing the envelope, trying new things, and discovering new frontiers. Ideas are born in places like #SXSW, and it is going to be an amazing week of connecting with others who are refining technologies, writing policies, and transforming cultures.  We’re here because we want to talk to you – and we want to listen.

*Note: the banner photo featuring a view of Austin, Texas was taken from the International Space Station by astronaut and #SXSWi speaker Ron Garan in September 2011.*