Best of Silver Anvil Winning Program Builds Support for Human Space Exploration

DPK Public Relations has a long relationship with NASA - Johnson Space Center that goes back to the Space Shuttle era, and we were proud to assist the Human Research Program's efforts to communicate about the science behind Astronaut Scott Kelly's Year in Space. The concept was simple: Kelly is an identical twin, so NASA seized the opportunity to monitor the impact of this prolonged exposure to zero gravity and compare those physiological and psychological measurements with those of his brother, Mark Kelly, who also is an astronaut.

The challenge for any organization involved in science, technology or medicine -- or really anything that is complex -- is getting the smart people who are involved comfortable speaking in plane English about it. Making complicated information relatable isn't something that typically comes naturally. We have found that some training and providing a process to help spokespersons incorporate personal stories and anecdotes can be extremely effective.

Our work with the Human Research Program began in mid-2014 with media training and messaging workshops for the Program's spokespersons. As the mission approached, we expanded on the training to include the entire community of scientists working with the Human Research Program. As Scott Kelly's mission neared its completion, we individually trained more than a dozen researchers from the 10 teams of investigators in the twins study. These one-on-one sessions were coordinated to happen in advance of interviews with journalists from around the world.

We were just a small part of a large team effort that made the Year in Space Mission one of the biggest public relations successes in recent years. PRSA recognized NASA - Johnson Space Center with its Best of Silver Anvil Award for A Year in Space. The video below gives a great overview of the impressive scope of the effort.

Now that more than a year has gone by since Scott Kelly's safe return, the mission is beginning to bear potentially valuable fruit that could have an impact on long exploration missions, such as a future trip to Mars or a visit with an asteroid.

The Human Research Program released initial findings from their observations and measurements in the article, "How Stressful Will a Trip to Mars Be on the Human Body? We Now Have a Peek Into What the NASA Twins Study Will Reveal." 

Will we see human explorers travel beyond lower Earth orbit and return to the Moon and venture off into our Solar System? We certainly hope so, and we couldn't be more proud of our small role in helping people throughout the U.S. and the world understand the benefits of such a mission.

If your organization can benefit from media training, spokesperson preparation or messaging workshops, please contact us. Call 800.596.8708, email or submit a contact form.