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SA Space Agency looks to cyberspace for help with real space

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has put out a call on Facebook and Twitter for the country’s citizens to have a say in the drafting of the National Space Programme (NSP).

According to agency’s website, the aim of the NSP is to “make South Africa a leading space player by 2030″. The site also invites South Africans to share their “thoughts on ‘Space Vision 2030′ via the face book [sic] or Twitter”.

Speaking to Business Day, a leading South African newspaper, Arthur Goldstuck of internet research firm World Wide Worx said SANSA’s move was something of a first among South African state agencies. “The Presidency is on Twitter, but not the president, and it does not encourage interaction,” he said.

He added that the decision to use social media was “forward thinking because it shows they are in tune with where people are going”.

It seems that social media is not the only high-tech method SANSA is using to come up with a viable national space programme.

It has also set up a shared working site on which 100 active participants are “contributing and debating the future National Space Programme”.

The agency adds that it will not be restricting itself to social media platforms as it engages with ordinary South Africans and will also conduct face-to-face interviews.

The programme’s social media campaign, has, however, gotten off to a slow start. At the time of writing, it only had 16 likes on Facebook and 11 followers on Twitter.

By contrast, the official account for NASA’s Cassini mission has some 176 018 followers. NASA’s official account meanwhile, has 1 776 554 followers.

Author | Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself to be thrown in the deep and did his best stay afloat. When not fused with his keyboard, you can find him... More
  • Sunspace_Employee

    This is nothing but time wasting from SANSA.  This is just a pathetic attempt to look like they’re actually doing something.  Something as complex as a space program does not need input from the general public on Facebook or Twitter. This is a meaningless, empty attempt by people without the proper knowledge required for the job of heading a space agency to look relevant to the masses out there.  Get your asses in gear and get to work SANSA, stop surfing facebook!  We’ve been waiting since 2006, get to work so we can get paid already!  

  • Nul Uis

    Do we have the resources and brilliant minds to make something happen? I feel like South Africa wouldn’t be able to do much in the way of space exploration. Maybe launch a satellite or two, but the next real space mission will be Mars, and that, is no doubt out of our reach. It would take collaboration from other space agencies for us to get on par without spending money to accomplish what has already been done.

    Do we want to get into space to say, “look at us, we are as awesome as the rest,” or do we actually want to do something that will better humanity as a whole? Is that not the point in aiming for the stars?

  • http://www.dirtyseagulls.com/ Dirty Seagull

    I think they need to put a call out for all engineers to come together

  • http://www.dirtyseagulls.com/ Dirty Seagull

    I think they need to put a call out for all engineers to come together

  • Spacefan

    This article is so poorly put together it is hard to take it seriously.