1 THE FRAMING OF THE MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY MISSION BY THE JET PROPULSION LABORATORY AND THE NATIONAL PRINT MEDIA By MARISA GRIFFITHS FINN A THES IS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PAR TIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Marisa Griffiths Finn
3 To Mom, Dad and Brian
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis would not have been possible without the dedicated guidance of my wonderful advisor, Dr. Treise. I am very grateful for h er invaluable advice through this process as well as throughout my graduate career. I would like to thank the members of my committee, Dr. Walsh Childers and Dr. Weigold, for their thoughtful insights into my paper. I thank my entire family for their incredible love, support, and understanding throughout this process. In particular, I thank my parents for their unwavering support, incred ible advice and patience. I am also grateful for my friends both near and far for their steadfast support.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 10 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 12 Historical Comm unication and Justification of the Space Program ......................... 12 Importance of the Space Program ................................ ................................ .......... 15 Public Perception of the Space Program ................................ ................................ 17 Scientific Literacy and Policy ................................ ................................ .................. 26 Increasing Public Interest and Engagement ................................ ........................... 29 Shifts in NASA Culture ................................ ................................ ............................ 31 The Mars Science Laboratory Mission ................................ ................................ .... 34 Framing Studies ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 36 3 METHODS ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 40 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 45 Research Question 1 and 2 ................................ ................................ .................... 47 Research Question 3 ................................ ................................ .............................. 48 Action Movie ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 48 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 48 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................... 55 Awesome Science ................................ ................................ ............................ 58 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 58 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................... 60 Scientific Risk ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 62 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 63 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................... 69 The Expectations Game ................................ ................................ ................... 72 In Your Neighborhood ................................ ................................ ...................... 74 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 74 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................... 77 Engaging the Public ................................ ................................ ......................... 81 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 82 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................... 85 Anthropomorphism ................................ ................................ ........................... 86
6 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 86 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................... 89 Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 91 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 91 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................... 95 Total Victory ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 95 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 96 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................... 97 An American Win ................................ ................................ .............................. 98 Newspaper articles ................................ ................................ .................... 98 JPL website articles ................................ ................................ ................. 100 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 102 6 CONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 109 APPENDIX A CODING BOOK ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 113 B CODING SHEET ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 114 C LIST OF AUTHORS BY PUBLICATION ................................ ............................... 115 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 117 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 120
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page C 1 Publications and authors of newspaper articles analyzed in this study. ........... 115 C 2 Publications and authors of Jet Propulsion Laboratory website articles analyzed in this study. ................................ ................................ ...................... 116
8 Abstract of Thes is Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication THE FRAMING OF THE MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY MISSION BY THE JET PROPULSION LABORATORY AND THE NATIONAL PRINT MEDIA By Marisa Griffiths Finn August 2013 Cha ir: Debbie Treise Major: Mass Communication This qualitative framing study analyzed communication about the Mars Science Administration and national print media. Articles from these sources pertaining to the mission were ex amined for the themes, patterns and motifs that defined major frames. Ten overarching frames were found characterizing the MSL mission. The frames were was remarkably consistent between sources. Though both sources p resented mostly the same frames, there was a conspicuous difference between NASA and the national print media in the use of emotional elements. The dramatic language and motifs employed by the newspaper articles at times overshadowed the science topics. Th e NASA articles were less likely to emphasize emotion, favoring instead a more informative tone. Many of the frames showed the potential to increase public awareness of the mission and stimulate interest in its outcome. Several frames demonstrated a
9 clear emphasis on accurately conveying scientific information to the audience, particularly the nature of the mission and scientific risk. The framing suggested that by almost all accounts, NASA was once again providing the public impressive technological feats and scientific achievements as well as attempting to improve its communication with the public.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Science and technology have become increasingly ubiquitous facets of life in the United States. To navigate this expanding environment successfully, the public needs a firm grasp of scientific issues and a strong mutual understanding with the scientists who develop new technology and the policy makers who direct research and fund innovation. Developing the relationship between the public, scientists and policy makers is critical in myriad fields, but it is particularly important in the field of space science. Space science has a broad impact on large segments of the ec onomy, research and development and society. Engagement of the public i n space science issues is critical because public interest and understanding are necessary for the formation of effective space policy decisions. A coherent and effective space policy is needed for a sustainable space program. NASA and the space program pl ay a vital role in providing technological momentum, as well as influencing the e conomic, educational and scientific leadership of the United States. Within the recent space science communication literature there have been many calls to engage the public o n space policy issues (Arvai, McDaniels & Gregory, 2002; Billings, 2006; Kaminski, 2012). These authors have suggested that NASA recently has begun to recognize this need and has started to address these issues by developing new communication and outreach strategies. However, the intersection between public opinion, the creation of sp ace policy and NASA communication efforts is not a straightforward problem. The complex nature of public opinion on space policy and a general lack of scientific understanding among the public lead to a convoluted web of communication issues. Though the situation is complicated,
11 it is clear that NASA must continue to adapt and improve its public communication strategies if it is to maintain a beneficial space program. In this f raming study, NASA communication was explored and compared to coverage by national newspapers of a recent successful mission, the Mars Science prominent NASA project in som e time and certainly the first story since the decommissioning of the NASA shuttle fleet in 2012 to be extensively covered by national media. The communication strategy implemented by NASA for Curiosity video, as well as many interactive media, such as live streaming of the landing online and a Twitter stream for the rover. These efforts exemplified a shift in NASA culture and focus in recent years. This change was likely due to a need identified in the l iterature for NASA to provide better, more participatory communication and decision making processes with the public (Arvai et al., 2002; Billings, 2006; Kaminski, 2012) as well as to engage wider demographic groups, including youth (Cook, Druger & Ploutz Snider, 2011; Ehrenfreund, Peter & Billings, 2010; Finarelli & Pryke, 2007). This framing study explored science communication through the lens of both NASA and national media coverage of the Mars Science Laboratory and qualitatively described and compare d communication about the mission in order to understand the patterns and strategies through which NASA and the media tried to engage the public on the issues of space science
12 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Historical Communication and Justification of the Space Program Historically, the primary justification for the space program has been political (Johnson Freese & Handberg, 1991; Launius, 2003). The launch of Sputnik in 1957 was perceived by the U.S. government and the U.S. public as a crisis of technolog ical superiority. The appearance of this technology in the hands of a political enemy was the international stage (Goldman, 1992; Johnson Freese & Handberg, 1991). The government responded by establishing the space program and launching an ambitious creation meant that the space program was not initiated with any civilian application in mind, such as increasing scientif ic knowledge, commercialization or even research and development for future applications. While the romantic concept of human exploration and adventure was, and still is, commonly referenced in context with space travel, the reality involved a different kind of symbolism. The space program served as a substitute for a real war (Launius, 2003). Because the space program was initiated as a contest to demonstrate U.S. superiority, the risks and costs of the Apollo missions were justified because it was in the national interest. Johnson Freese and Handberg (1991) described the primary goals of the early space program as U.S. prestige and na tional security. The authors argued that these priorities remained the same until the early 1990s. These operating goals worked well for t he space agency, the government and the public during the perceived
13 crisis of Apollo era America. However, these autho rs pointed out that when the Cold War ended, so did the need for demonstrations of technical prowess in space (Johnson mission was a symbolic representation of the strength a nd technological superiority of the United States, symbols that were no longer compatible with evolving national goals (Johnson Freese & Handberg, 1991). NASA needed to develop a new inspiration to engage the public, but did not find it. Meyerson (1995) ob served that the goals of the Apollo era space program were designed for the political circumstances of that time. As emergent space program infrastructure (government agenc ies, academic institutions, fostered by the space race. popular perception was that the space agency had lost its purpose (Launius, 2003 ). Roy, Gresham and Christensen international leadership in space, the U.S. civil space program foundered in the 1970s. Decreasing public interest in the now se emingly routine Moon landings was echoed in a Launius argued that public interest in the program may have been artificially high, the result of a strong response to a perceived crisis ( 2003). Despite publi mission, the country had grown used to the scientific feats and technological demonstrations of the Apollo era. Without clearly defined goals beyond the moon or the
14 political instigation for new missions, funding a nd public support for NASA diminished (Cobb, 2011; Goldman, 1992; Johnson Freese & Handberg, 1991; Roy et al., 2000). As of the late 1990s and early 2000s, NASA still was struggling to j ustify its long term, uncertain and inherently risky endeavors in the context of an ever changing political and economic environment. As Johnson Freese and Handberg (1991) argued, Costly space initiatives are now unacceptable when they apparently lead nowhere except to the next generation of costly space initiatives. The ag as to the ultimate importance of their program. In a sense, the agency has proved maladaptive to the new policy environment (p. 441). Launius (2003), after consulting several deca des of public opinion polling, observed that it was unlikely that the United States would undertake another moon mission without political, economic or national security pressure. Ultimately, NASA was not able to justify its programs in the absence of exte rnal pressures like those seen in the Cold War. purpose grew in the 1990s. Johnson Freese and Handberg (1991) wrote, en by symbolic needs rather than technology, and the result has been an identity crisis for NASA as a technology required symbolic power to gain widespread public support. In the absence o f a symbolic instigator, the authors argued that NASA needed to redefine its role in U.S. ontended that NASA and policy makers needed to make the case to the public that the space
15 at the same time maintain the excitement and grandeur of space exploration (1995) ded by changing political times and the agency struggled to shift toward a new, more practical public image. Arvai riding national rallying point or justificat ion for NASA, well structured stakeholder participation in agency decision making has society had shifted over the decades, NASA seemed to fall behind. These authors reasoned th at NASA must redefine itself to meet the needs of the moder n political, economic and technological landscape. Many authors made the case that in order to achieve a sustainable, useful space program, NASA needs to understand and engage its new stakeholders, particularly the public (Arvai et al., 2002; Ehrenfreund et al., 2010; Finarelli & Pryke, 2007; Kaminski, 2012). These authors argued that understanding what the public needs and values is necessary to develop not only a new foundation of public support, but also a sustainable space program with a mission reflective of the society it serves Importance of the Space Program The need to increase public understanding of space science and involve the public in the decision making processes of space policy was broadly recognized in the literature (Arvai et al., 2002; Lofstedt, 2003; Smith, 2000). This need has arisen based on several key factors. One critical reason is the direct, though sometimes under recognized, effects of the space program on other sectors s uch as employment, education, economy, technology and international leadership. Authors such as Brown
16 in the United States that inspire students to go into science and t echnology fields. Sectors such as employment and the economy benefit from these highly trained students, an outcome that contributes to growth, research and future development. Either through their own research or through partnerships with U.S. companies, NASA has produced many scientific and technological advances that can be seen in everyday life (Jones, 2011). The space program has been responsible for advances in health such as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) for health applications, artificial limbs and heart pumps that are used in transplant operations. The transportation sector has seen advances such as anti icing systems for airplanes and improved tire designs for cars. Improvements in fire fighting gea r, fire resistant reinforcement and chemical detec tion systems have improved public safety. Advances brought about by the space program can also be seen in the home, in enriched baby f ood, hand held cordless vacuums and freeze drying technology to preserve food. The scientific advances of the space progra m have also brought about advances in other sciences such as solar energy, air quality, water quality and computer technology (Jones, 2011). The space program also influences society on intangible levels. Ehrenfreund et al. (2010) argued that the space pro gram affects not only science and technology, but [sic] (p.503). Smith (2000) laid out five reasons he believed space science can be (and often is) popular with the publi c, including its universality. The experience of looking up at the night sky and seeing the stars is something that is shared by people almost everywhere. Having a common experience unites people. Steinberg (2011) made a similar case for the American peopl
17 appeared frequently in the literature (Arvai et a l., 2002; Bainbridge, 2009). Smith (2000) and Arvai et al. (2002) also pointed out that space science can inspire people to ask questions about themselves and the universe, and has the capacity to satisfy that curiosity. These fundamental questions, whethe r spiritual or scientific, can have deep personal implications for many people. On a lighter note, an Arvai et al (2002), agreed, citing the capacity of space science to satisfy the desire to explore. These authors noted that the tangible and intangible effects of the space program have been felt in many parts of U.S. society; however, the public perception of the space program has not always reflected this impact Public Perception of the Space Program The issue of public perception and opinion of the U.S. space program was extensively investigated in the literature since the Apollo program (Cobb, 2011; Launius, 2003; Roy et al., 2000). Interestingly, over time there have been consistent results from most surveys indicating wide support for the space program and g eneral approval of 20th century. Despite this positive polling data, Dittmar (2005) noted a widespread perception among the public that NASA has a poor reputation. This paradoxical finding is complicated by the extent of public understanding of science topics, in particular NASA and the space program.
18 In the literature, public opinion about NASA funding was frequently used as a benchmark for measuring the support for spa ce exploration (Cobb, 2011; Cook, et al., 2011; Dittmar, 2005; Launius, 2003; Steinberg, 2011). Cobb (2011) explored public opinion regarding funding space activities between 1973 and 2010, employing data from the General Social Survey. Cobb found that bef ore 1980, a higher percentage of people believed the United States was spending too much on the space program compared to those who said the right amount was being spent. Since then, the number of people who believed the U.S. is spending the right amount r ose and the percentage of people who think too much is spent dropped. Those two percentages waivered back and forth around 45% after 1980, but have remained remarkably stable. Those who thought the U.S. spent too little hovered below the 20% mark. Roy et a l. (2000) found a similar The stability of these numbers did not reflect the popular pe rception that NASA had lost support since the end of the Apollo program. Authors also explored public opinion by analyzing how people rated NASA and the space program. Launius (2003) used a combination of surveys to investigate public support for human spa ce flight. He found that 70% of respondents held positive impressions of the space program and less than 20% held negative views. He found extremely or very important to t departure from the public perception that NASA was viewed negatively. Launius also found that during the 1990s, more than 60% of those surveyed said that NASA was
19 doing a good job. Roy et al. (2000) found similarly positive ratings for NASA in the surveys they analyzed, citing rising percentages of people who believed the job NASA were consistent with the results on public opinion of the space program and its funding. Support for different types of space missions varied some over time and by demographics. Despite finding only moderate support for the moon landing missions, Launius (2003) found that people generally agreed that the space shuttle was a good investment. However, even though the public liked the shuttle, they tended to support robotic missions more than manned spaceflight. Surveys also found more interest in robotic exp loration of Mars compared to human missions, to either the Moon or Mars (Launius, 2003). Aside from the occasional waiver in confidence and public preference for specific mission types, authors agreed that NASA and the space program were popular in the pub this suggests that the cause of human spaceflight in general and NASA in particular enjoys relatively positive public perceptions and has for the entire period for which data at one point to weather disaster. Miller (1987) examined shifts in public attitudes toward the space program before and after the Challenger accident in 1986. Mille r found that after the accident, the agency and the program actually saw an increase in support, with surveys indicating that the public still had strong confidence in the program. NASA also saw increases in awareness and attentiveness, as well as higher w illingness to fund the
20 program. Miller attributed this finding to a sense national pride and feelings of unity and loyalty in the face of tragic loss of life (1987). In recent years, new polling emerged tracking public opinion in the new political and econ omic environments of the last decade. Dittmar (2005) conducted a large Exploration. While the survey found many trends similar to earlier surveys, such as wide support f or the space program among the public, it also identified a few new trends. Dittmar found a very high percentage of the American public thought that NASA was relevant to their daily lives, and most respondents could name at least one societal benefit of th e space program (2005). The survey also found that those who could name specific benefits of the space program were more likely to consider NASA relevant to them, and those who considered NASA relevant were more likely to support increases in funding. This is a marked change from previous surveys, in which uncertainty was expressed at the value of the space program, particularly as a salient topic in the lives of individuals (Dittmar, 2005). However, Dittmar did find evidence of public perception problem fo r NASA. The perceived as aloof and removed from the public. Launius (2003) made the same point several years earlier, thou gh he was likely not the first: The belief that Apo llo enjoyed enthusiastic support during the 1960s and that somehow NASA has lost its compass thereafter enjoys broad appeal to the present. This is an important conception, for without the active agreement of political leaders and at least public acquiesce nce no exploration effort may be sustained for any length of time (p.165). The perception that the public views NASA poorly when, in fact, data show public perception to be good presents a circular irony that has the potential to be very
21 damaging to space science and policy. Without the perception of popular support, public support may actually dwindle. Despite numbers indicating wide support, authors often called this phenomenon 2005). finding is almost universally attributed to the relative priority of t he space program in the face of other societal issues. Dittmar (2005) noted that issues such as terrorism, t he economy, healthcare, defense and education were considered higher funding priorities than the space program. Lofstedt (2003) surveyed members of the interested public about the space program and found reasons for support cited by respondents included ne ed for knowledge, new resources and technological advances in other areas. Reasons against supporting space exploration were prima rily monetary, oth er priorities and belief that humanity should clean up Earth before going into space (Lofstedt, 2003). Across many surveys, these issues were seen as more immediate and critical to the population, compared to the long term, more abstract payoffs of the spa ce program. Domestic priorities generally outweighed those of the space program, and polling has illustrated a long history of the public questioning the economic value of space ty of Americans did not believe Apollo was worth the cost, with the one exception to this a ack of
22 and has been relatively consistent since the 1970s. However, the majority of the public ). This leads to very different responses depending on wording of survey questions pertaining t for NASA funding jumped up 10 points among respondents compared to wording that noticed the same trend in question wording. While potentially misleading, question wordin g was not the primary concern. The problem is that the public was, and still is, largely unaware of what it actually costs to fund space missions. Launius stated, Most Americans seem to believe that NASA has a lot of money, much more than it annually recei ves. Turning around those false perceptions of funding is perhaps the most serious challenge facing those who wish to gain greater public support for space exploration (2003, p.174). Dittmar (2005) and Launius (2003) both argued that the general misunders tanding of the actual cost of funding NASA missions has the potential to profoundly affect support for funding of future space mission and space policy in the United States. Limited understanding of the nature of space science and the scientific method cou ld also have a serious impact on funding and policy issues. Broniatowski and Weigel (2008) argued that the nature of politics creates an ever shifting environment in which decisions must be made quickly. These timescales become problematic when determining space policy and funding for space missions. By their nature, space missions are long term, high risk, high cost investments. They can be very high reward, as the many advances generated by the space program attest. However, justifying risk
23 and reward on these scales to the public is a challenge, particularly when the public is poorly informed and during times of economic downturn. Several authors suggested that NASA shift its strategy regarding public policy and funding to meet the demands of the current political climate (Finarelli & Pryke, 2007; Ehrenfreund et al., 2010). Broniatowski and Weigel (2008) argued that in order to survive, the space program must create sustainable political conditions, via public support, to ensure funding and in order to sup particularly the public. Dittmar (2005) and Finarelli and Pryke (2007) suggested that NASA should practice brand management and public relations to build long term support for its miss ions. Dittmar, in particular, noted that survey respondents wanted as to make of it a true If lack of knowledge about the space program is so widespread, who is demographic gr oups. Cobb (2011) found that Republicans were generally more supportive of funding than Democrats or Independents. Almost without exception, higher education led to higher support; similarly, higher socioeconomic status led to more support. Across the hist ory of the surveys, men have supported space exploration characterized by desires beyond the physical and economic, with more emphasis on
24 demographic characteristics have not changed for some time; Miller (1987) described into these categories are far more likely to be male, have a t least a high school education and live in the suburbs, as opposed to inner city or rural areas. The question of which generations supported the space program was not as clear cut. Miller (1987) found that the younger the generation the more likely they were to be attentive to the space program and support it. According to his study, adults aged 18 34 years old were most likely to support the space program in 1987, and adults aged 55 years or older were the least likely. Cobb (2011) found that older generations (those who lived through the Apollo program) had lower support for space activities than younger generations, with minor variability. In contrast, Ehrenfreund et al. (2010) cited After an initial study in 2005, Dittmar (2006) released a follow up study that specifically analyzed the 18 24 age group, which had indicated little interest in the 2004 Vision for Space Exploration proposed by the Bush Administration. The follow up study found that support for the space program had dropped approximately 10 points since the first study. The new study also noted that this demographic group did not see NASA as relevant to their lives. I n 2004, more young adults believed that NASA was relevant than irrelevant. By 2006, Dittmar found that statistic to be reversed; 51% of young adults saw NASA as irrelevant to their lives while only 32% viewed the agency as relevant. Again, Dittmar found th at the public wanted more communication and interaction from NASA, particularly interactive activities via the Internet (2006).
25 interest to other authors as well. In their study, C ook et al. (2011) focused on the younger adults, exploring whether science literacy affected support for the space program among undergraduates. Their data reflected results similar to those of recent polls of the general population. They found that scient ific literacy and support for funding of space exploration were not limited to science majors, but was consistent across a variety of fields. Their primary finding was that the undergraduates sampled knew very little about NASA, though they seemed to be fa irly scientifically literate. Other results people to consider an education in science, math, or engineering fields, most of the students in the present study do not agr similar to the false perception issue raised by Dittmar (2005). Though there was, in fact, broad support for the space program and interest in the space sciences, the public, particularly younger generations believed NASA to be unpopular among others. Authors argued that these perception issues can and must be altered by better communication and increased engagement with the public (Dittmar, 2005; Dittmar, 2006; Ehrenfreund et al., 2010; Finarelli & Pryke, 2007; Kaminski, 2012; Steinberg, 2011). Finarelli and Pryke (2007) were concerned by the difference in opinions based on because the young are essential to the sustainabi lity of space exploration over the long programs will be long term endeavors that span over several decades. A successful
26 implementation needs therefore the resilient s upport of many generations and reach short term goals this large population segment has to be tar geted. To educate and engage the smallest segment of young adults is, currently, the most important exercise. The generation Y (1975 1995) has already been addressed in a recent NASA outreach document. This generation will constitute the decision makers wi thin the next 10 years, but it is distinct from other generations as it has been growing up with the internet and is books or newspapers and less and less by television (p. 507). The authors agreed that NASA needs to expand its outreach to all generations because decisions made by current generations will affect future ones. However, NASA has had particular trouble reaching the younger members of its audience. Successfully communicatin g with all the age groups is critical to establishing a sustainable space program Scientific Literacy and Policy Over the decades, NASA acquired a mixed reputation for communicating and justifying its missions to the public, as well as stimulating intere st in and understanding and budget, as well as low science literacy and lack of understanding of space policy (Cook et al., 2011; Dittmar, 2005; Launius, 2003; Lofstedt, 2003; Smith, 2000). The intersection of scientific literacy, public opinion and space policy is a complicated equation. Lines of cause and effect are not clearly drawn, and misinformation or misco nceptions in any area have complicated impacts on all other areas. However, based on the current relatio nships between NASA, the public and policy makers, there is no doubt that NASA must be able
27 to convey information and understandable messages about the nature of its work to be successful. A number of authors in the space science communication literature have described the relationship between public opinion and policy decision making (Cobb, 2011; Ehrenfreund et al., 2010; Goldman, 1992; Steinberg, 2011) Strong public opinion is particularly critical for NASA because its funding comes straight from the federal budget (Smith, 2000; Kaminski, 2012). A well informed public is central to establishing policy in general and space policy in particular. Ehrenfre interest in and support of space activities is widely acknowledged in the space community as being fundamental to sustaining long term international space exploration ic opinion and establishing space policy is not a direct chain of cause and effect, the public is a key s takeholder in the space program, and their opinions do have a profound influence. As authors such as Ehrenfreund et al. (2010) and Finarelli and Pryke (2007) have pointed out, an institution whose projects have wide societal impact must foster positive public opinion to establish an effective, sustainable program for all stakeholders. Authors expressed significant concern about the falling levels of publ ic knowledge about and understanding of science, particularly among the younger generations (Cook et al., 2011). Falling math and science scores in academic settings, as well as decreased enrollment in these disciplines, reflected declining interest among younger generations. Eventually this pattern will result in lower numbers of graduates qualified to work in technical fields. Given the impressive technological benefits provided by the space program to ma ny areas of science, technology and society, there
28 remains a serious need to increase the number of graduates in the science fields (Finarelli & Pryke, 2007). Decreased scientific literacy among the public will have a long term effect on the space program through policy as well. Brossard and Lewenstein (2 democratic societies, public understanding of science is central to sound processes for reasoned that increased knowledge of scientific facts and methods would have a Scientific knowledge and literacy are vital in the developme nt and evaluation of public policies, particularly at NASA, as taxpayers are ultimately the ones who fund the space one of the primary communicators of space science messages and probably among the best positioned institutions to influence national discussions on space science issues as well as to increase science awareness and education. Ehrenfreund et al. (2010) stated that participatory engagement of public stakehol ders would help increase understanding of the nature of the space program, particularly costs and funding. NASA has the potential to play a key role in not only determining its own future, but also improving public understanding of the nature of space sci ence and the space program. Smith (2000) argued, the [science] community ought to do better not in order to increase budgets, but because a scientifically literate society (not proficient, just literate) is essential to rational discourse and judgment i n a millennium dominated by science and technology which to many people increasingly resembles sorcery (p.494).
29 The call made by these authors was clear no matter how paradoxical survey results, no matter how complex or unquantifiable the influence of p ublic opinion on policy, increased scientific literacy and public engagement is critical for the success of the space program and space policy Increasing Public Interest and Engagement In the literature on space science communication there was an almost u nanimous call for improved scientific literacy, bett er outreach by NASA and more attention to public perception and opinion (Brossard & Lewenstein, 2010; Ehrenfreund et al., 2010; Finarelli & Pryke, 2007; Kaminski, 2012; Smith, 2000; Stilgoe, Wilsdon & Wyn ne, 2005). Authors pointed out that historically, science communication strategies understanding among the public as a void in knowledge that must be filled (Brossa rd & Lewenstein, 2010; Miller, 2006). The deficit model described a scenario in which experts decided the relevant information necessary for decision making and provided it to the public. This method, however, was discarded as unidirectional, ineffective a nd even paternalistic. The old model was replaced with the concept of a constructive dialogue, in which both scientists and the public engaged in a bidirectional conversation to establish mutual understanding of scientific issues, including the purpose and value of science in society. These new models called for recognition of the local knowledge and expertise of lay members of the public, as well as engagement with the public to understand their needs and beliefs about how science should work for them (Bro ssard & Lewenstein, 2010; Kaminski, 2012; Stilgoe et al., 2005; Miller, 2006). This new approach was expressed in several papers. Finarelli and Pryke (2007) wrote that in the process of building public support for issues, it was critical to take into
30 accou nt what the public values and finds important. Authors such as Billings (2006) and Finarelli and Pryke (2007) called for more attention to the needs of the public, as well as a process that would involve them in decision making. These authors contended tha t this kind of collaborative problem solving can be very effective for a number of reasons. Arvai et al. (2002) tested the case for engagement through an experiment comparing participatory decision making to a more traditional method reminiscent of the def icit model. Arvai et al. argued that simply providing information is not enough; instead, it is the process by which the new information is acquired and understood in terms of c was engaged in a dialogue about what was relevant to their lives, they were more likely to come to a consensus that was acceptable to more people. Arvai et al. (2002) found in their experiment that participatory decision making led to higher support and a more positive view of risks compared to those who were only given information. The authors making process can legitimize policy decisions because it fosters the inclusion of differently formulated values, objectives, argument, stating that a participatory decision making process could help establish public trust and increased perceived legitimacy of science policy decisions, as well as influence the process of informing and educating the public. Authors reasoned that in order to begin to engage the audience, NASA and other space science institutions must better understand to whom they are talking (Cobb, 2011; Ehrenfreund et al ., 2010; Finarelli and Pryke, 2007;). Survey research suggested a very particular demographic for interest in the space sciences: young, male,
31 conservative, educated and high socioeconomic status. Cobb (2011) noted that this description only applied to a s mall percentage of the population; in order to increase support and involvement, communicators needed to reach out to wider demographics. Finarelli and Pryke (2007) recommended that NASA conduct market research to tailor their messages to more specific aud iences, but also to reach out to wider demographics. The authors argued that more research is necessary for NASA to understand who they need to talk to and how best to communicate with those groups (Finarelli & Pryke, 2007). Ehrenfreund et al. (2010) also suggested market research to better understand demographics, bra nd management of space agencies and participatory outreach programs for the public in order to increase program sustainability. Focusing on new methods of communication was important when est ablishing involvement with younger generations. Finarelli and Pryke (2007) recommended that NASA use new media forms like those used by younger audiences. From the literature, it was clear that participatory decision making processes have the potential to impr ove public interest, engagement and knowledge. These improvements should in turn lead to culture and programs. Shifts in NASA Culture Due to public perception and criti cism of NASA outreach, there was a large body of literature dedicated to developing solutions for these issues. Authors noted that recently NASA had acknowledged the need to change its communication and outreach practices. This new perspective was part of the culture shift seen at NASA during the past decade (Arvai et al., 2002; Billings, 2006; Ehrenfreund et al., 2010; Kaminski,
32 2012). Billings (2006) stated that this shift at NASA was evident in the field of planetary nvisions communication as an ongoing, interactive budget, which included $20 million for outreach and education. Arvai et al. (2002) wrote that NASA had begun to consider public involvement in its planning documents, though there were still challenges to be overcome. Recently, many authors have described a culture shift at NASA. Finarelli and Pryke (2007) documented the results of a NASA workshop on public support for the space sciences and made suggestions based on public polling. They emphasized the need to engage the younger audiences as well as to tailor communication to meet the publi perceptions and concerns regarding a proposed Mars sample return mission. He wrote that NASA has employed risk communication professionals to help them address public concerns in the wake of public resistance to the Ulysses, G alileo and Cassini missions. he found that while NASA followed its communication plan and the communication was generally well executed, there was still room for improvement. Several authors also cited the increased number of platforms and activities through which NASA has been trying to reach younger generations, inclu ding the Internet, social media and offering science challeng es to the public (Kaminski, 2012; popular attention. NASA used this platform to give personality to its missions. Vertesi
33 ow the public sees and interacts with mission a human quality with which people could c onnect. The personality of the robots gave a sense of intimacy with technology and science that was difficult to establish through traditional media (Vertesi, 2010). These new techniques and strategies that NASA has begun to employ suggest that the organi zation has recognized the need to adapt to a new social and political environment. Cobb (2011) pointed out that NASA needed to focus on reaching beyond its base of interested supporters, to those who did not see NASA as relevant to their lives. Support is needed among all demographic groups, though NASA needs to develop new ways to engage younger generations, as these will be the generations eventually influencing space policy. Though there was much evidence in the literature for the potential of these new and improved communication and outreach strategies, authors such as Finarelli and Pryke (2007) suggested that that there are still improvements to be made. The dwindling perception of the space program and falling interest in space sciences over the past s everal decades, combined with economic instability, have created a challenge for space policy makers and the space program. NASA has improved its communication and outreach, but it must continue to adapt if it is to flourish in the ever changing political
34 between the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as the decommissioning of the shuttle program. These authors recognized that we currently sit at a tipping point in space science. Our conception of the purpose and value of the space program is being questioned and rewritten. New technology and media forms are being created and adopted at th e same time as interest in and understanding of science and math is dropping. NASA is perceived as lacking popularity but is widely supported. The public reach out and con nect with those who hold contradictory views. It needs to establish new ways of communicating not only to help the agency, but also to help maintain the program that has offered so much to the public The Mars Science Laboratory Mission The Mars Science La boratory mission was chosen for this framing study because of its success and its extensive media coverage, including multimedia elements. This 2011). The Jet Propulsion L aboratory (JPL), the division of NASA that is in charge of robotics projects, is running the mission. The series of missions included well known successes such as the Mars Pathfinder in 1996 and the Mars Exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity in 2003. E arly fly by missions such as the Mariner and Viking crafts and orbiters such as Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey preceded these rover missions. These projects worked to scan and map the surface of Mars, paving the way for the landers and rovers that f ollowed. The Mars Exploration Program encompasses all of these projects as part of the long term effort to understand the formation and evolution of our close planetary neighbor, as well as to search for evidence of the
35 possibility of past life on Mars (NA SA, 2011). The Mars Science Laboratory (also known day flight to Mars, successfully landed in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012. According to NASA, three things that would in dicate the possibility of habitable environments are liquid water, certa in chemicals necessary for life and sources of utilized. This strategy seems most likely to pro duce evidence if life ever existed, because to the best of scientific knowledge at this time, water is necessary for life to exist. Curiosity will also look for certain carbon containing molecules that might indicate the past existence of life on Mars. In addition, the rover will look for other minerals that may provide clues to geological formation and past sources of energy, as well as take measurements of isotopes from the air to learn about the content of past atmospheres (NASA, 2011). The chances of f inding evidence of life are certainly small, and there is certainly the possibility the mission may discover that it is unlikely that life existed on Mars at all. However, the results of the experiments and the ongoing missions may help us to understand th e origins of life on Earth. NASA stated that the Curiosity mission is not designed to find nor is it capable of providing absolute proof or disproof of life on Mars. However, the mission can assess the possibility that life existed and can provide valuable insight into the formation of early Earth. The data collected in this mission will also be very valuable in planning future missions to search for evidence of life (NASA, 2011).
36 The mission is focusing on a landing site in Gale Crater, which lies near Ma equator. Gale Crater was picked based on five years of satellite observations of many candidate sites where liquid water may once have existed. Curiosity carries 10 instruments that will perform scientific experiments. The rover itself provides mobili t y, power from a nuclear battery and communications. The robotic arm collects samples from rocks, soil and air, which are analyzed inside the body of the rover. The primary mission is 98 weeks or one Martian year. Each day, groups of scientists from many c ountries and organizations will decide what tasks the rover will be assigned and send commands for Curiosity to execute on the next day. The rover cost $2.5 billion USD, and its parts were fabricated by many different labs in the United States and abroad ( NASA, 2011 ). Framing Studies Frames are organizational structures in communication that convey co ncepts via the patterns, themes and motifs that characterize the frame. Hertog and McLeod (2001) wrote, We view frames as relatively comprehensive structures of meaning made up of a number of concepts and the relations among those concepts. Although each frame provides principles for the organization of social reality, frames are more than just principles; frames have their own content, as well as a set of rule s for the processing of new content. (p.140) In essence, frames are a way of talking about or presenting a particular issue to an audience. Frames not only convey the concept, but also create a way of understanding that concept for the audience. Reese (20 that are socially shared and persistent over time, that work symbolically to meaningfully
37 imbued with context that is relevan t to the society or culture in which it is used, acting as a recognizable reference around which the audience can develop their understandings. Through the simultaneous act of conveying concepts and creating understanding, frames demonstrate their authors ideas. Authors of framing studies argue that this gives framing analysis the ability to more deeply describe and characterize texts, ultimately uncovering more meaning than by analyzing media effects alone. Entman (1993) finition of framing theory focused on this effect. He wrote, Framing essentially involves selection and salience. To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a p articular problem definition, casual interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described (1993, p. 52, italics in original). The frames that are used in a text are indicative of the social construction of concepts both by the authors and society at large. The frame itself also reveals how these constructions of understanding are being conveyed to readers. Entman stated, consciousness is exer ted by the transfer (or communication) of information from one location such as a speech, utterance, news report, or novel (1993, p.51). The goal of a framing study is to reveal these patterns of influence and work toward a better understanding of the issues.
38 The aim of this study was to use framing theory to analyze and compare nation al newspapers. It is important to study how space missions are framed by the news media because coverage of these missions influences how the missions and the way they relate to the projects and how they see these projects affecting their lives can profoundly affect their support for the missions. Public support for these missions influences policy and funding decisions for the administrations that conduct these mission s. Public support also affects other areas of society such as science literacy, technology and the economy. The use of frames by different institutions, in this case the these missions are constructed, maintain ed and changed over time. several kinds of multimedia and interactive platforms and has also been widely covered in many traditional media for ms. This mission came after a decade of attempted ch ange in NASA culture, processes and communication outreach. The study compared the in order to better understand the similarities and differences in the way these institutions presented space science issues today. Due to the relative recentness of the landing, no analysis of the media coverage of Curiosity was found in the peer reviewed literature. While there were many studies
39 patterns. Stephenson (2012) explored the framing of the Galileo satell ites in the missions. One of the goals of this study was to fill that gap. This study aimed to answer the following questions: RQ1: What frames appear in the national media coverage of the Mars Science Laboratory mission? RQ2: What frames appear in the articles about the Mars Science Laboratory mission available on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website? RQ3: What are the similarities and differences between the frames used by JPL and the national media to describe the Mars Science Laboratory mission the public?
40 CHAPTER 3 METHODS Based on the importance of communicating clearly about the space program and alyze rover. As a recent, high profile mission, a study of the communication patterns illustrated the ways in which NASA and traditional media currently engage the publi c on key space science issues. This framing study explored whether, and how, the communication effort addressed wider public demographic groups and new political and economic contexts. Data were analyzed by id entifying common themes, motifs and frames used to convey information about the Curiosity rover to the public. Analysis of frames took place at several different levels. The first level was the qualitative analysis of central ideas or concepts that defined the frame (Hertog & McLeod, 2001). Hertog and McLeod argued that there are several indicators of a frame. that organizes the concepts being addressed into a story that the audience would recognize and react to i n a specific way. The narrative is an extended metaphor or story that gives the frame salience for the audience. The story gives the audience context with which to interpret and relate to the issues involved. Another indicator of a frame is the presence or absence of the people involved in the story; those who speak, are sources, or play certain roles help to characterize the frame. The presence or absence of specific issues, or their relative emphasis in the text also indicates frames. Another level of ide ntifying frames involves close qualitative analysis of elements such as c hoice of words or phrases, tone and use of symbols. These rhetorical tools
41 further characterize the frame and are indicative of the patterns and motifs being presented. Hertog and McL a djectives, adverbs, verb tenses presence of a frame. The use of symbols is indicative of the way in which the authors intended the audience to interpret the issues being framed. The use of rhetoric and tone come together to create the frames, which describe the overall image of the story as it was presented by the author. These indicators were used by the primary coder and co coder to identify and describe the frames used in communication about the Mars Curiosity Rover. The articles were analyzed using qualitative framing analysis, as described above. They were and source, the type of media (text, audio, visual, or other), the author, the length of the article in words (or seconds) the main topic of the article and any secondary topics wer e r ecorded ( Refer to Appendix A for details ) The dominant frames were identified and defined, starting with an open coding process as described by Creswell (2013). All of the articles were read through once, during which major themes, patterns, motifs were m arked on the articles. Once a broad understanding of the content and style of the articles was obtained, the articles were analyzed via the constant comparative method (Creswell, 2013). This involved reading the articles again, with the content of the enti re set in mind. Occurrences of specific ideas and patterns were gathered into categories, and deviations from these patterns were also noted. These categories were called
42 An y time the definition of an old theme was altered or a new theme was developed, the previously coded articles were reviewed and previously assigned codes were updated. Once the entire set of articles was read and completely coded, the themes were compared to each other for their similarities and any intersection or relationship between them. Themes that were found to be related to each other, those having similar patterns, content, or conveying consistent messages, were grouped into an overarching frame. Th e final set of frames reflected all the identified themes, as well as indicated how these themes worked together to create a specific understanding of the issues for the audience. A co coder experienced in framing methods coded 10% of the total sample to e nsure validity; consensus between the primary coder and the co coder was reached. As the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is managing the Mars Science Laboratory mission, the website it maintains, http://mars.jpl.nasa .gov/msl/ is the main site for the mission. NASA also has a small section on its website dedicated to MSL, http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html as it does for all its current, past and future missions. These two websites are the first results on most Internet browser http://msl scicorner.jpl.nasa.gov c and appears to be primarily a resource for students, teacher s and scientists.
43 databases of national newspapers. There were two reasons to include both modern mass media such as Internet sources and traditional media coverage. The first was the difference in audience demographics between these two sources, particularly age. Younger generations tend to use new media forms such a s the Internet, while traditional media such as newspapers and television are still more heavily used by older generations (Pew Research Center, 2011). Using these two sources also captured any difference in understanding that might arise between those who only get their information about the mission from newspapers and those who are interested enough to go to the website for more information. Data collection from the JPL website included only those articles entitled which were primarily photographs with a two to three sentence description of the content, were deemed too short to con tain framing. To study traditional media frames of Curiosity, articles were taken from national circulation newspapers using two databases, the Access World News database and ProQuest. Articles selected came from the top 10 circulation newspapers in the Un ited States, including Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, San Jose Mercury News, New York Post, Was hington Post, Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune (Lulofs, 2012). Texts from local or state
44 papers wer e not chosen for this study because the goal was to analyze frames that were available to a wide audience, so as to better compare the results to those of the JPL website. The sample of national newspaper articles was limited to those focusing on Curiosity 2 sentences or instances where Curiosity appears only as background or context for the story) were not included. Stories less than 400 words in length were discarded as too short to contain developed frames. Articles were identified from both databases using any article about the mission would likely contain all three of those words. The date range for all articles was limited to a window of six months before the launch of the mission from Cape Canaveral to six months after the rover had landed on Mars. This time period ran from June 26, 2011 to February 6, 2013. This range included all stages of the mission: the six months leading up to the launch, the launch date, the duration of the trip to Mars, the landing date and the six months following the landing, including the return of early data from the rover
45 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS date range. Six of these were discarded because they contained only announcements of press conferences. The remaining 25 articles were coded. Among these articles there were eight unique authors, tho ugh most articles were written by the two authors who wrote at least five articles each. The search of the Access World News and the ProQuest databases returned an initial sample of 302 articles using the three search terms. After removing duplicates, irre levant articles and articles of less than 400 words, the final set contained 96 articles. Three articles came from the Chicago Sun Times 24 from the Los Angeles Times one from the New York Daily News 12 from the New York Times eight from the San Jose M ercury News 30 from the USA Today seven from the Wall Street Journal and 12 from the Washington Post The final set contained no articles from The Chicago Tribune or The New York Post Among the newspaper articles there were 31 unique authors; however mo st stories were written by one of a group of six authors, each of whom wrote more than five articles (Refer to Appendix C for details). average than those found in the newspaper se t. There were also fewer articles, which meant that there was less space in which frames could be developed by authors. However, the set of articles from JPL exhibited most of the same frames as the national media coverage. The JPL articles did not have an y frames that did not also appear in the newspaper set; the main difference between the two sets of articles was the tone, th e emphasis on particular frames and the absence of some of the frames found in the
46 newspaper articles. While it was expected that t opics being covered would be similar, if not identical, between the two sources, there was an intriguing consistency in word choice, p hrasing, some elements of style and many metaphors. Some themes and metaphors in the newspaper sample seemed to have been taken directly from the JPL articles. This suggests that overall, the audience that read JPL articles and the audience that read newspaper articles received much of the same framing, and thus likely received many of the same overarching messages. The writi ng style of the JPL Feature Stories varied s lightly from article to article and occasionally within the articles themselves. At times, the writing was a professionally interested but detached style that characterized the newspaper articles. Occasionally th a mountain in the middle of an impact crater. scientif ic voice, defined by highly technical vocabulary and descriptions of complicated scientific topics. Frequently, these instances occurred as deviations in articles that were otherwise written at a level quite accessible to the general public. Those sources summarized or quoted in the JPL articles were entirely professionals from NASA or JPL, or associated with them. This is not surprising, as these articles were produced by JPL. Many of the experts were quoted using language that the public could easily und erstand. Though there were a few exceptions, for the most part there seemed to be a conscious effort to engage the public through accessible language. The newspaper articles also relied heavily on the experts for quotes, though some articles did cite outsi de members of the scientific community, and
47 very occasionally, the public. The tone of the JPL articles, while positive, was more informative, which coincided with a higher emphasis on explaining scientific concepts. The newspaper articles took a much more emotional tone, but they had a broader audience and spent more space on events and implications. While all of the articles by JPL were informative in some manner, very few articles were entirely informative; most tried to include some interest factor such as exciting narratives, humanization, or emotional angles Research Question 1 and 2 In all, 10 overarching frames were found, each providing a distinct lens through These frames are in no particular order; the order in which they are presented here does not refle ct their frequency within the articles or when chronologically they emerged. With the exception of the last two frames, which appeared later chronologically, these frames were distributed throughout all of the articles. These frames seemed to have differen t purposes. Some frames evoked a tone that could particular topics. Some frames provided an explicit perspective through which the audience might understand the issues s urrounding the mission. All of the frames were In the analysis of frames that follows, each frame is defined and cons idered individually. Relationships between the frames are explored in the Discussion section.
48 newspaper articles is discussed, followed by a discussion of its appearance in the JPL articles Research Question 3 Action Movie This frame most often took the form of an extended metaphor, casting Curiosity as the hero in an exciting and dramatic action flick. The metaphor was occasionally supplemented by references to actual mo vies, and in a few cases direct discussion of convey information. By comparing the mission to a movie and Curiosity to the hero, the frame imbued the mission with the same emo tions that an individual might experience while watching a good film; excitement, anxiety, anticipation, a connection with the characters and ultima tely an interest in the outcome Newspaper articles wspaper articles, but most overtly by the use of action words and phrases. Among these articles, the movement and action of the launch and descent vehicles were almost always described with high which created excitement. Similarly, newspaper articles contained phrases such as the tone of the journey as thrilling and suspenseful, evoking the pace and energy of an action flick. This tone was also achieved by quotes from mission scientists and officials. A mission scientist, quoted in an article by Todd Halvors on in USA Today
49 impending action. They also reflected a positive and confident attitude that suggested that both the rover and the scientists were ready to take on the challenges of the mission. Quotes in the newspaper articles also reflected a combination of anxiety with excitement and anticipation. A launch supervisor, quoted in another article by Halvorson quotes appeared around the launch period, but were very apparent around the time of the landing. In an article by Mike S nider for USA Today a NASA scientist commented, Los Angeles Times created a feeling of anxiety, giving the audience the sense of foreboding that occurs in all action movies in the calm just before the action starts. By setting the scene in this way, the authors related t he landing sequence to the action sequence of a movie, thereby imbuing it with the emotions that individuals feel as they place themselves in If the landing was the action sequence, Curiosity was the hero in that scene. In order to cas t the rover in this role, authors depicted the rover as a character worth admiring. Authors of the newspaper articles conveyed in their own words, and through the words of scientists and engineers, that Curiosity was not merely exciting and
50 inspiring and more amazing than any rover that had come before. Curiosity was fledged scientific laborat awesome that it was worthy of everyon Specific instances in these articles characterized the rover as the ultimate machine, the epitome of cutting edge science and technology. In a New York Times article, an assistant NASA administrator was quoted describing Cu incredible athlete or a super soldier; something that has been specific ally trained to overcome the odds of such dangerous missions. Similarly, Robert Lee Hotz wrote for the Wall Street Journal The biggest and best equipped robotic rover ever launched to another planet is hurtling toward a rendezvous with Mars, in a $2.5 bi llion mission that tests the engineering limits of interplanetary exploration and takes the search for alien life to a new level. Here, Curiosity broke through barriers to take the United States to ever loftier heights of science, technology and discovery Curiosity was illustrated as so much more than those that came before it that it was no longer just another machine. Curiosity appeared to ascend to superhero status. Not only the rover, but the entire mission was characterized as being beyond comparison Marcia Dunn quoted a program director in an article for the San Jose Mercury News
51 mission was co mpared to science fiction in several articles. In other articles, the mission wizard Lisa Krieger wrote for the San Jose Mercury News A precise sequence of engineering marvels must occur the moment the spacecraft hits the top Martian atmosphere, screaming in at of acceleration. It is an Olympian feat, involving parachutes, rockets and a wac The mission was so amazing that it exceeded any ordinary description, even at times crossing the boundary from real ism into the unbelievable. Kenneth Chang quoted a NASA engineer in his New York Times This language characterized Cu riosity, the mission and the goals as beyond anything defied conventional limits. The mission became a series of extraordinary events that might have made up the plot o f a blockbuster movie. In total, these articles described a mission unlike any before. While some articles were saturated with such praise, almost all the newspaper articles contained a line or two of language in this vein. Adding to the dramatic narrative created by this frame was the characterization of Mars. Mars was drawn as a foreboding place, several times being described as nistrator was quoted in a New York Times
52 setting of the action story, an alien world full of intrigue and mystery. frequently described ok was employed in many ust before the landing. He quoted a theme fed a growing sense of mystery in this frame. Scott Gold quoted a mission The authors depicted Mars as holding an anci ent tale that would reveal clues to our own past, making for an irresistible mystery for the hero, Curiosity, to solve. The mission itself was the adventure on which Curiosity would embark. Words or die dive toward the surface pter in the long longer adventure. This characterization might have been reminiscent of the serial comic
53 book adventures or the epic fantasy and science fiction movie series that have recently populated movie theaters. If the mission was a movie, it needed a trailer to engage interest. Kenneth suspense and cinematography of a movie preview, what will happen next month when a one the mission. The analog y suggested to the audience that the mission would have the same entertainment factor as an action flick. This metaphor was reinforced by store, the spacecraft will the Wall Street Journal up WALL to these movies reinforced not only the metaphor, but also the role of hero for Curiosity by comparing the m ission to movies with robot protagonists. This metaphor even described the landing. Alicia Chang wrote an article for the San Jose Mercury News among the newspaper articles. While this was not a direct reference to anything, it also evoked the science fiction genre. Similarly, when describing the transmission of data, k to Earth. The term space, but it may also have harkened back to the original Star Trek series, where it was
54 the term used to describe the science fiction concept of t ransporting people from one point in space to another via a stream of energy. In one article, the idea of the mission as a movie was taken literally. Mitchell Landsberg wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times stating, p, and NASA officials were asked Saturday if they could justify the $2.5 billion being spent on the Mars Science Lab at a time of great need. Grotzinger [Chief Scientist] said the cost, divided among the entire U.S. population, amounted to no more than the stment. The movie was no longer a metaphor; the mission was the equivalent of a movie that the U.S. population had bought tickets to watch. In a way, this framing implied the mission was better than a movie because this mission was real. The mission was ha ppening in real time and would have real positive impact by inspiring children and extending the technological progress of the nation. This action packed frame appeared almost without fail among newspaper articles. The frame also appeared at all stages of the mission, in the run up to the launch, the launch and landing themselves, as well as the immediate aftermath of the landing. This frame was permeated with the emotions that described the experience of watching such a movie. The framing suggests that vi ewers would be on the edges of their seats with anticipation, feeling anxiety for the danger their hero faces and excitement at its victories. The rover was portrayed as a pioneer, an untried champion venturing into unknown, mysterious and dangerous territ ory. This frame had the potential to put the readers in a mindset that was excited and positive. Often these
55 action descriptions acted as the article hooks, to draw the audience in and to set the tone. JPL website articles o present among the JPL articles, though to lesser extent. The frame was characterized by action words and phrases similar to were also utilized here. Elizabeth Zub screaming out of the sky, then break its fall by popping a parachute and engaging Elizabeth Zubritsky also quoted a mission framing created a sense of imminent ch ange, the arrival of something big and new or a sudden, life altering event. Though it did appear, there seemed to be less emphasis on the emotional portrayal of excitement, anxiety and anticipation by scientists and engineers than in the newspaper article s. The JPL articles did contain strong characterization of the action movie setting. In the JPL articles, authors painted a picture of Mars for the readers; their descriptions shared the view that Mars was a hazardous environment. Dauna Coulter described M drenched, bitterly cold, bleak world. Enormous dust storms explode
56 the audience in the scene in the same way a movie might provide a panorama of a st range landscape to set the tone. These descriptions offered a view of a windblown, frozen wasteland. While Mars was also characterized as hazardous and threatening in the newspaper set, the scene was not illustrated quite so vividly. This characterization truly set the scene of the movie, creating an experience for the readers and possibly allowing them to better understand the challenge the rover faced. Sharp and Gale Crater. I t was established throughout the JPL articles that the formation of Mt. Sharp in the middle of Gale Crater was literally a mystery. D. C. Agle wrote that its formation from space. The area that Curiosity was exploring was regularly described the mystery of Gale Crater. the promise is to get the story of an important envi ronmental breakpoint in the deep deep and very old mystery. This article, in particular, suggested that while the mission might not find evidence of life, it would still be solving this complex mystery.
57 the mission. The characterization was almost identical in places. D. C. Agle wrote in one there was less of an emphasis on the amazing feats of the mission and more specific characterization of Curiosity. Again Curiosity appeared as the hero of these adventures, daring the long journey and treacherous landing to solve an ancient mystery. Curiosity was specifically cast as a prospector or paleontologist in this harsh landscape. Dauna Clay could seal organics off from the outside environment much like it preserved dience to imagine Curiosity panning for gold or excavating in the earth for dinosaur bones. In the case of paleontology, the metaphor suggested that Curiosity was searching for clues to our own past, much as paleontologists here on earth do. The metaphor o ffered the promise of exciting discoveries, great treasure and adventure. among newspaper articles, though it was used less regularly in the JPL articles. Where rame dominated the characterization of all aspects of the mission among newspaper articles, the frame was less pervasive among JPL articles. In both cases, however, it constructed a strong narrative through which the audience might understand the mission. The extended metaphor of a movie could have been relatable to a wide audience and promised an emotional, exciting journey
58 Awesome Science set a tone and could have persuaded th e audience to adopt a certain view of the mission. However, instead of characterizing the mission, this frame specifically set a scientific advancement were celebrated as monumental achievements that everyone Newspaper articles articles. The innovative angles of the mi zapping laser only were these features innovative, authors rked to impress the audience with the science of the mission, making it seem futuristic and exciting. The innovative nature of the mission was further emphasized by labeling astrobiology mission since the Viking missions, the first use of a banking maneuver in the descent and the first time recording a landing live and in high definition. Repeatedly emphasized was that Curiosity would be the first rover to drill on Mars. Over all, authors suggested or openly stated that these innovations were unlike anything anyone had
59 revolutionize deep space science, not only searching for indications that Mars is or was habitable, but paving the way for the next critical steps in exploration soil sample mission was characterized as the first step toward a new paradigm of s pace exploration. entering a modern era was exciting; quotes like these implie d a new, brighter future was ahead, made possible by these marvelous advancements in science and technology. The science of the mission was also infused with the excitement of the scientists anticipated in scientific wait to see what Curiosity would find suggested that the audience should be excited. The articles also contained several instances in which officials and scientists attempted to share their excitement for science with the publ ic. In reference to the video game otherworldly exploration and the science behind it, was not the landing or the mission that was awesome; the actual science was cool. In other articles, science was cast as valuable and important as well as tempted to provide an accurate view of the science and technology aspects of the mission for the readers. By
60 emphasizing the science, the authors lent it importance and implied the public should understand and care about these concepts. Often the science a nd engineering was described with interest, intrigue or excitement. Early in the chronology of the articles, there were many discussions of the selection of the landing site, Gale Crater. Authors h site of investigations that we informally named Mount Sharp, was cast as impr of the finalists contained vast scientific Similarly, Bart Jansen stated in a very early article for USA Today and wealth created a tangible metaphor for what is often viewed by the public as an abstract or esoteric purs uit. The metaphor gave the science literal value. Authors characterized the area as the perfect location for scientific work, and the work as worth of the scientific aspects of the mission was a critical JPL website articles the newspaper articles, which was not surpr
61 much more implied within JPL articles, whereas newspaper articles tended to explicitly describe the science as awesome. The science was allowed to stand on its own in most JPL articles, which implied importance. The au thors invested no extra effort to make the way they did. This was indicated by the use of certain phrases describing the mission statements indicated excitement and interest without overtly stating how amazing the science is. Similarly, throughout the JPL articles there was a high emphasis on how much bigger, better and more advanced Curiosi ty was compared to its predecessors. The characterizations, in turn, led to discussion of the new systems that were designed to land it safely. Many articles cited the n ew landing sequence, the precision landing and the advanced parachute that was developed. Frequently this theme was also identified Calvin explained in one article that the element of pride in this theme that was slightly more evident here than in the newspaper articles. However, the tone of the discussion was much more informative in the JPL articles. In the newspaper set, descriptions of the innovative features of the mission were far more exuberant and dramatized. In an article for JPL, Whitney Calvin wrote, The car mages will come from the one megapixel Hazard Avoidance cameras (Hazcams) attached to the body of the rover.
62 Remote Sensing Mast and its high tech cameras, a process that may take several days, Curiosity will begin to survey its exotic surroundings. The inclusion of technical details here indicated that more importance was placed on the science by these authors. This language also indicated that these authors placed a very high value on th e public receiving accurate descriptions of the science. Elements of newspaper artic les, some JPL articles were entirely dedicated to descriptions of new scientific instruments or experiments. These articles suggested that authors felt it was important that the scientific content of the m ission be portrayed accurately. articles as it did in the newspaper articles. The primary difference between the sets of articles was the level to which the science was dramatized. In both cases, the frame worked to construct the scien ce of the mission as interesting and worthy of attention. In the JPL articles, this frame appeared more frequently, and more emphasis was placed Scientific Risk frame was a content oriented frame; its purpose appeared to be to accurately convey the challenges, risks and steep odds facing the mission to the audience. Unless it intersected with one of the tone though there was an element of dramatization in the newspaper articles. The descriptions of the realities of the mission in this frame contributed to tone in other frames, but more often the goal of thi s frame seemed simply to be conveying facts, so
63 that the audience could better understand the nature of the mission and its inherent risks Newspaper articles This frame appeared right away in the newspaper articles, beginning with a characterization of Ma Descriptions of Mars were almost always accompanied by one particular statistic that about two thirds of past M ars missions have failed. It was typical to find language such Characterizing Mars with this language, backed up by statistical evidence, may have helped convince the audience of the challenge of landing on Mars. The highly risky nature of this particular mission was played up continuously throughout coverage of the mission. Robert Lee Hotz wrote that the mission relied on an part landing system that has so far only worked in computer tested in the lab appeared in several articles, as well as the fact that there would be no help from Earth. The seven minute transmission delay between Mars and Earth was the puter landing. Hotz continued, writing Discussions such as these seemed intended to to help convey the realities of space missions.
64 A sense of uncertainty concerning aspects of the mission also appeared at minutes fate of the spacecraft might not be apparent for hours after its scheduled touchdown Curiosity either lands safely or crashes chronology of the articles there were comments implying that even the scientists thought the mission was unfeasible. However, these comments were rare and disappe ared in the months before the approach to Mars. Halvorson wrote in one of the some of th common for uncertainty to creep into the articles, it was usually limited to discussion of unknowns that had already been identified and prepared for prior to the launch. This allowed the uncertainty to be counteracted by discussions of preparations and planning. Also adding to the sense of risk were discussions about what was at stake if the mission should fail. A pervasive theme was the monetary investment in the mission. How ever, the discussion of cost in the newspaper articles was intriguing. Extended discussions of the costs and benefits of the mission appeared rarely. However, the cost of the mission, $2.5 billion, was mentioned in a very large proportion of articles. Very often it seemed as if the cost was an afterthought or a descriptor of the mission, a simple fact to be tossed out for informative purposes. For instance, Scott Gold wrote in that were
65 Science Laboratory project are anxious to get the eight month journey to the red planet number acted merely as a statistic. However, the frequency with which the cost was mentioned became intriguing. It was a constant reminder in the articles of what had been invested in the mission and may have been particularly meaningful in the current economic climate. The few times the discussion of cost did appear were equally intriguing. Only a few articles chose to discuss the mission in the context of the economy or the federal cost was discussed, the mission was al most always portrayed as a positive use of money, even in difficult times. Marc Kaufman wrote for the Washington Post The $2.5 billion mission comes at a crucial time for NASA. The agency faces intense budget scrutiny as it seeks to find a post space shu ttle identity. Furthermore, NASA is under great pressure to justify its spending. With the project 30 percent over budget and two years late, much rides on its outcome. A failure would embolden doubters who argue that the country This in stance was perhaps the most serious characterization of the cost of the mission in the entire set of newspaper articles. More often, the seriousness of the investment was offset by authors in their descriptions of what the public would get for the money. A busting $2.5 billion, Curiosity is the priciest gamble yet, ion gamble
66 scientists hope will give unparalleled insights into how Mars evolved and whether it ever that scientists would gain, justifying the risk. The overall sense created by this characterization was that the authors offered the cost of the mission to the public as information, but chose to let the public make their own judgments about the rel ative value of the investment. However, more was at stake in this mission than money. Frequently the time and effort of the engineers and scientists involved in the preparation of the mission seemed more apparent than the monetary investment. Scott Gold w Similarly, Halvorson wrote that Eight years of hard wor k and personal sacrifice will be on the line. And the chief engineer of guidance, navigation and control, along with the rest of his Laboratory. This angle may have been be more emo tional than the monetary risk because the audience could often connect with the experience of putting a lot of time and effort into a project that has deep personal meaning. The discussion of what was at stake created a sense of risk, but also may have pos itioned the audience on the side of the scientists and encouraged the public to root for a success. Uncertainty in the form of language was also a part of this frame. This element was particularly evident in earlier articles. Later hesitant language was r eplaced by
67 tly known about Mars and its potential for sustaining life in the past. This language, while technically accurate, promised nothing. The objective of the mission was also couched in such this characterization was a foil for the exuberance and exciteme nt created by the reminder that there are no guarantees in scientific exploration. With so much discussion of risk and uncertainty, it was not surprising to find the emergenc e of a reassuring theme. Despite the amount of time spent exploring everything that could go wrong, almost as much time was dedicated to explaining how much planning and preparation had gone into the mission. This theme appeared very early and was maintain ed over all the newspaper coverage. Mike Anton quoted Bill Nye, Even after the lan ding, authors described the precise and carefully planned way in patience and checking things out in safety procedures, particularly those put in place to contain the plutonium that powered the rover. The safety
68 discussions were universally positive and reassuring, emphasizing multiple layers of safety and backups. A few articles also discussed the sterilization process Curiosity underwent (by law) in order to ensure no microbes from Earth found their way to Mars and survived. The high emphas is on planning and preparation often appeared directly alongside discussions of danger and risk. These two themes worked together to provide a complete understanding of scientific risk: all challenges are prepared for, which reduces risk, but uncertainty r emains. Although hesitation was expressed throughout the articles, as the date of the er to permeated the articles, even in the presence of risk. Scott Gold wrote of mission e the confident front, the reality of risk still remained. As the landing approached, other Curiosity zeroed in on Mars at 8,000 mph Saturday, the Jet Propulsion Laborato ry in La Canada Flintridge, which is managing the mission for NASA, was a combustible blend and mirrored the juxtaposition of risk and preparation. It was this juxtapos ition of the confidence born of planning and preparation with the harsh reality of the difficulties facing the mission that ultimately defined the risk, high reward ission was portrayed as a gamble, but one that paid off well. This
69 juxtaposition was seen in several places. In an article before the landing, Halvorson launch, stating Project scientists still are investigating the potential effects of Teflon contamination created during the operation of a rover drill. Grotzinger said debris created by the drill would complicate but not prevent analyses of rock and soil samples that might contain carbon compounds. This possible effect was one of the very few problems that the mission faced, and it was mentioned only a small number of times. The emphasis in this discussion was on the reality of the problem, but also the possibility f or success. Halv orson quoted a mission engineer stating hard to imagine what else we could do. But one could conceive of ys hold in consider? And with This kind of statement presented the juxtaposition from the opposite perspective; regardless of how much planning and work goes i nto the mission, there was no promise prudently to ensure the greatest probability of success. But the reality is that this is a ect of these juxtapositions may have been to develop realistic expectations and to increase understanding among readers of how scientific risk is measured and managed. JPL website articles to a far lesser extent than in the newspaper articles. There were many references to planning and preparation, and one instance in which patience was implied. However, there was not
70 the same discussion of the risky nature of the mission or of the challeng es the rover amount of careful preparation that underpins these projects. This frame, like the frames that express excitement, anticipation and victory, seemed to be much more subdued than the same frames in the newspaper articles. and expert sources also indicated the presence of this frame. Use of qualifiers such as uncertainty in the scientific process. The only mention of safety in the JPL articles was a which the author, Dauna Coulter, reminded the audience that patience was necessary, justification of the slow process, but with the promise of great rewards. Among JPL articles, there was far less emphasis on the challenges or risks of the mission, but rather a focus on references to safety protocols, mission planning and pre paration, technological testing and redundancies. Agle and Webster quoted a project manager stating ng an SUV sized vehicle next to the side of a mountain 85 million miles from home is always stimulating. Our engineering and science teams continue their preparation for that big day and the The emphasis here was not nearly a s much on the challenge of the mission as it was on the
71 excitement of the landing and the preparations. In the same article, another scientist ke sure it drove, took pictures and co llected samples as expected by the mission planners. It was that the planning and preparation gave the scientists reason to be confident. In a later article, the same proje get one shot at a Mars Landing, and the pyrotechnic charges we are using are great for reliably providing instantaneous, irreversible actions like deploying a parachute or would not normally associate with pyrotechnics. The only other explicit discussion of the risk of the mission was in an article by Agle from the night of the landing, They also knew that landing safely on Mars meant more than simply landing on Mars great length is not simple at all. Their rocket propelled backpack and rover lowe ring Sky Crane system were getting their first all up test 154 million miles (248 million kilometers) away from home, and there was still plenty plenty. While challenge and risk wer e clearly implied in this passage, there was no discussion of precisely what that risk was, or explicit exclamations of the danger. This was a marked deviation from the same frame in the newspaper articles, where the challenges and risks were highly dramat ized. The implication of the difference in this frame between the two sets of articles was that JPL scientists understood and took for granted that planning, preparation and testing, as well as slow and careful procedures, is the nature of scientific work There was no reason to dwell on how difficult or risky the mission was as long as that reality
72 had been taken into account during planning. This perspective, conveyed through language and emphasis, did generate two slightly different versions of this fra me. While in both sets there was a focus on conveying accurately the nature of scientific risk, the emotional angle of the newspaper articles created a sense that more was at stake. The JPL articles seemed more likely to imply that the risks were already u nderstood and accounted for. The Expectations Game appeared only in the newspaper articles. It was immediately recognizable and conveyed the explicit message of cautioning people not to expect too much. Statements clarifying the purpose and capability of the mission appeared regularly in the newspaper articles, e Curiosity rover is not equipped to directly detect life. Rather, its advanced science instruments are geared to detect the presence of directly detect signs of life, this mission was not capable of that kind of science. These statements were likely made to counter any unintentional excitement or anticipation generated by misunderstanding the purpose of the mission. There was an occasional exception to this type of statemen t; a few scientists expressed confidence in what the rover was designed to do. Dan Verango quoted a mission scientist for the USA Today ere statements justifying the limits of the mission;
73 Earth made it less likel y that the audience would see an announcement of such a discovery on Mars. Occasionally authors of the newspaper articles picked up on the careful trying to downplay expe would be critical for those following the mission. This was part of a larger discussion of the realities of space science missions. Scientists were quoted even before the landing cautioning audiences not to expect amazing results immediately after landing. The JPL articles contained no direct assessments of expectations; probably because it was their own officials downplaying the expectations. This frame very openly discussed past expectation mistakes that led to ared to be a direct effort to head off any negative reaction from the public. In one article for the Los Angeles Times high that the results seemed disappointing even when the missions conditions that would signal that Mars once could have supported life would be ns of what a success would look like. Anton also quoted a mission scientist discussing the reality of looking for a needle in a haystack and the haystack is the size of
74 and similar ones were cited in other articles. Though the assessment of what success would probably look like seemed slightly grim, Anton concluded his article by quoting serious reality that the authors and particularly the scientists worked to establish, the scientists made sure that there was a positive spin on the odds. The risks might have been great, but they would still endeavor to succeed. In Your Neighborhood The This frame attempted to reduce the abstraction of the mission by comparing it to something with which the audience was familiar. Topics of comparison included metaphors readily avai lable to most readers such as the home, cars, weather and travel. This frame also included the humanization of mission scientists and officials, which may have made th em more relatable to the public Newspaper articles Among newspaper articles, this frame utilized many metaphors that compared aspects of the mission with daily life on Earth. While such comparisons are not unusual in cases where the audience is unfamiliar with the technical or abstract elements of the topic being discussed, this language was particularly familiar. Mars was repeatedly mission to discover whether Mars was ever capable of supporting life was referred to as Another common practice in the newspaper articles was to characterize Mars using
75 readers using daily appliances and technology as well. Mike Anton described Curiosity wrote in the Washington Post that Cur these brought Curiosity right also could have reminded the audience of the relevance of NASA to their daily lives. the impressiveness of the mis sion; this frame seemed to reduce the conceptual distance between the audience and Mars. One author extended the metaphor of daily life throughout the entire article. In a themed editorial for the Chicago Sun Times l to the Red Planet may not seem all that remarkable. After all, this is one of the few places where you can take a train to Mars, that being a Metra stop on the Northwest sic he city. These metaphors were recognizable for the Chicago audience, making Mars seem familiar by comparison. In discussing the odds facing all Mars missions, the author f ic process with relatable humor. The author completed the metaphor with the statement, likely worked particularly well for Chicagoans, but many people might have rela ted to
76 really going on with the Mars mission. The article also implied they could und erstand the risk being taken and could appreciate the implications of the project. The metaphor of travel made a strong appearance in the newspaper articles. Usually this was in the form of comparisons of the size of Gale Crater to the combined areas of Co nnecticut and Rhode Island. The size of Mount Sharp was regularly compared to mountains in North America, particularly Mount Rainier, outside of Seattle. Other travel metaphors included the Grand Canyon and the desert southwest, which acted as illustration s of the kind of geology the mission would be studying. The geology manifestation of the tra vel frame came when Curiosity was compared to a traveler. Lisa metaphor seemed to have been picked s traight out of the JPL articles and was not only applied to Cur iosity, but to the rover Opportunity in another article. The travel theme may not have been quite as accessible to every member of the public as the metaphors from the home and daily life. However, the travel metaphors were still highly recognizable and cr eated an association between exploring Mars and experiencing the wonder and excitement that comes from vacationing in a new and exotic place. frame was the humanization of the offic ials, engineers and scientists working on the project. It is probably fair to state that scientists are still frequently stereotyped as distant, unemotional, elite or unapproachable. A lot of space was spent in the articles highlighting key personnel from the project and characterizing them in ways with which
77 whip smart engineer named Ray Baker will be staring into his computer screen at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, hopefu l and helpless about [the mission], he said Characterizations like this had the potential to create the critical emotional connection that was necessary for the audience to relate to the scientists. The audience might not understo od their dedication to the project and the emotional investment in the outcome. Humor was also injected through descriptions of the people, as when Halvorson scientific wa to focus on the superstitious practices in the articles leading up to the landing. Belief in superstitions was directly at odds with the hard science that went into the mission de sign and execution, which may have made these scientists seem more familiar and less intimidating JPL website articles commonly utilizing the same metaphors of typical elements of life here on Earth. Again, one of the most cited of these references was the size of the Curiosity rover, which was regularly compared to the size of a sub compact car or a small SUV. Even scientific topics were given daily life metaphors. One article in parti cular elaborated on the connection of technology seen on
78 Written by Agle around the Fourth of July in 2012, the article compared the pyrotechnics used to control the differ ent stages of landing to the fireworks that many readers might have seen around the holiday. Some of the explosions were described as small, like ose metaphors were likely accessible to most readers. Another recognizable topic was Martian weather, which appeared in an article by than an Earth day, served to give the audience something of their experience to compare to the Martian environment. Brown also explained that Mars has weather that Dauna Coulter, particles of solar These kinds of parallels may have made Mars seem less alien. Whitney Calvin door one JPL article, but not in any of the news paper articles, was how to find Mars in the night sky. This article, written a few days before the landing, gave the readers the opportunity to experience Mars in their own backyard. Zubritsky also employed the neighborhood metaphor explicitly in her artic where it becomes an extension of our own Earthly e xperience; a familiar place in which readers will travel. Another theme that was well Even more so than the newspaper articles, the travel theme worked in the JPL feature
79 stories to characterize Mars as a tourist destination that Curiosity was off to visit. a group of tourists piled out of a transport vehicle onto the surface of Mars as a place worth visiting, with sights worth capturing on film. It also placed Curiosity in a human occupation that many readers have also experienced. There were many parallels in the articles to tourist destinations in the U.S. Coulter described the geology of compared to recognizable mountains such a s Mt Rainier. It was likely many readers had seen pictures of many of these well known places even if they had not traveled there. grandest, has been beckoning would be explo That it was identified as interesting from space defined the mountain as impressive, pioneering spirit. The travel theme gave the audience clear mental images to assign to Mars and worked to evoke the emotional reaction of awe and amazement that is a common reaction to seeing these natural wonders. There were also moments where this frame may have empowered the readers, particularly those who traveled often.
80 in that it suggested that the reader need not be a scientist to understand Mars exploration but merely a traveler. Humanization was also used in this frame. Authors used interviews and profiles to introduce scientists to the public. This process created relatable figures and allowed sharing with the publ described the challenges and rewards of his work. The article used accessible language to e allowed the readers to draw connections between his work and with their own work kinds experience without resorting to alienating jargon. In another case, an article by Agle focused on the man after whom Mt. Sharp was named. Agle introduced the audience t o the work and importance of the prominent geologist, emphasizing that he was a great scientist and a respected teacher. Because he died before the start of the mission, the mountain was named in his honor. One lly know the origins of Mount Sharp, but newspaper articles, the JPL article foc used much more on his scientific contributions. Similarly, the scientists who were highlighted in the JPL articles were more often highlighted for their work, rather than for their personal lives or their emotional journey.
81 This frame did feature the emoti onal journey of some of the scientists, though not nearly to the same extent as the newspaper articles. Only one article, written by Agle, followed a lead investigator through the moments of landing Curiosity on Mars. The step by step description of events placed the audience in the room, but was far more technical in nature than emotional. Agle quoted an engineer, RIMU stands for Rover Inertial Measurement Unit. The RIMU gives us the n a crumbling crater wall or an unstable sand dune, or were being dragged by a still connected descent stage across the surface, then the RIMU would show that in its data set. There was some description of the emotio ns of anxiety, excitement and anticipati on that of articles. In both cases, there appeared to be a distinct effort to make aspects of the missio n seem familiar, understandable and relatable to the audience. The methods were very consistent between JPL and the newspapers; the main difference was a higher emphasis on the emotional journey of scientist s within the newspaper articles Engaging the Public had recently reached ou t to the public. While there were many open discussions of past failures, this frame generally applauded NASA for its new and engaging efforts. The appeared to be a reparative fr ame designed to manage the image of NASA that has persisted over time. Its focu s was decidedly forward looking
82 Newspaper articles reputation for engaging the public on science issues. One of the earliest discussions of engagement occurred around the launch and described a public contest in which those invitations to the launch in Florida. This article written for the Los Angeles Times by Mitchell Landsberg, was also one of the few articles in which the public was discussed demonstrated the power of direct engagement with the clear that NASA knew that public perception of its communication and outreach was Landsberg wrote, The events have succeeded, in a mo dest way, in fulfilling their primary goal: lives in perpetual fear of cuts in congressional funding and whose glory days are widely perceived to be over. The comparison of a grim public perception and increasing improvement and success was evident in many articles that discussed the topic. A similar tone was taken in a second article, which discussed outreach through online applications. Kenneth Chang wrote for the New York Times t is not allowed to spend money to toot its own horn.
83 is to clean the windows to give the American public a better view of their space mphasis on transparency for the public. This was another one of the rare articles in which the public was quoted. While NASA had achieved some success in making science inte resting, emotional and current efforts. The article by Mike Snider for USA Today analyzed a video game of the landing sequence that NASA created in conjunction with Microso ft. The game was a simulation even minute long entry, descent and landing of the rover. The experience that these officials wished to create was very similar to the movie metaphor. In the article, Snider quoted a N ASA official, Microsoft to create the Mars Rover Landing game, available for download authentic details in the game e Through the game, NASA and JPL scientists tried to share thei r emotional journey as pounding, sweat dripping seven minutes using the mission were exciting and anxiety producing, and that the same excitement that the audience could feel when playing a video game could be achieved by watching the mission. The scientists
84 attempted to convey to the public that the landing was not limite d to dry information; it was an engaging, interesting experience. In an intriguing use of language, several officials were quoted with phrases such This language was unusual, but it had a youthful flair not present in other articles. The article was clearly geared specifically toward young video game enthusiasts. The author characterized the game and the mission as referencing the spirit of the past, with the incredible advances of modern technology. This perspective offered readers a best of both worlds scenario; the mission evoked past missions but improved them with futuristic science. While not a widely used theme, this frame did include some conte nt that suggested NASA still drew wide public support. Several articles cited the 13,000 people who turned out to watch the launch of the rover. An editorial in the New York Times New York writing for the Los Angeles Times [watching the landing] was terribly easy to do, as none of the major networks bothered to air the with a very positive, forward efforts, suggesting to the audience that not only was the agency trying to improve, it was succeeding.
85 JPL website articles current efforts, the JPL articles contained little discussion of outreach in any form. There me. This theme consisted of brief sentences that directed readers to more resources available online in the form of Curiosity; he noted that larger images were available onli ne, as well as descriptions of the only discussion among the JPL feature stories of where to find coverage of the event. However, it could be argued that engagement was implied in the act of offering the audience guidance in finding more detailed information. The most extensive instance of engagement was an article describing the creati could access. In the article by Agle and Webster, the application was described as a way for readers to more closely interact with the mission and connect with the rover. The world environment where elements are improved b implied the app added to or improved reality. This would suggest that the Mars app was just as good, if not better than, actually being on Mars. The authors noted that the app cont ained a feature with which the users could superimpose an image of themselves
86 onto the surface of Mars with Curiosity. This marked a change from simply learning about the mission; now people could be a part of it. frame was far more prevalent and certainly more overt within newspaper articles. Again, the lack of explicit discussions of this topic among JPL articles might have been because the JPL officials were doing the outreach. The JPL articles also appeared on t he same website where these interactive applications were available, so there might have been less reason to advertise them in the JPL articles. There were many opportunities for this frame to move toward a more critical perspective within the newspaper ar ticles. Focus could have been placed on past failures; however the frame remained remarkably positive. This frame may have offered hope to readers that the space program may be becoming more accessible Anthropomorphism One of the more intriguing frames th frame. In this frame, the metaphor of li fe was given to Curiosity, Mars and Gale Crater. locations were imbued with animal traits, human traits, or human occupations. This frame could have had serious implications for how the readers viewed the m ission and related to Curiosity Newspaper articles Curiosity, Gale and Mars were anthropomorphized at several points throughout the newspaper arti cles, though not consistently. Curiosity was most frequently described with these metaphors, notably as an insect or other strange creature, as in six wheeled legs, and articulating a rm and a pair of blue camera lenses like eyes peering from a boxy
87 Los Angeles Times Curiosity was around on metal wheels as thin as cardboard. Its brain is in its belly, where it also metaphor compared Curiosity to a living entity, though in the next sentence Khan dissolved the metapho armed, 1 ton praying mantis, statement that Curiosity was a machine, Khan still constructed a vivid image of the insect that the aud ience could associate with the rover. The depictions of Curiosity as an insect were intriguing, as many people dislike insects. The descriptions here were almost alien, which could have the opposite effect of anthropomorphizing the rover. However, this cha racterization could have planted the idea in the minds of the readers that Curi osity could be viewed as alive. In a few cases, Curiosity was given the human job of a scientist or a soldier. zation suggested that Curiosity might actually be better than a human scientist, because it carries instruments into the currently reach. This characterization still m ay not have been entirely relatable, as most readers were not geologists or astrobiologists. However, most people would be able to relate to having an occupation.
88 In another cases, Curiosity was a soldier, though the metaphor was subtler. This emotional ch aracterization occurred in an article by Lisa Krieger, in which she described the contingency plans for recovering the mission in the event of an unknown failure. She wrote, conceiv able failure mode, said Sepikas, including the possibility of broken wheels, lousy weather, faulty transmission or a computer buffer so full that it chill and dusty Martian badlands too hurt to heal and too far to be saved. sentences characterize Curiosity as a computer or a piece of machinery. Words such as ally appropriate; however, the choice of the human terms and the metaphor of battling harsh conditions in an alien environment had the potential to evoke an emotional reaction from the readers. At times the rover was characterized with the traits of a per son, but this was much rarer and usually only appeared in the form of one or two words. Typical phrases the powdered samples into its onboard chemistry laborator appendages and activities limited the characterization, though it did add to the depiction of the machine as a living organism. Interesting ly, a far more typical description of Curiosity was not truly anthropomorphism, but rather the metaphor of a car. In a very large proportion of
89 The preference of car metaphors was intriguing, perhaps instigated by the car sized comparison that was probably first offered by JPL and NASA. Though this frame never fully characterized Cur iosity as a person, or even fully human, the application of human traits and occupations offered an image of Curiosity as a living thing. This depiction had the potential to instill very strong emotional attachments to the rover among readers. In this fram e, failure was no longer simply failure, it was loss of life. JPL website articles This was one of the more developed frames among the JPL articles. Although it only appeared in a few articles, it was more developed here than in any one place in the newspa per articles. This frame included instances of anthropomorphism of Mars, Gale Crater, Mt. Sharp, Curiosity and even, in one case, the Sun. In many of these articles, these inanimate objects and locations were instilled with qualities that made them seem li ated with humanity via human like qualities. However, sometimes the anthropomorphism extended to literal characterizations of locations with human action and emotion. ju
90 audience to identify with these inanimate objects and locations in much the same way as they might identify with descriptions of emotion in human scientists. While it was rarer to see instances of locations being characterized as having emotions and exhibiting behaviors, Curiosity was given human traits on a regular basis. It was common t be entirely uncommon analogies, their pervasive use in articles such as these indicated a powerfu l way in which the authors and scientists related to the rover. The metaphor was extended further in a specific incident where Curiosity was not only described as human like, but was given character and human purpose. In an article by Coulter, the metapho taking measurements of solar storms on the way to Mars. The author began by setting bug eyes swiveling on right now, the mini Cooper sized rover is playing the role of stunt double for NASA Curiosity as human, i t occupied a role and location where astronauts might eventually be. Essentially, the rover was experiencing what a human would experience. The author Scientists had turned o n one of the radiation detectors to measure solar radiation inside was an interestin g extension of the human metaphor, because the author immediately
91 would have prot ected a human astronaut. This information was seemingly offered to relieve any audience concern that Curiosity was hurt or in trouble. The article concluded that this was feelings. newspaper articles tended to apply it sparingly. The JPL articles characterized Curiosity not only as doing a human job, but exhibiting human behavior. This was highly That the newspaper articles did not pick up this theme as completely as some of the others s uggested a gap in the ways in which JPL and newspaper authors conceptualized the rover. Implications emphasized that this mission had broad and significant impacts for many people. The frame achieved this primarily by descriptions of both potential and actual impacts on NASA, future missions, U.S. technolog ical and scientific advancement and the public, a s well as illustrating the implications of this mission for societ y at large Newspaper articles One of the more surprising themes to emerge out of the entire set of newspaper articles was that of imagination or inspiration. The capacity of the Mars Scienc e
92 Laboratory mission to influence people on a very personal level was addressed by a public mission had transformed individual lives by rekindling childhood dreams. Several authors emphasized the return of a sense of wonder that had been lost, as Lisa Krieger emotional implications as overwhelmingly positive. These authors wove a tale o f lost dreams that had been reclaimed in the midst of uncertainty and dwindling expectation for the space science program. This frame suggested that the space program still had the capacity to inspire people to reach for the stars. Among the newspaper arti cles there was also a well developed theme discussing the philosophical implications of this mission. The potential of Curiosity to provide long sought after answers to profound questions of human origin was frequently mentioned in the run up to the landin g. The mission was described by Marc Kaufman as having USA Today universe and our place within it was not designed to discover life, it was still pursuing answers to questions fundamental to our human nature. There were also several implications for the future of science and technology. Many authors wrote that Curiosity was the first step for future Mars missions,
93 particularly those that would return samples to Earth and an eventual manned mission. While rarely discussed explicitly, there was an implication that the innovative technology of this miss ion made this mission critical to technological momentum and advancement. In only one instance was the technology linked to other applications, however. An article by William McMichael in USA Today described a specific instrument on Curiosity that could ev entually be applied to cancer research. The author wrote that the mission to implications of attention. politics. While no t an overwhelming theme, it did tend to set a very specific tone for the articles in which it appeared. This theme first manifested itself in comments like the one Science Laboratory shows that NASA is continuing to conduct dramatic and terms, it subtly suggest ed that NASA may have been in trouble. Some articles more woven into the coverag e of the successful landing, suggested more was at stake than NASA officials or even previous coverage acknowledged. This theme construed the
94 ties in this theme to the discu Curiosity was placed in the context of slashed budge ts, lack of political consensus and dwindling support and trust. Before the launch, failure was described in drastic terms. Kenneth Chang wrote, ever less trusting of the true costs of these missions and the ability of the people doing How ever, these authors did note that a success would be well received. Kaufman was made public, the tone was sometimes grave. Halvorson wrote around the time of exploration program was on the line. And so, to some degree, was some of its own self the takeaway was positive, it was clear from this theme that there were considerable implications for NASA and the country whether the mission succeeded or failed. This theme appeared only briefly around the time of the landing on Mars. Its presence, howev er, signaled a seriousness that was not conveyed by most of the other frames. This framing suggests that authors wished to convey to the audience the gravity of the situation. This theme suggested that NASA was facing serious issues, though not entirely of its own making. From one perspective, the slashing of the budget was the fault of the government and NASA was the victim. From another perspective, NASA was lost in the woods, unable, until Curiosity, to redefine its mission for modern times.
95 Both images were present, weaving a complex depiction of the agency for readers to consider. JPL website articles One of the greatest differences between the JPL articles and the newspaper scussion of how the mission would impact people, politics, economic, NASA, or even future technology. There was very little emphasis of Curiosity being the precursor to future manned missions. The most extended discussion of this topic occurred in the Coul ter article that cast Curiosity as a stunt double for future astronauts. There was one quote The ultimate driver for these missions is the question, did Mars ever have life? Did microbial life ever originate on Mars, and what happened to it as the planet changed? Did it just go extinct or did it go underground, where it would be protected from space radiation and temperature might be warm enough for liquid water? indicated the focus of the authors and the scientists, which was on the science and engineering at hand. Science seemed to be emphasized implications. Total Victory an overwhelming frame in the months of coverage following the landing, creating a positive tone that consistently characterized the articles. This frame tried to explain to the audi ence that this mission could not have been more of a success. Virtually everything went right; the few problems were so small as to be negligible. In addition to
96 being a success, this frame implied there was an element of luck that made the mission a victo ry in unexpected ways. Newspaper articles Among the newspaper articles, authors frequently described scenes of exuberance at the successful landing. Scott Gold wrote, Inside mission control, engineers who had been chewing the insides of their cheeks and b ouncing their legs nervously leapt to their feet, embracing, high Such descriptions invited the reader to share in the victory. T he success was so complete it was framed as moving beyond success toward ultimate triumph. Gold continued, Curiosity, the largest and most advanced spacecraft ever sent to another planet, stuck its extraordinary landing Sunday night in triumphant and flaw less fashion, and is poised to begin its pioneering, two year hunt for the building blocks of life the universe. [ sic ] While this statement was particularly strong, similar statements appeared frequentl y in the weeks following the landing. This frame often served to open the articles and set the tone for the story. The victory was also used as a justification for the risks discussed in sions to Mars had statement suggested that the mission delivered on the promises made to readers who had previously been inundated with discussions of risks and strict management of expectations, reminding them that there were high rewards for high risk.
97 JPL website articles much less emphasis on the victory itself, where the newspaper arti cles dwelled on the moment of success for some time. Few articles addressed the victory. Whitney Calvin Agle article about the descent stage crash landing in the distance, and how unpr ecedented that success was. moment in which the JPL articles focused on the victory, likely bec ause the staggering odds against obtaining this image were interesting from a scientific perspective. The only other article that truly celebrated the success of the mission was an article by Webster announcing that the MSL mission had received an award fo r space exploration. The language used in this article was comparatively strong. Webster wrote before This celebratory tone, however, was unusual among JPL articles. While the articles did regularly mark the progress that Curiosity made, they rarely couched these achievements in exuberant terms like those used in the newspaper articles. A trend these arti cles had in common with the newspaper articles was the tendency to play down problems with the rover. Dwayne Brown wrote in one article,
98 scientist reassuring the audience th the sense of victory by casting aside the one part of the story that did not fit. The lack of emphasis on the victory Mars. did appear in the JPL a rticles, the difference in tone and coverage was once again conspicuous. In the newspaper articles, this frame offered the happy ending to the this frame by emphasiz ing Cu An American Win not only belonged to the U.S. as a victory, but was a victory born of the American spirit and made possible by the American will. In effect, the frame suggested that only in America could such a victory have occurred. Newspaper articles In this frame, the win defined what it meant to be A merican and exemplified what Americans could do. One scientist was quoted in the New York Times describing Mars: that has ever landed and driven robotic explorers on t world in this arena. Marc Kaufman wrote,
99 Oddly, one arena where America is clearly exceptional where it has demonstrably excelled beyo nd all others is seldom put forward as a sign of our specialness. This unheralded exceptionalism involves traveling to, and exploring, the planet most like our own Mars. Statements such as these were housed in a context that simultaneously suggested a nd defied the perception of the deterioration of American science and technology. An article for the Wall Street Journal continuing technological capability, even as elite at home and abroad revel in predi ction quoting a government official, obody has ton, automobile said. The rover was seemingly offered as the proof that NASA had returned America to its rightful place at the forefront of scientific and technical progress. Not only did this frame celebrate the science of America, it extended the Curiosity victory to the American people, including them in the victory. Gold quoted the olely to the scientists who worked on the mission, but to the public at large. It was the triumphant American spirit ongstanding truth about the United States
100 that only in America was it possible to achieve such greatness. Adding depth to this frame were historical references to past NASA victories. In the Wall Street Journal ribed in known space victory to t also created a specific historical context in which to view the mission. The Apollo landing exploration. By referencing this mission, the author placed Curiosity in that setti ng. Through this frame, Curiosity became more than a point of American pride; it was depicted as a return to greatness for the United States and the audience. JPL website articles as dominant in the articles in which it appeared. This frame was present in the pyrotechnics article for the Fourth of July and in a very brief article about the sized model in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. These two ins tances were both tied closely to a holiday or news event, which is not uncommon in journalism. However, they were the only two news events or holidays referenced in these articles. These two events were interesting in their association with deep cultural a nd political roots of the United States. These events were both referred to as proud
101 to these events was to reinforce the oldest of public perceptions, however erroneou s, about the space program. The deviation in this frame from the same frame in the newspaper articles was the theme of international cooperation, which was much more overt and positive among JPL articles. Both Russia and Spain were mentioned as having sup plied instruments for the rover and scientists to help with analysis. Though this was included, the theme did emphasize that the victory belonged to the United States. This frame attempted to remind the audience of the national pride that was strongly asso declared the United States would reach the moon. This kind of reference suggested that the great tech nological and scientific success of this mission was as ingrained in U.S. culture as any of our other American traditions. In both sets of articles, this frame could as t
102 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The goal of this framing study was to qualitatively analyze the presentation of the Mars Science Laboratory mission by NASA and the national print media. Articl es written between the six months before the launch of the mission in 2011 and six months after the landing of the rover on Mars in 2012 were analyzed in order to identify the major frames used to characterize the mission. The aim of the project was to det ermine what frames appeared in each set of articles and to compare these frames to discover any differences in the presenta tion of the mission depending on their source. Ten frames were found that characterized coverage of the mission in distinct ways. Due to the far generally more developed among newspaper articles, though there was considerable consistency between both sources. prevalent frame within the newspaper articles. It constructed an overarching narrative casting the rover, Curiosity, in the role of the hero of an action movie which represented the MSL mission. This frame was remarka ble in its completeness; the coverage paralleled many aspects of a movie. This frame created an organized structure through which the audience members could construct their understanding of the mission. Using so acted to characterize the mission, suggesting a positive emotional experience for the public. By employing this narrative, the frame had the potential to persuade many people who might not otherwise be interested in the mission to tune in for the landin g. Framing Curiosity with the qualities of a superhero also may have had a profound impact on the way audiences related to the
103 mission. This representation could have influenced individuals to empathize with Curiosity in the same way as they would with a c haracter in a movie, allowing the figure that the public, particularly children, could ad mire and respect. This narrative also might foster a positive image for JPL and NASA, as the organizations that produced this exciting adventure. Similarly, the characterization of the entire mission as an adventure of the entire space program. Such a characterization could capture the interest of children who might eventually decide to make the natural sciences their career. primarily informat ive in nature. These three frames placed a premium on the importance of understanding scientific concepts and of the significance of the mission to society at large. These frames contained some dramatization and emotional angles seemingly to persuade the a udience of the importance of their content. However, the high emphasis on accurate science was indicative of a deeper trend. In particular, the amount of space dedicated to the discussion of the nature of scientific risk suggested a strong intent on the pa rt of many authors to help the public better understand the fundamental scientific issues underpinning the mission. This frame indicated awareness among authors that increased scientific understanding could lead to higher appreciation of the role of scienc mission as a scientific organization and its interest in the public accurately
104 understanding the nature of its work. The framing of science topics suggested a response to arguments in the literature that increasing public awareness and interest in space science as well as increasing the perceived relevancy of missions would be a significant step t oward establishing a sustainable and beneficial space program by influencing public policy. metaphor frames that gave the audience ways of relating to the mission. These frames were not overarching narratives, but they did provide a variety of analogies that the public could grasp and recognize. Concepts su ch as daily life, neighborhoods and travel may have instilled the mission with a sense of familiarly. In these frames NASA and JPL em ployees were cast as friendly neighbors and interesting coworkers. There was a clear potential in these frames to make not only the science and technology seem less intimidating and more relatable, but the scientists as well. communication and outreach challenges facing NASA. These frames were intriguing in their admission of past failures on the part of NAS A to successfully communicate its mission, a widely held perception noted in the literature. The newspaper articles, in particular, provided an open dialogue regarding this issue. These frames placed considerable emphasis on current NASA programs designed to increase public engagement. On the whole, these frames suggested to the audience that NASA was addressing past concerns and improving its practices, casting the organization in a very positive light for the audience.
105 frames; they created a lens through which the audience was meant to interpret the mission. Though all the frames were very positive in tone, these frames were overwhelmingly so, painting the mission as the ultimat e success. This interpretation was transmitted directly to readers through language and tone, allowing for no competing inclusive, construing the win as a victory for all Ameri cans. This mission was framed as the result of the fierce will and pioneering spirit that all Americans shared, including the audience. These frames also implied that the space program, science and technology were all integral parts of the greatness of the United States as a nation, reinforcing their importance in the public eye. from the h Had the challenge not been as great, the victory would not have been as impressive. imbued it wi th particular meaning and implications for the nation. The informative frames got a boost
106 critical role science continues to play in U.S. society. These three frames also worked seem more accessible to the audience. All of these frames worked together to create an overwhelmingly positive assessment of this mission and NASA while still maintaining a realistic perspective o f potential results. NASA was portrayed as doing an excellent job in the face of high risk. An overall impression created by many of these frames was that this mission returned pion eering organization, returning the United States to its rightful place at the forefront of scientific and technological advancement. The framing suggested that this mission put NASA back on course; it had addressed its past challenges and overcome them. Ov erall, NASA was characterized as endeavoring to succeed in a th reatening political environment and simultaneously making great strides toward a better, more inclusive style of communication. Just as evident as the overwhelming tone was the distinct absence of frames criticizing the mission or questioning its value. Notably, there was no people questioned the value of NASA missions, especially during a difficult economic cli mate. This may have indicated extreme care in the way in which the messages were being developed by JPL, but it also suggested that newspaper authors were not offering contradictory messages. Some of these frames indicated conscious efforts on the parts of authors from both sources to present the mission in particular ways. There was a distinct pattern of
107 emotional emphasis which was likely included in the mission coverage in order to reach people who might otherwise not choose to follow the mission. Elemen ts present in the coverage such as the narrative of the movie, the anthropomorphism of Curiosity and the emphasis on engagement seemed designed to increase excitement about the mission. Another interesting finding was the emphasis on accurate science, real istic expectations and mission implications. The dialogue about the realities of scientific risk and the high emphasis on technological and scientific detail formed what appeared to be a distinct effort to increase the salience and relevancy of certain sci ence topics as well as to increase public understanding. These two angles, the emotional and the realistic, indicated awareness among many authors of the science communication issues that were raised in the literature. The increased emphasis on audience un derstanding and interest in these topics suggested that authors were generally aware of the challenges facing space science communicators related to enhancing interest, engagement and science literacy. If these frames contributed to increased audience int erest and engagement, it might be a significant step toward forming the foundation of the public engagement and participation that was described in the literature as key to the creation of successful U.S. space policy. Several of these frames were closely tied to specific events, such as the launch achievements of the landing. Since that e vent has passed, these frames may diminish in future coverage or shift in emphasis. As the mission moves onward with its scientific
108 produces interesting results. In the absence of the spectacular action of the landing, future frames may employ different strategies to energize the public and stimulate interest. It may be more challenging to deve lop new stories without relying on the entertainment value of the landing. The use of Framing Theory to explore communication about the MSL mission allowed a deeper understanding of how scientists and authors conceptualized the the most intriguing frame from a theoretical perspective; it revealed the conscious process by which NASA and JPL were managing expectations. Clearly NASA knew that the audience might construct their understanding of the mission in a way that would not be beneficial to the agency. Therefore they worked to counter that expectation in their coverage and through newspaper cov erage. In effect, they consciously engaged in their own framing of the mission. In this study, Framing Theory worked to reveal not only how authors and institutions were presenting space science issues, but how they conceptualized the mission and the rover communication and outreach issues.
109 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS Despite the difference in the number of articles between the sources, the framing of the MSL mission was remarkably consistent. The overarching narra tives and the accessible analogies presented in the framing constructed a systematic way in which the content could be perceived by the audience. Based on expert quotes and the presence of similar elements, motifs and patterns in both sources, JPL and NASA likely created many of the initial messages. However, the newspaper authors took their own perspective, often adding emotional elements or new themes that were more subtle or completely absent in the JPL articles. Through its own articles and the quotes o f its officials and scientists, NASA made it clear that it was aware of the need to improve its communication program. New and engaging outreach efforts were highlighted in the articles, suggesting that NASA sought to connect more effectively with a broade r audience. This framing offered hope to those who would like NASA to find its footing again and successfully reshape itself in order to survive in new political, economic and social environments. There also seemed to be attention given to increasing the s alience of NASA to the public at large. The broad discussion of the way in which this mission mattered indicated an attempt to make NASA more relevant to the public. Of particular interest was the emphasis on how this mission inspired individuals. The rene wed possibility of space programs to spark the imaginations of children and adults alike seemed to indulge the romantic image of NASA missions that pervades the American zeitgeist. Though the framing indicated a better awareness of outreach, the communicat ion itself still can be improved. The JPL articles exhibited variability in the level of technical
110 language employed. There was also a conspicuous difference between JPL and newspaper articles in the levels to which the persuasive emotional elements were d eveloped. This difference was indicative of the intended audience of each source. The connection and expression indicated that they expected their readers to be already interested in the topics or in search of more detailed scientific information. The newspaper sample employed more expressive vernacular and emotional framing in order to garner the attention of those who might not initially be interested in the mission. Th ere was a distinct call in past research for NASA to broaden its base of support; the difference in framing between the two sets suggested that there is still room to improve. Publ relevant and interesting. At times, the highly emotional language present in the newspaper articles had the potential to overshadow science topics. These articles did make a ser ious effort to share science with the public, but more often the newspaper articles focused on the emotional elements. In contrast, the JPL articles frequently left science to stand on its own, assuming the audience would appreciate the scientific informat ion for its own sake without tapping possible emotional connections. If both media forms aimed for more middle ground, each could obtain an internal balance of style, information and tone. Such a shift could also more accurately convey science in an exciti ng and engaging way while reducing the risk of the emotional angle overwhelming or distorting the impact of the scientific outcomes. Expanding the scientific knowledge of a broader range of
111 readers, while continuing to engage them emotionally, could also d iversify the base of individuals interested and attentive to space science issues. Many authors in the literature argued that such an expansion was critical in order to increase support for space missions. There are many possibilities for future studies. B ased on the similarity in frames present in this study, future research should explore the commonalities of metaphors, narratives and quotes between sources, as well as delve more deeply into who writes articles on NASA missions. This could reveal how much JPL framing contributes to newspaper framing. Similarly, a content analysis directly comparing the content of the JPL News page and national media coverage could reveal the extent to which the national media authors relied on JPL for their characterizatio n of issues and differences in topic salience. Future studies should explore how these frames change over time, particularly over the duration of the mission. The frames present during the MSL landing will likely change, and new frames may appear specifica lly to address the science aspect of the mission, rather than the technological achievement of the landing. Future frames may reveal new communication techniques; future studies should assess how such frames demonstrate efforts to increase public engagemen t in space policy. communication efforts, particularly those involving use of the Internet. A study similar to s patterns. There is a strong need for studies analyzing the new interactive and social media features on the JPL website; such investigations could reveal entirely new
112 patterns and themes of communication between NASA and the public. Such studies could also answer questions about whether and how NASA is reaching younger demographics. There is also a need for research of national print media coverage of past missions; this could illuminate changes in communication over time. Perhaps most importantly, qualitative studies of media effects are also needed in this area to explore how readers respond to Internet and print media messages about the U.S. space program. Quantitative studie s of media effects could also help to fill this gap in the literature. Studies should explore the demographic characteristics of the audience for print and internet media on space science topics to determine if these messages are
113 APPENDIX A CODING BOOK 1. Identification number A unique number will be assigned to each article or website text 2. Name of the publication Can be found in the information header of each article for newspapers; for texts from the Jet Propul 3. Date list the month, day, and/or year, if known: mm/dd/yyyy. If unknown, write 4. Author name information header of each article or in the byline. On websites, the author or editor 5. Approximate length in words. Co coders may ignore. 6. Type of document and description Briefly des cribe any multimedia elements on the page such as pictures, video, or social media (comments section, etc). 7. Main topic of the story briefly describe the main topic of the text. 8. Secondary topics briefly describe any secondary topics. 9. Frames the unit of analysis is the whole article. Mark notes directly on the article, but provide final list of identified frames on the coding sheet. Read the article carefully on multiple levels. Start by marking words, phrasing, quotation marks, leads, headlines, and over all tone that indicate themes at the sentence level. Next, begin to note strategies such as which sources were used or excluded (both for information and quotations); what issues are given most salience and which are absent; what symbols or metaphors are a pplied to the people, events, and issues. Finally, analyze overall structural elements included in the story: the themes, extended metaphors, and narratives used to construct the complete understanding of the topic. Use this process to identify all the fra mes present in the article; be sure to note if some frames are more overt and if some are more subtle.
114 APPENDIX B CODING SHEET 1. Identification number: 2. Name of the publication: 3. Date: 4. Author name: 5. (ignore) 6. Type of document: 7. Main topic of the story: 8. Se condary topics: 9. Frames:
115 A PPENDIX C LIST OF AUTHORS BY PUBLICATION Table C 1. Publications and authors of newspaper articles analyzed in this study. Publication Author Number of Articles Chicago Sun Times Chang, Alicia 1 Roeper, Richard 1 Unknown 1 Los Angeles Times Anton, Mike 1 Chang, Alicia 1 Gold, Scott 8 Gold, Scott; Khan, Amina 1 Khan, Amina 7 Khan, Amina; Mestel, Rosie 1 Landsberg, Mitchell 2 McNamara, Mary 1 Morin, Monte 1 Sahagun, Louis 1 New York Daily News Moore, Tina 1 New York Times Barnes, Brooks 1 Chang, Kenneth 9 Giordano, Mary Ann 1 Unknown 1 San Jose Mercury News Chang, Alicia 1 Dunn, Marica 2 Krieger, Lisa M. 3 Rogers, Paul 1 USA Today Foley, Nick 1 Halvorson, Todd 20 Jansen, Bart 1 Kaufman, Marc 1 McMichael, William H. 1 Snider, Mike 1 Unknown 1 Verango, Dan 3 Waymer, Jim 1 Wall Street Journal Hotz, Robert Lee 4 Karas, Tania 1 Ridley, Matt 1 Unknown 1
116 Table C 1 C ont. Publication Author Number of Articles Washington Po st Censer, Marjorie 1 Hubbard, Amy 1 Kaufman, Marc 5 Khan, Amina; Gold, Scott 1 Klotz, Irene 1 Palmer, Brian 1 Schiff, Adam 1 Vastag, Brian 1 Table C 2. Publications and authors of Jet Propulsion Laboratory website articles analyzed in thi s study. Publication Author Number of Articles JPL Website Agle, D.C.; Webster, Guy 3 Alge, D.C. 3 Brown, Dwayne 1 Calvin, Whitney 3 Coulter, Dauna 2 McGregor, Veronica 1 Steigerwald, Bill 1 Unknown 1 Webster, Guy 9 Zubritsky, Elizabeth 1
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120 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Marisa Finn was born in Connecticut, and attended the Region of Hebron, Andover, and Marlborough (RHAM) High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics in 2011 from Scr ipps College in Claremont, California In the fall of Journalism and Communication s Department, specializing in science and health communication. During her studies she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Debb ie Treise, researching the efficacy of hand washing outreach efforts in hospitals.