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NASA Adjusts Its Hollywood M.O.

These are turbulent times for NASA, with the Space Shuttle program mothballed and Russian transit being used to ferry U.S. astronauts to orbiting accommodations. But per a fun piece in the LA Times today by Rebecca Keegan, the government agency continues to evaluate Hollywood PR opportunities one goofy project at a time.

According to Keegan, NASA was all over Transformers: Dark Side of Moon but is less married to the Weinstein Co’s faux doc Apollo 18. There’s also this fascinating little tidbit, about an outreach conducted by NASA in LA late last year:

In December, the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge hosted a workshop for filmmakers called NASA 101, in which astronauts and scientists addressed producers and screenwriters on subjects such as robotics, astrobiology and Mars.

“We don’t know if people are going to go out and write scripts on this stuff, but we felt it was important to tell people this is where we are with space exploration,” Bert Ulrich said. In one session about the look, smell and feel of space, astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson described her view from the panoramic shuttle window as akin to sitting “in a bowl full of stars.”

Incidentally, Ulrich has a Hollywood business card title that is hard to beat. He is “NASA’s liaison for multimedia, film and television collaborations.” In other words, one of Tom Hanks favorite people.

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