The frontier is everywhere: a fan-remix video homage to NASA + Carl Sagan

[Video Link] Is space awesome? Yes, explains the voice of Carl Sagan in this video produced as a sort of homage to NASA *by a fan* — this is not an official NASA video.

Remixer/director/NASA fanboy Reid Gower, the Random Internet Gentleman behind this video provides full credits for sources and inspirations here, and explains,

I got frustrated with NASA and made this video. NASA is the most fascinating, adventurous, epic institution ever devised by human beings, and their media sucks. Seriously. None of their brilliant scientists appear to know how to connect with the social media crowd, which is now more important than ever. In fact, NASA is an institution whose funding directly depends on how the public views them.

In NASA's defense, they have embraced social media. I guess my point is that they don't fully understand how to best use it. In all of their brilliance, NASA seems to have forgotten to share their hopes and dreams in a way the public can relate to, leaving one of humanity's grandest projects with terrible PR and massive funding cuts.

Mr. Gower's YouTube channel is here.

(thanks, Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides!)


  1. This video is great. Thanks for letting this once space dreamer dream the dream again. NASA is still full of wonder.

  2. So are you saying that the people who current do digital strategy and social media, suck? Because, remember, government is hard to work in – there aren’t the general digital freedoms you get elsewhere.

  3. lovely stuff. I reconnected with the wonder of humans in space recently through tweeting astronaut astro_mike, that is as opposed to a corporation or a government in space. you got a sense of the transformation and ego-vaporisation a person must go through upon seeing earth from afar. it’d be nice if NASA was more transparent and give us all a chance to get to know our ambassadors in space.

  4. I just woke up from a nap. I read this and thought it read “NASCAR + Carl Sagan” I think my brain exploded a lil bit. Soooooo glad i was wrong

    1. “I read this and thought it read “NASCAR + Carl Sagan” I think my brain exploded a lil bit.”

      “My God- it’s full of cars!!”

  5. Don’t get me wrong: this is lovely footage, excellent poetic narration, lovingly put together. But the NASA logo at the end of the clip was jarring and kind-of irreverent.

    It’s not an ad for the US space agency any more than it’s an ad for JAXA or ESA or CNSA.

    Actually, I think that’s part of NASA’s problem. They’ve gotten so used to being the custodian of all human aspirations in space, that they can’t really even see the real public relations problems they face.

    JPL are still heroes to me. If they could launch all their gear through the ESA, I’d be perfectly OK with that. But as far as I’m concerned, NASA from 1973 to now, has been the place for spending pork, synthesizing heroes, and blowing up space shuttles.

    By the time NASA joins the League of Nations in history, something better will have worked itself out. Meanwhile, I suppose we have to keep our spirits up somehow.

    Excellent video- just lose the NASA logo at the end, and you’ll have something.

  6. The problem isn’t that “none of their brilliant scientists appear to know how to connect with the social media crowd.”

    The problem is that connecting with the public and the social media crowd is the job of the NASA Public Affairs Office – non-scentists – and they protect their turf.

    You could put the world’s best writers and producers and directors and animators in NASA centers around the country…. and you’d never hear from them again.

  7. A little note regarding the opinion that NASA’s media sucks:

    All NASA imagery is in the public domain (with the exception of use of their logo).

    Their website:
    “NASA still images; audio files; video; and computer files used in the rendition of 3-dimensional models, such as texture maps and polygon data in any format, generally are not copyrighted. You may use NASA imagery, video, audio, and data files used for the rendition of 3-dimensional models for educational or informational purposes, including photo collections, textbooks, public exhibits, computer graphical simulations and Internet Web pages. This general permission extends to personal Web pages.”

    “This general permission does not extend to use of the NASA insignia logo (the blue “meatball” insignia), the retired NASA logotype (the red “worm” logo) and the NASA seal. These images may not be used by persons who are not NASA employees or on products (including Web pages) that are not NASA-sponsored.”

    NASA is probably the best hassle-free source for stock space-themed remix images available.

  8. I used to work in government.  Government – that is, government culture – is horribly out of touch with the public.  In a roundabout way, think of them as nerds – they all sit in their little box and they don’t understand how the social people interact. Get someone in there who was very social (myself, as an example) and you’re seen as too weird, or too different. The culture perpetuates upon itself. It is very hard to enact change. 

    We can be thankful NASA is embracing social media culture to their degree they have, even if they are being very geeky about it. 

    The only way to truly do it is to be a maverick like this guy, express totally true and from the heart (like all art), and if it gets someone’s attention, so much the better.

  9. NASA is incapable of pleasing all the people all the time, no matter how many naysayers and detractors demand they do things differently (that is, the way any individual critic prefers to have things his/her way), and NASA is not able to meet every critic’s demands “right now” as they please. It seems everyone’s an expert on NASA and NASA policy these days. If being disappointed is your thing, maybe better be disappointed with politicians who killed your dream, and the funding for it. We could be on Moon (again) and Mars by now. It is not NASA’s fault that we aren’t. And, to be honest, if you’re getting frustrated with “NASA’s media”, then you don’t know where to look for it.

    Hell, we were promised flying cars!

  10. Beuatiful work. NASA’s biggest problem is that they suck at promoting the good works and benefits of their program.

    1. It could be intentional.
      The idea being to err on the side caution and stay a strict science and engineering organization instead of transmutating to a PR mouthpiece spouting some ideology.

      It’s also a slippery slope. At some point you mostly suck up to the people who give you funding. Then not only has nobody a reason to support you anymore but there also is no one left to do the real work.

      If this is a conscious choice, I respect and applaud their attitude.

  11. Great video. Reminded me of why I get excited by NASA. I agree that needs to promote more of the reason they do what they do then the tech and the failures.

  12. Thank you for that. *wipes the tear from her eyes*

    I miss Sagan so much. And we really do need this day and age a new voice that has that kind of calm, joy, and objectivity.
    To remind us who we are, where we came from, and what we can do as a people united for a common cause.

    That was very sweet. Hope to see more like it in the future..

  13. It’s an excellent video. Even if it didn’t come from the minds at NASA, it’s still doing great work in reminding us what our goals in outer space ought to be. As Sagan said, we – as we are today – won’t be the ones flying off to Tau Ceti or Andromeda, but every step we take towards that goal today will ensure our descendants can make the trip safely.

  14. I’ll post this anonymously cause I like my job. The reason NASA scientists don’t use social media is because every single thing a NASA employee or contractor says to the public has to be cleared through a public affairs office. FWIW, many large corporations have similar policies. In addition, there are ITAR and EAR rules which can send one to jail. So things must be cleared. This is never quick. So slow and ponderous approval, making sure that any utterances pass ITAR and EAR mean that few things are going to be twittered or facebooked with the kind of relevance those medium demand. So why bother, given that it’s a pain in the ass and is not going into my employee review?

    Just the nature of working for a bureaucracy whose rules are made by Congress and the penalties for screwing up at best mean your job and at worst mean a fine and/or jail.

  15. This made me realize how much I miss Sagan too. I know we used to make fun of him (“billions and billions”). But he was such a champ at explaining the wonder of it all. I really hope he’s out there somewhere still, cruising among the galaxies.

    And not to be stupid, but… does anyone else get reminded of Rod Serling when they hear Carl Sagan’s voice? And vice versa?

  16. Outstanding. Every time I get cynical about where we’re going as a species, something good like this shows up in my in-box. I hope this goes viral.

    The dream is still possible, if we want it badly enough.

    You’re missed, Carl.

  17. Gower hits the nail on the head in his comment. NASA needs more artists, and less engineers. I’m reminded of when Ellie Arroway from Sagan’s “Contact” glimpses the view before her after she comes through the wormhole. Her first words are “They should have sent a poet.”

  18. I like the galloping giraffe. Probably frightened by whatever noisy thing was flying overhead, photographing him. He was saying, “by all means, humans, please leave the earth, the sooner the better, so the giraffes can take over.”

  19. Really, I think NASA’s social media is pretty good. And I’m just speaking as a layperson. I mean, they’re not going to be Kanye drunktweeting on the space station, you know?

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