Note: I had trouble believing this story and didn’t want to propagate a hoax. It was not hard to find a Washington Post reporter confirming.
After years of squirming about what to say in public for fear of irritating people who find science vaguely suspicious, NASA is apparently now hiding under the protective covering of “sequestration” (the financial kind) to stop public outreach altogether.
A widely leaked recent memo says:
“Effective immediately, all education and public outreach activities should be suspended, pending further review.”
A followup memo muddies the waters a bit, explicitly exempting
* Mission announcement media events and products
* Breaking news activities
* Responses to media inquiries”
This seems like unfortunate backsliding. I think NASA should go the whole route and stop publishing in journals as well. This would clarify its purpose to simply taking buckets of money and launching them into space, without any of that pretense about having any, like, “scientific mission” or whatever.