Artist's illustration of a future moon base. Synthetic organisms could help astronauts produce food and fuel.
NASA is teaming up with a publisher to produce a series of sci-fi novels.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Tor/Forge Books will develop and publish "NASA-inspired works of fiction," agency officials announced. The books will highlight concepts relevant to current and future NASA missions and operations.
"Ultimately this agreement will benefit the public as we look for innovative ways to communicate our past and current achievements while focusing on the needs of the future," Nona Cheeks, director of Goddard's Innovative Partnerships initiatives, said in an Aug. 22 announcement.
Goddard scientists and engineers will work with Tor/Forge writers to help raise awareness of the role NASA plays in people's everyday lives, agency officials said. Both NASA and Tor/Forge also hope to inspire the next generation of American scientists and engineers, since science fiction can help spur interest in science and math in young people. [Television's Best Science Fiction Shows Ever]
Tor Books founder Tom Doherty said: "When I was a boy, books by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and their colleagues excited me, inspiring a lifelong fascination with space and the science and technology that would get us there. From Fulton and his steamboat, through Alexander Graham Bell and Edison to Silicon Valley and the advent of the Internet, innovative Americans have built a future in which we lead the world."
Tor/Forge authors plan to visit Goddard for a two-day workshop in November to learn from the center's scientists and engineers. NASA also will provide access to its data, facilities, and educational design and evaluation experts, officials said.