It’s Solar System Ambassador time!
by Tom Hill
|I am completing my first year as a Solar System Ambassador, and it is an excellent “arrow in the quiver” in my space advocacy efforts.|
The only real requirements for becoming a Solar System Ambassador are a desire to talk about space and the willingness to fill out the application form. Once accepted, members are required to run four SSA events during the following calendar year, report on their events using a web-based reporting system, and listen to the briefings given on current space projects. While listening live through the phone is the best method, the materials are available online after the event, and accessing them that way counts. More information can be found in the announcement of opportunity.
If you’re interested in becoming an ambassador in 2008, you must fill out an application by September 30th. The form is rather lengthy, and it requires new applicants to have or make contacts at local newspapers, museums, planetariums, and schools. Applicants are also required to suggest four ideas they have for events in the following year.
There are certain restrictions placed on Solar System Ambassadors, however. Since they are participating in a program run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, many of the ethics codes applied to employees of JPL apply to ambassadors as well. Ambassadors are not allowed to solicit speaker’s fees for events they report to the ambassadors. Authors are not allowed to sell copies of their books at ambassador events, either. Nuances exist, as with any ethics program, and a briefing at the beginning of each year allows new and returning ambassadors to ask questions of a JPL ethics representative.
I am completing my first year as a Solar System Ambassador, and it is an excellent “arrow in the quiver” in my space advocacy efforts. The program provides interesting content that can be used to augment space presentations that already existed, as well as some exciting new material to stand alone if needed. If you think the program is for you, it would be great to have you on the team.