Sunday, March 05, 2023

NASA Social Media Lead Courtney Lee | Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

NASA Social Media Lead Courtney Lee | Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

"When I started on the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope team, a lot of people would say that our symbol looked like the alien from Space Invader. And I thought, what if we play into that and create a video game around the idea? It took a couple of months, but I pitched it, and the team absolutely loved it. We were able to get the funding, work with the developer, and get it done; we created the Roman Space Observer video game last year and released it on June 2nd, 2022.

Roman Space Observer Video Game (retro 8-bit style):

“I love video games and thought we should meet people where they are, which is another way of creating content with people in mind. Just because we can create content doesn't mean we should create content, so I want to ensure that everything we develop answers a question and has a purpose.

“I wanted to create a game because right now, a lot of what we [at NASA] make is geared toward people who already know science and are interested in NASA. But there are huge audiences out there who, like me, didn't realize that they could love or be intrigued with NASA because it was never where they were. It's not on these video game platforms. It's not on YouTube beauty channels. Do you know what I mean? It's not where people are watching.

“People have loved the game, both inside and outside of NASA. It's been really fun to do because who can say they worked on video games at NASA? Especially someone who loves video games! 

“I recently went to the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, and this little kid came and played the game. Then, an hour later, he brought his dad and said, 'You have to try to beat my score!' He told his dad about everything in the game, like, 'Oh, get the exoplanet, or there's a black hole going over there.' It shows we are melding two generations of people coming together to play the game. Just watching his son explain the game to him as I explained to his son and seeing that he was actually really excited to play, is why I do what I do."

– Courtney Lee, Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope Social Media Lead, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

[Image Description: "Courtney Lee, a Black American woman, looks happy and confident, smiling at the camera while standing in front of a Roman Telescope model. She's wearing a long sleeve black turtle neck under a yellow plaid dress. Her short, curly hair frames her face."]

The Roman Space Telescope is a NASA observatory designed to settle essential questions in the areas of dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics. The telescope has a primary mirror that is 2.4 meters in diameter (7.9 feet), and is the same size as the Hubble Space Telescope's primary mirror. The Roman Space Telescope will have two instruments, the Wide Field Instrument, and the Coronagraph Instrument.

Learn more about the new Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope under development:

Learn about Astronomer Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018): "Mother of Hubble"

Image Credit: NASA/Jolearra Tshiteya 

Interviewer: NASA/Tahira Allen

Release Date: Feb. 21, 2023

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