NSSDC Citations in Popular Articles and Products
By David Williams
There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. -Oscar Wilde
Acknowledgements to the National Space Science Data Center appear in the most unlikely places. Alongside scientific journal articles citing data from the center, NSSDC is also mentioned on jazz CD's, calendars, health magazines and tarot cards, to name a few. We know about many of these acknowledgements because the requestors have sent samples of the items. (Visitors to NSSDC are welcome to visit the CRUSO office and see a collection of some of these.)
When NSSDC replies to an order for data, we include a request that NSSDC be acknowledged in any publication in which the data is used. Over the years, acknowledgements to NSSDC have appeared in numerous papers published in scientific journals throughout the world. We attempt to keep track of articles which cite NSSDC as part of our normal literature review of selected journals. Although this does not cover all the possible articles and not all authors who use our data acknowledge NSSDC, we have found almost 2000 such citations. So coming across these credits in journal articles is not unexpected.
NSSDC is also frequently cited in more general scientific magazines and books that target a more general audience. Not surprisingly we have found acknowledgements in National Geographic (e.g. the July 1999 issue at right), Natural History magazine, Time/Life "Voyage through the Universe" books, and a calendar from Scientific American. Educational sources use NSSDC data as well, for example the "Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space," the book "Energy through Hydrogen" and the BBC pamphlet "Learning is Fun". NSSDC images are used and cited in "MatLab News and Notes," "Life Beyond Earth" and a "Jewish Kids Exploring the World" newsletter called "Babaganews". Not our normal scientific users, but hardly unexpected.
Acknowledgements are not only from the United States, we have many international users as well. These often acknowledge the World Data Center A for Rockets and Satellites (now the World Data Center for Satellite Information) the designation for NSSDC's international arm. The German "Museion 2000 Kulturmagazin" features images of Mars and Jupiter crediting NSSDC. The Brazilian science magazine "Galileu" shows NSSDC images of Mars and Europa. A Japanese cosmology book acknowledges NSSDC for images of Earth and Jupiter. The German magazine "Illustreret Videnskab" credits NSSDC for a number of Apollo images. A brochure for the University of Sussex in England cites NSSDC for an image of the Moon. The Apollo 11 footprint image graces the cover of a German jazz CD recorded by Custom Trio with an acknowledgement to NSSDC in the liner. But perhaps the most unusual item is a pair of "Ultra-Eye" glasses from Japan, which spark and make odd sounds when worn, and have an NSSDC-supplied image of the Earth on the cover of the box.
Other unexpected acknowledgements included the book "The Celtic Quest in Art and Literature" for an image of the "Pillars" taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Spirituality and Health magazine credits NSSDC for a Hubble galaxy image. Parade Magazine had an NSSDC image of Alphonsus Crater. Popular Photography has an image of the Moon, "copyright NSSDC." (In fact, NSSDC cannot copyright images or data, NSSDC distributions are in the public domain). An ad in the New Yorker showing the planets credits NSSDC. NSSDC's data extends to the divine as well. A Halley's comet image credited to NSSDC appears in "Awake!" magazine, and the Apollo 17 Earth image appears with recognition of NSSDC in a "Daily Bible Study" pamphlet.
Moon Tree photograph in "Seeds in Space", Seed Science Research, vol. 12, 2002
Not everything is books or magazines. An eight by eight foot picture of the farside of the Moon displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City prominently acknowledges NSSDC. NSSDC is also found on a "3-D" planet poster, and an "Orbital Calendar" poster uses images from the data center to illustrate astrological themes. An NSSDC image is used on a jigsaw puzzle of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. An Apollo image of the Earth from NSSDC appears on the 2000 "California Kids into the New Millenium" calendar (image at right). Perhaps the most unusual image credited to NSSDC is a picture of Goddard Space Flight Center's "Moon Tree" which appears in the Seed Science Research article "Seeds in Space". NSSDC is also acknowledged for many of the pictures that appear on a set of "Universe Cards," used to provide guidance and foretell the future. (Now NASA not only helps build the future, it can apparently help predict it as well.)