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JPL’s “Send Your Name to Mars” Campaign Earns Coveted Webby Award

Published on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 2:32 pm
NASA took home eight wins at the 2020 Webby Awards, including a juried prize and People’s Voice award for the “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign. The Webby Awards logo is seen here against an illustration of Mars. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Send Your Name to Mars,” a campaign by Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to encourage people to send in their names to be stenciled on tiny chips that will be riding in the Mars 2020 rover, has been chosen as a winner in the 2020 Webby awards – one of four that NASA received from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

In the campaign, members of the public were invited to send their names to Mars aboard the Perseverance rover. Between May and September 2019, NASA’s Mars Public Engagement team collected a record 10.9 million names to send to the Red Planet, according to JPL. Those who sent their names also received a souvenir boarding pass.

“Send Your Name to Mars” won for Best Social Community Building and Engagement in the Webby awards, and also won the People’s Voice award in its category.

“We are very pleased that these awards show the diversity of our digital communications,” Bettina Inclán, NASA’s associate administrator for communication, said in a statement. “We won for websites, social media, videos and apps. With awards going to NASA Headquarters and three field centers, they also show the whole agency’s commitment to effective digital communication.”

Aside from JPL’s “Send Your Name to Mars,” the other NASA winners include NASA Moon Tunes, which won for Social Media in Culture and Lifestyle. NASA’s Johnson Space Center solicited songs for a playlist to accompany astronauts on their three-day trip to the Moon during the Artemis program. More than a million submissions helped build the final playlist. Moon Tunes also won the People’s Voice award in its category.

NASA’s social media won its second straight Webby for Best Overall Social Presence. NASA’s flagship accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have tens of millions of followers, and the social media team regularly answers questions from the public via its #AskNASA video series and Reddit “Ask Me Anything” programs.

“NASA Explorers: Cryosphere,” part of a digital series from the Goddard Space Flight Center, also won a Webby, and highlights NASA’s scientific research around the world. “NASA Explorers” focused on research into the cryosphere, Earth’s icy reaches. The series has 1.5 million views, and Claire Parkinson, one of the featured scientists, is a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America award.

Two other digital efforts managed by JPL were voted the People’s Voice winner: NASA’s Climate Change website and Solar System Interactive, which allows users to view the solar system from a variety of perspectives, including spacecraft.

“Our goal is to set the standard for innovation by creating digital experiences that engage, educate and inspire,” said Michael Greene, director of Communications and Education at JPL. “We are honored that these efforts are being recognized by the Webby and the People’s Voice awards.”

NASA received 12 nominations this year for the Webby awards, a record for the agency.

In 2019, there were more than 13,000 entries, and more than three million votes were cast for the People’s Voice awards, three of which went to JPL: “The Call of Climate Change” as 360 Video winner, Mars Insight Lander as Education and Discovery (social) winner, and Solar System Exploration as Science website winner.

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