NASA Wins 4 Webbys, 4 People’s Voice Awards


Winners include the JPL-managed “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign, NASA’s Global Climate Change website and Solar System Interactive.


NASA today received four 2020 Webby awards, highlighting the agency’s diverse digital offerings in websites, social media and apps across its broad programs.

“We are very pleased that these awards show the diversity of our digital communications,” said Bettina Inclán, NASA’s associate administrator for communication. “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.”

NASA’s four Webby Award winners are:

  • NASA Moon Tunes – 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, winning for Social Media in Culture & Lifestyle. More than 1 million submissions helped build the final playlist. Moon Tunes also won the People’s Voice award in its category.
  • Send Your Name to Mars – NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory invited members of the public to send their names to Mars aboard the Perseverance rover; a record 10.9 million people did. The campaign won for Best Social Community Building and Engagement. “Send Your Name to Mars” also won the People’s Voice award in its category.
  • NASA’s social media, managed by NASA’s Office of Communications, 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” – The “NASA Explorers” digital series from the Goddard Space Flight Center highlights NASA’s scientific research around the world. The of “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 now a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America award.

Two other digital efforts 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.

  • NASA’s Global Climate Change (website nominee for Green) – This JPL-managed site tracks real-time data about how Earth’s climate is changing. The site has received six nominations, winning two Webbys and two People’s Voice awards.
  • Solar System Interactive – Also from JPL, this site shows the current relative location of planets and other bodies, including spacecraft. It was nominated in the Education & Reference category of Apps, Mobile and Voice.

“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, a record for the agency. Its other nominees included:

  • NASA Astronaut Reaction GIFs (Best Photograpy and Graphics) – NASA’s Johnson Space Center created a series of reaction GIFs with an astronaut for public use.
  • Rolling Stones on Mars (Best Influencer Endorsement) – NASA named a rock that appeared to have been moved by the thrusters of NASA’s Mars InSight lander as it settled onto Mars. The campaign received 19 million social engagements.
  • NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration (website nominee for Weird and Science) – The site lets internet users explore planets beyond our solar system, called exoplanets. It won a People’s Voice Award in 2018.
  • NASA Home and City (Government and Civil Innovation) – The new, upgraded interactive website lets users explore how NASA technology is in their home and around the world. A previous version of the site won a Webby in the Government category in 2010.
  • The “Down to Earth” video series, in which astronauts talk about their perspective on Earth from space, was nominated in the Science & Education video category.

NASA had three honorees in addition to the nominees:

  • How the Visually Impaired Experience Hubble Images (Video) – The book “Touch the Universe” by Noreen Grice features some of Hubble’s most well-known photographs, but all of these photos were specially made to include everyone.
  • NASA JPL-edu Teachable Moments – Teachable Moments harness the latest space missions and discoveries from NASA to help educators engage students in STEM with educational explainers, lessons and activities.
  • NASA.gov (Government and Civil Innovation) – NASA’s home page has previously received three Webby Awards and 11 People’s Voice awards.

Established in 1996, The Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. In 2019, there were more than 13,000 entries, and more than 3 million votes were cast for the People’s Voice awards.

See the full list of NASA Webby Award winners and nominees.

News Media Contact

Stephanie L. Smith
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-393-5464
slsmith@jpl.nasa.gov

2020-095

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    Most commercial aircraft undergo voluntary inspections to ensure that galleys and lavatories are constructed and assembled to meet the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) sanitation standards, according to industry representatives. Twenty-seven percent of the inspections FDA conducted between fiscal years 2015 and 2019 found objectionable conditions. But in nearly all of these instances, the conditions identified, such as the need for additional sealant in areas where there was a gap or seam, were corrected by the airline or aircraft manufacturer during the inspection. However, some regional airline representatives told GAO that their aircraft do not receive these construction inspections, either because larger airlines with which they have contracts told them the inspections were unnecessary or because they did not believe the inspections were relevant to them. FDA provides these inspections free of charge, upon request of aircraft manufacturers or airlines, and aircraft passing inspection receive a certificate of sanitary construction. Representatives of one aircraft manufacturer said they view the certificate as beneficial because their customers see it as a guarantee that the aircraft was constructed in a way that decreases the likelihood of microbial contamination, pests, and insects. While the construction inspections are important, they are not required, and FDA does not proactively encourage airlines to request them. By developing a process for communicating directly to all U.S.-based commercial airlines, including regional airlines, to encourage them to receive construction inspections, FDA could better ensure that aircraft meet FDA sanitation standards to protect passenger health. An Airline Representative Applying Additional Sealant in Response to an FDA Inspection FDA faces several challenges in providing construction inspections and is taking steps to address these challenges. For example, the demand for inspections by manufacturers and airlines is unpredictable, and FDA inspectors are responsible for inspections at multiple locations. To help mitigate these challenges, officials we interviewed from four FDA field offices said they usually request advance notice from industry to allow the agency time to allocate the necessary resources for construction inspections. Voluntary construction inspections are the primary mechanism by which FDA oversees compliance with its required sanitation standards for the construction of aircraft galleys and lavatories. A report accompanying the House 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill included a provision for GAO to review FDA's process for ensuring proper sanitation in aircraft galleys and lavatories. This report (1) examines the extent to which aircraft are inspected to ensure compliance with FDA's sanitation standards, and (2) discusses challenges FDA faces in providing aircraft inspections and how FDA is addressing such challenges. GAO reviewed FDA guidance, interviewed FDA officials in headquarters and four selected field offices with high volumes of construction inspections, conducted site visits to meet with FDA inspectors, and interviewed representatives of selected aircraft manufacturers and airlines. GAO recommends that FDA develop a process for communicating directly with all U.S.-based commercial airlines to encourage them to request construction inspections. FDA generally agreed with our recommendation. For more information, contact Steve Morris (202) 512-3841 MorrisS@gao.gov.
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    The United States has filed a complaint under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 and the False Claims Act against Nutter Home Loans, f/k/a James B. Nutter & Co. (Nutter), for forging certifications and using unqualified underwriters to approve Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), the Department of Justice announced today. 
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  • Higher Education: IRS and Education Could Better Address Risks Associated with Some For-Profit College Conversions
    In U.S GAO News
    GAO identified 59 for-profit college conversions that occurred from January 2011 through August 2020, almost all of which involved the college's sale to a tax-exempt organization. In about one-third of the conversions, GAO found that former owners or other officials were insiders to the conversion—for example, by creating the tax-exempt organization that purchased the college or retaining the presidency of the college after its sale (see figure). While leadership continuity can benefit a college, insider involvement in a conversion poses a risk that insiders may improperly benefit—for example, by influencing the tax-exempt purchaser to pay more for the college than it is worth. Once a conversion has ended a college's for-profit ownership and transferred ownership to an organization the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes as tax-exempt, the college must seek Department of Education (Education) approval to participate in federal student aid programs as a nonprofit college. Since January 2011, Education has approved 35 colleges as nonprofit colleges and denied two; nine are under review and 13 closed prior to Education reaching a decision. Figure: Example of a For-Profit College Conversion with Officials in Insider Roles IRS guidance directs staff to closely scrutinize whether significant transactions with insiders reported by an applicant for tax-exempt status will exceed fair-market value and improperly benefit insiders. If an application contains insufficient information to make that assessment, guidance says that staff may need to request additional information. In two of 11 planned or final conversions involving insiders that were disclosed in an application, GAO found that IRS approved the application without certain information, such as the college's planned purchase price or an appraisal report estimating the college's value. Without such information, IRS staff could not assess whether the price was inflated to improperly benefit insiders, which would be grounds to deny the application. If IRS staff do not consistently apply guidance, they may miss indications of improper benefit. Education has strengthened its reviews of for-profit college applications for nonprofit status, but it does not monitor newly converted colleges to assess ongoing risk of improper benefit. In two of three cases GAO reviewed in depth, college financial statements disclosed transactions with insiders that could indicate the risk of improper benefit. Education officials agreed that they could assess this risk through its audited financial statement review process and could develop procedures to do so. Until Education develops and implements such procedures for new conversions, potential improper benefit may go undetected. A for-profit college may convert to nonprofit status for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to align its status and mission. However, in some cases, former owners or other insiders could improperly benefit from the conversion, which is impermissible under the Internal Revenue Code and Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. GAO was asked to examine for-profit college conversions. This report reviews what is known about insider involvement in conversions and to what extent IRS and Education identify and respond to the risk of improper benefit. GAO identified converted for-profit colleges and reviewed their public IRS filings. GAO also examined IRS and Education processes for overseeing conversions, interviewed agency officials, and reviewed federal laws, regulations and agency guidance. GAO selected five case study colleges based on certain risk factors, obtained information from college officials, and reviewed their audited financial statements. In three cases, GAO also reviewed Education case files. Because of the focus on IRS and Education oversight, GAO did not audit any college in this review to determine whether its conversion improperly benefitted insiders. GAO is making three recommendations, including that IRS assess and improve conversion application reviews and that Education develop and implement procedures to monitor newly converted colleges. IRS said it will assess its review process and will evaluate GAO's other recommendation, as discussed in the report. Education agreed with GAO's recommendation. For more information, contact Melissa Emrey-Arras at (617) 788-0534 or emreyarrasm@gao.gov.
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