NTB: What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Dr. Abdalati: This year, I hope to accomplish getting people to understand me, this office, and what it can do for them, and getting to understand what it is they need from me. A major focus is getting the community, our sponsors, stakeholders and the general public, to understand the value of NASA science to them, why it’s an important investment for this nation, and to really be an effective advocate for the programs we have here. Ultimately my goal is to maximize the value of the science of this agency. That involves looking across directorates, across NASA centers, and understanding where the synergies are, where the opportunities are for cross-directorate activities, cross-center activities, that no one organization may think to take on itself, but together could do great things.

My ultimate objective when I leave this job and look back is for people to look at NASA – people all over the world and all over the country – and immediately think of the great science we do. So they’re not just saying “NASA: They put people on the moon. They led the space station. They got the shuttle. They’re going to take us to new destinations far into the future.” I want them also to think, “NASA: Those are the people that put rovers on Mars, those are the people that discovered liquid methane on Titan, those are the people that help us understand our planet. And NASA’s the organization that lets us look to the edges of the universe to the beginning of time.” These are the kinds of things that I hope to achieve in the long run, but the first step and for the coming year is to make sure everybody gets and values what NASA is doing and to make sure that our activities are well-integrated, targeted at the best and most valuable science, and serve the nation.

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