I’m really happy the new Hubble Gotchu segment from Jimmy Fallon got such a good reaction – again, it was so fun watching them film, and helping out behind-the-scenes. Also, it isn’t often that you see science presented in a way that is fun while not losing all of the, well, science. I hope this isn’t the last time that NASA does this kind of cool collaboration, helping to create something with such a great sense of humor and mass appeal.
I wanted to address a few of the questions I’ve seen in the comments of the coverage of this!
1) Are those actresses or are all NASA scientists that attractive?
Well, yes, yes we are. :-) Seriously, though – all the people you saw clustered around that Webb Telescope model all work on the project. The two women are Katie Lilly, a photographer who also works in export control, and Amber Straughn, a postdoc and lead scientist for Education/Public Outreach for Webb. Amber has also guest blogged for us.
2) How much did you pay for this?
We actually didn’t pay a cent!
3) How did this happen, then?
This all happened because our public affairs officer, Lynn Chandler, contacted the Jimmy Fallon show after the first few segments aired. She invited them to come visit the full-scale model when it was at the World Science Fair in NYC, and to meet with some James Webb folks. They did. And shortly thereafter, we got that shout-out on the show. After that, she invited them to Goddard – and they came with a film crew! Lynn and Mike McClare, Hubble and Webb’s video producer, took care of permissions, and the rest is history! A bunch of us followed them around for the day, helping as needed and just enjoying the experience.
The show wrote, filmed and directed the segment, with, as far as I know, no input from us. We offered our project folks, and as you could see, several of them were in the video. Besides the ones rapping next to the model of the telescope, there were project folks in that control room. The one with the ribs was optical physicist, Brent Bos. And the person interviewed at the end is the Observatory Manager Paul Geithner (and yes, he’s related to Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner!). The interview segment at the end actually went on for a while, with Milky J riffing on all kinds of different things, including trying to get Geithner to show his strong emotion for the satellite by naming sad movies (including The Notebook, which Geithner strongly denied ever having seen), and trying to get him to say that the launch of Webb would be more meaningful than the birth of his children (just pick one!). Very cute. I liked the bit of interview that aired though. For seeing the early universe, Hubble don’t got you, Webb gotchu!
And if you haven’t seen this Hubble Gotchu segment, what are you waiting for? ;-)