Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Korea's astronaut selection intended to inspire public

There has been some talk lately about recent survey results show that NASA is considered largely irrelevant (space review) by about half of under 25's in the USA. It's interesting to compare NASA's PR culture with the way Korea selected their astronauts. The whole process was broadcast on commercial TV over a period of several weeks like a kind of reality TV show. They started off with over 20 contestants who were then gradually whittled down to 8 then 6 and then the final 2. The final 8 had each contestant from a different walk of life, for example there was a policeman, an airforce pilot and at least one scientist (I think the scientist was eventually selected). They also had approximately equal numbers of men and women. In each TV episode the contestants had to face various challenges such as underwater EVA training. After the challenge the contestants were interviewed and described their experience and estimated their chances of advancing to the next round.

The process seemed pretty funny to me at the time, but that's probably because I've been preconditioned by the US/Russian space programs to think of astronauts as being larger than life superhumans rather than ordinary talented people.
At least they made it to the front page of the newspapers.


At 6:43 AM , Blogger Bill White said...

How were the TV ratings?


Did the TV stations generate ad revenue during these programs?


Are any of these shows on YouTube? Even if in Korean, it might still be fun to watch.

At 3:47 PM , Blogger David Riseborough said...

I'm not sure about the TV ratings but the shows were on what must have been on a prime time TV slot, and the TV station, KBS2 as I recall, is one of Korea's most popular national TV channels.

Except for dramas, Koreans tend to watch TV a bit differently. Usually the TV is on perpetually in the background while the usual household activities continue around it with only occasional interest in what's showing. If you ever visit a Korean household don't be surprised if the TV is on right through dinner with no-one watching it.


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