NASA is working with a publisher to create a series of sci-fi books inspired by NASA's work.
The US space agency has inked an agreement with Tor-Forge Books to work on "NASA Inspired Works of Fiction" that will contain stories relating to current and future missions and operations.
NASA's space shuttle programme came to an end last month, removing a large part of the US manned space programme. Though flights to the International Space Station will continue using Russian Soyuz ships, in the meantime surplus Earthbound 'nauts are helping put pen to paper - or fingerstroke to ebook, perhaps.
"Ultimately this agreement will benefit the public, as we look for innovative ways to communicate our past and current achievements, while focusing on the needs of the future," said the Goddard's Space Flight Center's Nona Cheeks.
NASA noted that some people who work at the space agency often ended up there after consuming lots of sci-fi in their formative years.
It looks like the books will also be intended to help educate earthlings about the "significant role" played by NASA in everyday lives (memory foam was developed by NASA's Ames Research Center to improve the safety of aircraft cushions, for instance).
All of the books will be checked by NASA experts to ensure that, although fictional, they are scientifically accurate. NASA scientists and engineers will be paired with Tor-Forge writers to collaborate on the series of books.
The agency hopes that, through the warm-the-cockles-of-any-geek-heart medium of sci-fi, it will attract and retain students who study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. ®