Could science fiction books help rescue NASA?

Most people would agree that NASA has a bit of an image problem lately... the agency that put humans on the moon and probes throughout the solar system needs a bit of a boost.

So it's great news that NASA is teaming up with Tor Books to create a series of books based on the agency's current and future missions and operations. The book series will be labeled as "NASA-inspired works of fiction."

According to NASA's press release:

Many people who work in science and technology often credit science fiction as a significant inspiration for their career choices. The enormous popularity of science fiction is a key element in this collaboration to make the books a gateway to the general public and generate awareness of the significant role NASA plays in our everyday live.

NASA will pair scientists and engineers with Tor-Forge writers to help raise awareness and enhance public interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NASA's goal is to attract and retain students focused on STEM studies, strengthening the agency and the nation's future workforce.

According to Space.com, Tor/Forge authors will be visiting the Goddard Space Center for a two-day workshop in November, to learn from scientists and engineers. NASA will also provide access to data, equipment, and design and evaluation experts. Even apart from how this could benefit NASA, I'm hoping we get some kick-ass hard science fiction out of it.