Officials with both companies point to the similarities between exploring space and deep-water drilling, undersea production and pipeline operations.  Working together, NASA and the consulting company will be offering advance risk management services – to oil and gas companies, initially. 

They say they will combine knowledge and resources to anticipate and offer strategies for what are called “black swan-type” events – major catastrophes which have a low probability, but could have harsh consequences.

“Exploring space and exploring for oil and gas in deep water and remote locations, they offer extraordinary similarities,” says NASA’s William “Bill” McArthur Junior, director of the Johnson Space Center’s Safety and Mission Assurance Office

Will this offer some protection for jobs at NASA?

McArthur isn’t willing to go that far, yet.  “Immediately, I don’t think it will,” he says, explaining, “It really depends on if there is a sufficient volume of work, would our contractors be able to bring a few people back in?”