Direct Messages Between Curiosity Rover and Philae

Derek Mead filed this request with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the United States of America.
Tracking #




From: Derek Mead

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Any and all direct messages sent between the @MarsCuriosity Twitter account and the @Philae2014 Twitter account.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Derek Mead




From: Derek Mead

I think perhaps you misunderstood my request. I am requesting the private, direct messages sent between those accounts (if any exist). Those are not accessible to the public through You can learn more about what, specifically, I am requesting here:

For this reason, I'd like this request reopened if possible.




From: MuckRock


Per the attached communication, the FOIA request copied below has been forwarded to your office for processing. Confirmation of receipt and an estimated date of completion would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your help.


From: JPL-NMO Freedom of Information Act Public Liaison Office

LP040/NMO December 15, 2014

MuckRock News
Attn: Mr. Derek Mead
DEPT MR 14268
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Re: FOIA Request 15-JPL-F-00143 (Formerly 15-HQ-F-00132)

Dear Mr. Mead:

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated November 24, 2014 and received in our office on November 28, 2014. Your request was assigned Case File Number 15-JPL-F-00143. Your request was for:

Any and all direct messages sent between the @MarsCuriosity Twitter account and the @Philae2014 Twitter account.

Based on the information you provided in your request, we are unable to process your request at this time. Your request does not meet the requirements established under the FOIA and therefore is not a proper request. The FOIA is a record retrieval statute, and based on the information provided in your request, it is unclear what specific National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) record(s) you are requesting, and from what particular office. Requests should be limited in scope to allow FOIA staff to conduct a reasonable search for responsive records (14 CFR § 1206.301), In accordance with Department of Justice guidance, the FOIA was not intended to reduce government agencies to full-time investigators on behalf of requesters or to allow requesters to conduct “fishing expeditions” through agency files. A description of a requester records is sufficient if it enables a professional agency employee familiar with the subject area to locate the record with a “reasonable amount of effort.” In additional, courts have held that agencies are not required to conduct wide-ranging, “unreasonably burdensome” searches for records.

In accordance with the NASA FOIA regulations (14 CFR § 1206.301), a requester is required to describe the record sought so that a knowledgeable official can locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort. Descriptive information about a record may be divided into two broad categories:

(i) Category I is file-related and includes information such as type of record, title, index citation, subject area, date the record was created, or its originator.

(ii) Category II is event-related and includes the circumstances that resulted in the record being created or the date and circumstances surrounding the event the record covers.

Generally, a record is not reasonably described unless the description contains sufficient Category I information to permit the conduct of an organized, non-random search based on the existing filing arrangements and retrieval systems, or unless the record contains sufficient Category II information to permit inference of the Category I elements needed to conduct such a search. In accordance with Department of Justice guidance, in a proper FOIA request, a requester must provide enough information to allow an Agency to conduct a reasonable, non-random search for responsive records and the request must not be overly broad. Agencies are not required to interpret cited material for Category I or II elements, nor are they required to become full-time investigators on behalf of requesters. The information contained in your request would involve a variety of NASA program offices and initiatives. NASA is not equipped to conduct a text search for the terms you have provided throughout all files in the agency, even within the defined timeframe, that will produce a list of responsive records. Without more specific information regarding specific documents you are requesting or the originator of those documents that will narrow this overly broad request, we are unable to process your request.

Additionally, in your letter you have requested a fee waiver and asserted status as a representative of the news media. Please note that all fee waivers and requester status are made on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 552, (a)(4)(ii)(III) and 14 CFR § 1206. Your request, as written, does not provide us enough information to make a decision on your request for a fee waiver and your request to be categorized as news media. Once you have provided sufficient information to allow us to conduct a non-random, reasonable search for responsive records, we will address your request for a fee waiver and your request for news media status. Please be advised you must provide us sufficient information as described in 14 CFR § 1206.506 and 14 CFR § 1206.507, regarding your request for a fee waiver and media status, respectively. These statutory requirements must be satisfied by the requester before properly assessable fees are waived or reduced under the statutory standard.

In accordance with Department of Justice guidance and NASA FOIA regulations 14 CFR § 1206.301, we will not proceed further with your request until we receive additional clarification from you and the required information regarding your request for a fee waiver and news media status. If we do not hear from you within 20 working days from the date of this letter, January 13, 2015, we will assume you are no longer interested in this matter and close our file on your request.

As an alternative to FOIA, you may consider contacting the JPL Media Relations Office directly about the information you are requesting. They, unlike the FOIA, do not have statutory time limits to process requests but I expect they will respond to you soon. You may contact them directly at 818-354-5011 or visit their web page at for more information.

Questions regarding this action should be in writing to this center at the address shown on the letterhead. You may also e-mail correspondence to or reach me by telephone at 818-393-6779 and fax at 818-393-3160. Thank you.


Dennis B. Mahon
Freedom of Information Act
Public Liaison Officer,
Records Manager,
Privacy Act Manager and
Audit Liaison Representative
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Suite LP040
NASA Management Office
4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 180-200K
Pasadena, CA 91109-8001
Phone: (818) 393-6779
Fax: (818) 393-3160