NASA (short for National Aeronautics and Space Administration) reaches for new heights and reveals the unknown so that what it does and learns will benefit all humankind.
To do that, thousands of people have worked around the world--and off it--for 50 years, trying to answer some basic questions. What’s out there in space? How do we get there? What will we find? What can we learn there, or learn just by trying to get there, that will make life better here on Earth?
What happened during and right after the Big Bang? How do galaxies form and change? What is the nature of black holes? How did the planets, moons, comets, and other solar system objects form?
NASA sends spacecraft out to answer these big questions. These spacecraft have no people onboard. However, a lot of engineers and scientists work together to build them and put them into space. Like true robots, these spacecraft operate mostly by themselves. They are programmed to send their data and images back to Earth. These spacecraft study Earth, the Sun, the solar system, and the universe as far away in space and time as the most advanced NASA technology will allow.
And, at home, how is the Earth’s climate changing? Why is it changing? How will Earth be different in the future? Earth-observing spacecraft study the air, the ocean, the land, and the ice to help answer those questions.
To us, the Sun is the most important star in the universe. Why does it act as it does--quiet sometimes and stormy at others? NASA has missions to observe the Sun’s cycles, variations, and “temper tantrums,” and how the Sun affects us.
Other spacecraft and robotic explorers are helping to find out the nature of the objects that make up our solar system. How have they changed since the solar system began? What environments in the solar system might support life?
NASA’s space observatories are helping scientists understand some of the biggest mysteries. How did the universe begin? How did it become what we see today, with its hundreds of billions of galaxies, stars, and planets? And, are any of those other planets like Earth--with life?
Find out about some of these exciting NASA missions at http://spaceplace.nasa.gov.