NASA: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958. The agency became operational on October 1, 1958, a year after the Soviet launch of the world’s first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) on October 4, 1957.

The most notable NASA activities have always been its space flight programs, both manned and unmanned, which have been a source of U.S. pride for more than 50 years. The U.S. landed the first man on the moon, and so far is the only nation to conduct successful missions on the surface of Mars. NASA’s facilities include research, construction, and communication centers to support its missions. Side benefits from the space program include domestic advances in science and technology.

NASA was the most technologically-advanced space agency in the world for decades. But after its heyday in the 1960s, in the 1970s NASA began to lose momentum following the Apollo program. Then along came the Space Shuttle in the 1980s, and NASA’s mission changed to making low-orbit flight more routine. Now that the Space Shuttle program has been shut down, what’s next for NASA?

The Mars program remains strong with the Curiosity Rover scheduled to land on the surface of the red planet on August 6, 2012. The rover’s objectives include determining Mars’ habitability, studying the Martian climate, studying Martian geology, and collecting data for a future manned mission to Mars tentatively planned for the 2030s. Follow the Curiosity mission on Twitter:

SEE ALSO: – The Birth of NASA: “Why We Explore”

NASA – NASA’s official site. Click on “For Educators” or “For Students.” NASA’s Education Materials Finder will help teachers locate resources that can be used in the classroom. Users may search by keywords, grade level, product type and subject. With hundreds of publications and Web sites indexed, the finder is the best way to locate NASA educational resources. Need Some Quick Links to NASA Information? Search this alphabetical list for items of interest to educators. Locate top level sites for interesting topics, education pages for NASA missions, and other hard-to-find pages that offer resources for educators. Students can find materials sorted by grade level, or play games at the NASA Kids’ Club.

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day  – Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Space, Stars, Mars, Earth, Planets, and more – bring the Universe to you! Click on the “Education” tab to access information for students and teachers. Includes games, activities, homework help, learning resources, career guidance, and in-depth projects for all ages.

Space Images from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory – A vast archive of images from across the solar system and into the universe beyond. View, share, and rate images, or download your own desktop wallpaper.

NASA’s Space Place – Lots of space fun for kids including games, puzzles, quizzes, activities, coloring, fun facts, videos, pictures, and more for learning about space, sun, earth, solar system, people and technology. A great site!

NASA Space Shuttle Virtual Tour –  The STS-90 Virtual Tour takes you through the Space Shuttle Columbia as it is being prepared for launch in the Orbiter Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center. Tour in the cockpit, go through the airlock and see the inside of the Neurolab payload.

Great Images in NASA – GRIN is a collection of over a thousand images of significant historical interest scanned at high-resolution in several sizes. This collection is intended for the media, publishers, and the general public looking for high-quality photographs.

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