ology logo
card
074

NASA

OLogy Series
astronomy
card
074

NASA

OLogy Series
astronomy

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) runs the space program, but that's just part of what they do. Thousands of scientists conduct research in fields like aeronautics, space exploration, Earth science, and biology. NASA's research centers around the country are constantly expanding what we know about our planet and the Universe around us.

Robonaut to the Rescue
Working on the International Space Station is exciting, but dangerous. Astronauts are at most risk when they're outside the station. Tasks performed outside in space are known as an Extravehicular Activity, or EVA for short. One problem with EVAs is that it takes an astronaut over an hour just to suit-up -- so if something goes wrong on the outside of the station, it's going to be a while before they can even start to fix it. Enter Robonaut! Robonaut is a robot being developed by NASA. One day it will replace human astronauts for EVAs. Because many of the station's tools and workspaces were created for human astronauts, Robonaut is about the size of a human and has two arms that move and look like human arms and hands. Its arms are stronger and more agile than human arms in a heavy spacesuit. Best of all, Robonaut doesn't need a space suit for an EVA!

NASA scientists are trying to find ways to:

entertain astronauts on long trips into space

figure out ways to grow food onboard ships during long trips

schedule field trips to the Moon

Are you right?

Correct!

There are no supermarkets in space, and carrying everything you need to eat on a long trip can get heavy. If humans are going to spend longer periods in space, we have to grow our own food.

NASA's top priority in its early years was to see whether:

there was life on Mars

humans could be sent into space

there were asteroids near Earth

Are you right?

Correct!

NASA's first big program was Project Mercury, to see if humans could survive in space. Then came Project Gemini, which used two-man spacecraft, followed by the Apollo missions to the Moon.

NASA is currently working on figuring out how to send humans to Mars.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

NASA has many projects, from studying Earth and the Sun, to learning about planets outside our solar system, in addition to sending humans to Mars and further out into space.

NASA satellites are focused on Earth, as well other places in the Universe.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

NASA's Landsat and Earth Observing System spacecraft, which transmit images of Earth, have changed the way we view our home.

Short for: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Where: NASA has research centers, labs, and flight centers all around the country
Mission: "expanding the frontiers of knowledge"
Began: October 1, 1958
Significance: NASA's research has made important advancements in space exploration, space science, Earth science, and biology

Image credits: courtesy NASA.