Ground has been broken at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for a new sciences building.
The three-story, environmentally friendly office and research building will be known as the "Exploration Sciences Building," NASA said.
Monday's official groundbreaking ceremony included Edward Weiler, director of the Goddard Center; Laurie Leshin, director of sciences and exploration at NASA Goddard; and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Using golden-hued shovels, they each assisted with the first dig at the site.
"NASA's new eco-friendly science building will provide state of the art laboratories and technology for our scientists, giving them access to modern tools and facilities for continued world class research in space and Earth science, and in support of NASA's mission," said Weiler.
The multi-million-dollar project is the first of the Goddard's campus master plan. It will serve as a "launching pad" for NASA-driven space science research during the next 50 years, officials said.
The new building will be occupied by personnel from NASA's astrophysics and solar systems divisions.
Construction is to begin later this year, NASA said.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International
Explore further: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up