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. Since February 2006, NASA's mission statement has been to "pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research." On September 14, 2011, NASA announced that it had selected the design of a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency's astronauts farther into space than ever before and provide the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S. NASA was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958, replacing its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The agency became operational on October 1, 1958. U.S. space exploration efforts have since been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles.

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NASA's orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 gets first data

NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3), the agency's newest carbon dioxide-measuring mission to launch into space, has seen the light. From its perch on the International Space Station, OCO-3 captured its first glimpses ...

Image: HiRISE spots Curiosity rover at Mars' Woodland Bay

A dramatic Martian landscape can be seen in a new image taken from space, showing NASA's Curiosity rover examining a location called "Woodland Bay." It's just one of many stops the rover has made in an area referred to as ...

NASA's AIRS images Tropical Storm Barry before landfall

NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), aboard the Aqua satellite, captured imagery of Tropical Storm Barry in the Gulf of Mexico at about 2 p.m. local time on Friday afternoon. According to the National Hurricane Center, ...

For climbing robots, the sky's the limit

Robots can drive on the plains and craters ofMars, but what if we could explore cliffs, polar caps and other hard-to-reach places on the Red Planet and beyond? Designed by engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in ...

NASA maps surface changes from California quakes

Damage from two strong earthquakes that rattled Southern California on July 4 and July 5—a magnitude 6.4 and a magnitude 7.1, respectively—can be seen from space. The epicenter of the quakes was near the city of Ridgecrest, ...

A new plan for keeping NASA's oldest explorers going

With careful planning and dashes of creativity, engineers have been able to keep NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft flying for nearly 42 years—longer than any other spacecraft in history. To ensure that these vintage robots ...

NASA's ECOSTRESS maps European heat wave from space

Europe's massive heat wave is on its way out—and it's leaving a slew of broken temperature records in its wake. Many countries were gripped by temperatures above 104 Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) between June 26 and June ...

InSight Mars lander uncovers the 'mole'

Behold the "mole": The heat-sensing spike that NASA's InSight lander deployed on the Martian surface is now visible. Last week, the spacecraft's robotic arm successfully removed the support structure of the mole, which has ...

NASA tracked small asteroid before it broke up in atmosphere

When a lightning detector on a NOAA weather satellite detected something that wasn't lightning last Saturday, a scientist at the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, ...

A whirlpool 'Warhol' from NASA's Spitzer telescope

Unlike Andy Warhol's famous silkscreen grids of repeating images rendered in different colors, the varying hues of this galaxy represent how its appearance changes in different wavelengths of light—from visible light to ...

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