Things to Love #6: NASA
There’s no way to properly describe or summarize all that is awesome about NASA in one blog post. So I won’t try. But I hope to give you a taste of some of what I love about the organization, providing a reference for you to dig deeper. Any group whose motto is something like NASA‘s—”For the Benefit of All”—has plenty to like.
Missions, the Space Race, History
There have been a plethora of manned and unmanned missions in the past many decades. Here are some of the notable ones.
- Project Mercury (1959–63)
- Project Gemini (1961–66)
- Project Apollo (1961–72)
- Skylab (1965–79)
- Space Shuttle program (1972–2011)
- International Space Station (1993–present)
- Pioneer program (1958–1978)
- Mariner program (1963–1973)
- Voyager program (1977)
- Magellan probe (1989)
- Galileo probe (1989)
- Hubble Space Telescope (1990)
- Mars Exploration Rovers (2003)
- Pluto’s New Horizons (2006-present)
And, if you don’t see your favorite mission listed here, NASA has an A-Z index of all of their missions.
NASA offers images, references, activities, and all kinds of publications available for free to the public. The free ones are digital, but if you want something in print, they have that, too (probably for a small fee for production and mailing costs). But if you’re looking for any kind of science material for K-12 and beyond, NASA has something to offer. The site has lesson plans, images, videos, analysis, projects, and entire books on things like rocketry for kids. They make apps and podcasts, too. According to their website, they have three educational goals:
- Strengthening NASA and the Nation’s future workforce
- Attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines
- Engaging Americans in NASA’s mission
They also have an Astronomy Picture of the Day, a different image every day. Check it out.
Because of NASA’s missions, projects, and research, we are fortunate to have a lot of inventions and products that we wouldn’t ordinarily have. NASA comes up with a problem that needs to be solved, researchers, engineers, and designers solve it, and voila, society benefits as well. Oh, and they make ringtones. But they also put out a regular publication, also available online, called Spinoff, which details the many inventions that have benefited from NASA technology.
If you’re interested in some more conventional books about NASA or the space program, along with NASA tshirts, hats, patches, jumpsuits, and more, there are plenty to be had at Amazon.