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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday!

Jean Sexton Writes:

Did you know today is NASA's birthday?

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In part a response to the launching of Sputnik in October, 1957, NASA grew out of the existing National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics. The Apollo flights culminated with humans setting foot on the moon and exploring our satellite.

Skylab, the first space station launched by the US, was part of NASA's work. The space shuttles' launches and returns have become almost commonplace, except when disaster strikes. The Hubble Space Telescope has expanded our knowledge of the universe.

NASA also has an educational function. NASA has educational programs for children in kindergarten through graduate programs and internships for students in middle school through graduate school. NASA's Office of Education takes its motto "Shaping the Future: Launching New Endeavors to Inspire the Next Generation of Explorers" seriously.

What does NASA's future hold? One of the exciting programs I've heard about involves sending a manned spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid. By learning more about these objects we could perhaps mine them instead of mining here in our own backyard. We could learn more about the solar system in which we live.

"For the Benefit of All" is NASA's motto and they try to live up to it. With their hard work, perhaps we shall achieve the dream of spaceships traveling through our galaxy. May NASA continue to explore our universe and educate us about its wonders.