A lot of the facts we know about space are because of NASA. They have discovered so many things about space thanks to science and technology. And knowing more about it is not only interesting but also beneficial for us. The discoveries that NASA has made are both intriguing and frightening. They could predict what might happen next with what they know about outer space.
In this article, we’ll be discussing some NASA facts and why they are the world’s leading space institution.
The National Aeronautics Space Administration or “NASA” was founded in the United States on July 29, 1958. On October 1, 1958, it officially opened for business. A year before NASA started, the Soviets launched Sputnik 1, which is the world’s first ever artificial satellite.
NASA takes part in the International Space Institution or ISS. This is a multinational construction project which involves 15 other countries.
NACA Before NASA
NACA or National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics operated before NASA. It was President Woodrow Wilson who started the NACA organization to supervise and lead the scientific study of the problems of flight. It determines which problems can be solved through experiments. They would then discuss the solutions and apply them to questions. Another thing they do is lead and conduct research and experiments that are concerning aeronautics.
Other NASA Facts
There are still many planets out there that we don’t know. NASA aims to discover those other planets and give educational materials to different audiences about their discoveries. They have an expansive library that caters to both educators and students alike. Other than just space exploration, NASA also makes satellites to help scientists know more about our planet Earth. They would send probes into space to study what’s inside and beyond the solar system. NASA’s most studied planet is the Earth. This would be obvious since it’s our planet.
NASA has over 10,000 employees which manage space exploration from the early Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs. They are continuing with Orion and the International Space Station. Its Space Shuttle also serves as a science lab. Not only does it carry people and some cargo, but it also works as workstations or labs for science. Experiments conducted in space is actually very different from how it’s done on Earth. It also launches space shuttles for missions. Each mission lasts for one to two weeks. They have already launched 135 missions which began in 1981. Their latest mission was in 2011.
In 1961, NASA established the Johnson Space Center. It has become the forerunner in human space exploration since its establishment. The original founding name was “Manned Spacecraft Center” before getting renamed to honor the late President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973. The headquarters is enormous at about 1,700, in the southeast of downtown Houston.
The greenhouse gases that’s causing global warming is actually a study of NASA. The institution has flown many instruments to space to see how infrared energy through the atmosphere affects them. This has proven how the Earth is responding to the increased greenhouse gas levels by warming. They have also been able to confirm other forms of climate through their studies. These include shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, decreased snow levels, arctic sea ice melting, ocean acidification and increased temperature.
Black Hole Picture
The Event Horizon Telescope or EHT captured the Black Hole picture. It has swept the world just last year on April 10, 2019. It was the first time that the world saw a photo of the black hole and its shadow. Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate, captured the photo using an algorithm.
The NASA X-15 Aircraft made 199 flights from 1959 to 1968. Its speed is a whopping 4,520 mph and an altitude of 345,200 ft. This set an unofficial record for its speed and altitude. The program gained a lot of information that helped in the spacecraft development of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo in the Space Shuttle Program.
The SR-171 was also known as the “Blackbird” that served as NASA’s research aircraft. Blackbird was the litmus test for high-speed and high-altitude aeronautical research. The design and operation was kept secret by Lockheed Advanced Development Company or Skunk Works way back in the 1950’s.
It takes a lengthy process before an aspiring astronaut is fit to work for NASA. There is a requirement to complete 10,000 hours of flying time. Astronaut candidates should have attained an applicable university degree before being considered. There are plus points for candidates that have experience or background in the military and aviation. But only a few astronauts make up for NASA’s total workforce. You may have thought, because NASA is famous for astronauts, then they would make up for most of their employees. However, NASA has more scientists, engineers, secretaries, lawyers, teachers, and writers that work for them. Another fun fact about NASA’s astronauts is that they can only eat 3.8 pounds of food daily, with one pound of that weight already for the food packaging. Their food is stored in individual packs for easy handling and consuming.
NASA is definitely cool! And the discoveries made by them have really benefitted us over the years. They have been providing us fun facts about our Earth, the solar system, and other things in our universe. Although it’s mostly known for its spacecraft technologies and astronauts, it actually has so much more to it. We hope our article on NASA facts has made you learn a thing or two about the world’s leading space institution and more.