Today is NASA’s 55th birthday. Unfortunately, the celebration is muted due to the government shutdown, forcing much of NASA to shut down as well for the time being (see our overview of what’s still running at NASA and what’s not).
Before having to close the door (temporarily) today, NASA put together this nice graphic of the highlights of their accomplishments of the past 55 years, as well as what the hopes and plans are for the future.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration began operating on October 1, 1958, managing the US’s burgeoning space exploration program. NASA replaced the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) agency, which began in 1915 to undertake and promote aeronautical research.
Now, NASA is in the midst of expanding commercial access to the International Space Station with the rendezvous of Orbital Science’s Cygnus capsule this week. While the ISS is still operating, and when full operations resume throughout NASA, they’ll continue work on exploring space, monitoring Earth, unlocking mysteries of our solar system and peering back into the beginnings of the Universe.
Our advice to you? If you are a US citizen, write your Congress-people and tell them how important you feel NASA is to the future of the nation and the world. And while you’re at it, tell them to get to work and do the job they were elected to do. Find out who represents you in the US Congress here.