"NASA's mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research."
To put it simply NASA has the best scientists, has developed the knowledge, served as the example of adventure, provided dreams for every child and now has entered a new stage – one with promise and growth and unbelievable adventure! AND YET talk to someone on the street and they talk as if NASA barely exists since the end of the Shuttle missions, apparently they have a)forgotten why NASA was created – as a national civilian air and space agency and b)don’t know what’s been going on, how much NASA is a part of assisting and mentoring commercial companies to a point that now the commercial companies can conquer space alongside NASA.
Not only have NASA’s best minds been working with the best minds of companies such as SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, Orbital Sciences, The Boeing Company, and many, many others, but those companies have then continued on their own, developed new methods and technologies. Sure it all began with the great NASA launches but then things started to change with the commercial eye.
But alas the mission of NASA involves Earth as well as space, a hefty territory no doubt. If they were in sales and were told their territory was the entire Earth they’d be a bit overwhelmed! So what did they do? Perhaps you recall the GPM satellite that I recently wrote about; the satellite that’s going to change our perceptions of weather. Three dimensional models of precipitation the first of which starts with the cloud, the atmosphere and then has many stops before the ground; this threatens to place us in the place where we predict famine and floods and numerous other events months in advance and have the materials in place as a result so we are better able to help. Did I mention the SOHO mission – the satellite that stands proudly between us and the Sun and keeps a watch on what is going on? CME’s, Solar Flares; NASA gives us a three day notice thanks to SOHO; have we gained a better understanding of the solar winds, the Sun’s temperature structure and countless other things that directly impact us here on Earth? Yes, without a doubt.
But if you think for a moment that two missions regarding Earth is all they have going on go to nasa.gov and look at their missions – or you could take my word; 150 currently active missions that have to with monitoring or protecting some aspect of Earth. From the atmosphere and climate to continental drift or gravity, even hurricanes, ice, land & vegetation, the ozone, the Sun and its influence on Earth, weather, and wildfires – if you have a concern regarding some portion of the Earth chances are, NASA is already on the job.
NASA has spent the past several years and is finishing up work on a brand new launch system with a new crew vehicle and rockets to power it up through our atmosphere and then with this new system that is capable of reaching out further and carrying more astronauts and is capable of more (it’s reusable up to ten times!) NASA has also required an upgrade to things like their colossal crawlers and launch sites to handle the bigger and more explosive set up. NASA has been busy indeed. And now? Now they’re looking out to the universe with companies such as DSI - who is looking to mine asteroids or Space Resources also interested in asteroids, Bigelow-with their inflatable space stations, basically far too many companies to mention but all covering details of the new space paradigm. Those pictures we have seen in the Sci Fi movies with a busy space - activity from everything such as vacationers to people going to work, that’s tomorrow or perhaps the day after, but the further we go in this adventure the better things will get on Earth as well.
Think of it – grow crops in some of the harshest areas of the universe, sounds as if the dessert holds nothing at that, learn how to keep space from affecting our bodies so much, provides an answer here on Earth as well. As we go together with NASA outward in the Galaxy and then the Universe, NASA will bring great technologies back to the Earth!