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What Is NASA?
August 11, 2009
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NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was started in 1958 as a part of the United States government. NASA is in charge of U.S. science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space.

What Does NASA Do?
NASA does a lot of different things. NASA makes satellites. The satellites help scientists learn more about Earth. NASA sends probes out into space. NASA scientists study things in the solar system, and even farther away. A new program will send humans to the moon, Mars and beyond. People at NASA work on ways to make air travel better for everyone on Earth, too. People at NASA also share the things they learn with others. This can help make life on Earth better.
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Do you like science, math and learning new things? Would you like to be an adventurer? Would you like to plan future missions to other planets and outer space? People in NASA's Education Office work hard to share news about NASA's missions to learn about Earth and space with teachers. Then teachers work with students to get them ready to be engineers, scientists and astronauts. Learn more about what NASA has for students in grades K-4 on NASA's education Web pages.


NASA's Web Site for Students in K-4
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/index.html

Where Is NASA?
NASA Headquarters is in Washington, D.C. There are ten NASA centers all over the United States. There are also seven test and research facilities. More than 18,000 people work for NASA! Being an astronaut is probably the best-known job at NASA, but astronauts make up just a small part of the workforce. A lot of engineers and scientists work at NASA. People are doing other jobs, too, such as secretaries, writers, lawyers and even teachers.
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What Has NASA Done?
From its start, NASA began to plan for human spaceflight. The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs helped NASA learn about flying in space. This led to the first human landing on the moon in 1969. Right now, NASA is working to finish the International Space Station. Space probes have visited every planet in the solar system. Scientists have looked far into space using telescopes. NASA satellites help people better understand weather patterns on Earth. NASA also helps develop and test new aircraft. Some of the airplanes have set new records. NASA works to make air travel faster and safer.


Read What Is NASA? Grades 5-8

Return to Homework Topics Grades K-4

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A black jet flies over snowy mountains
NASA tested two SR-71 aircraft. They are still the world's fastest and highest-flying aircraft.
Image Credit: 
NASA
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Map showing location of NASA field centers and test and research facilities
Along with NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., there are ten NASA centers and seven test and research facilities all over the U. S.
Image Credit: 
NASA
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An astronaut, wearing a spacesuit attached to several cables, floats in space
Astronaut Ed White was the first American to walk in space.
Image Credit: 
NASA
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Page Last Updated: September 6th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator