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Exploration Research & Technology

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is America’s civil space program and the global leader in space exploration. The agency has a diverse workforce of just under 18,000 civil servants, and works with many more U.S. contractors, academia, and international and commercial partners to explore, discover, and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.

A view of radishes growing in the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) ground unit at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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Kennedy’s Swamp Works Celebrates a Decade of Discoveries

As NASA prepares to return to the Moon – this time with an eye toward Mars – developing new technologies…

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Focus Areas and Capabilities

Kennedy and its related laboratories and research facilities play a critical role in developing technology that will enable human deep space exploration, as well as improve life here on Earth.

Tom Moss, software team lead in the Applied Physics Laboratory, demonstrates the Schlieren effect with a lighter on Dec. 12, 2018. Schlieren systems are used to display changes in the air not visible to the naked eye. Here, hot air rises off the flame, and the image is reflected by the mirror below and displayed on the screen above.

Applied Physics Laboratory

This lab at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida tackles complex, interdisciplinary technical issues involving fluids, heat transfer, material properties, optics, mechanics, and other areas. 

Electrostatics and Physics Laboratory

This research facility at Kennedy conducts scientific investigations to protect flight hardware and launch equipment from electrostatic discharges.

NASA's Matt Romeyn works in the Crop Food Production Research Area of the Space Station Processing Facility at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Growing Plants in Space

NASA is looking at ways to provide astronauts with nutrients in a long-lasting, easily absorbed form—freshly grown fresh fruits and vegetables. The challenge is doing that without sunlight or gravity.

The ISRU Pilot Excavator (IPEx) breadboard unit, also known as RASSOR, digs in the regolith bin during testing inside Swamp Works at Kennedy Space Center.

Space Mining

The reduced gravity on the Moon, Mars, comets, and asteroids poses a major challenge for digging and traction during mining operations, but Kennedy is developing technologies that will push the boundaries of space mining and resource utilization.

Dr. Carlos Calle is the lead scientist in the Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

Dust Mitigation

Kennedy is actively working to develop technology that will address the pesky problem of dust on the Moon and Mars, as this can cause hardware failures, obstruct camera lenses and solar panels, and pose a hazard to human health.

Austin Langton, a researcher at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, creates a fine spray of the regolith simulant BP-1, to perform testing with a Millimeter Wave Doppler Radar at the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Lab.

Swamp Works

Kennedy's Swamp Works establishes rapid, innovative, and cost-effective exploration mission solutions through a highly collaborative approach, leveraging partnerships across NASA, industry, and academia.

Media Contact

Stephanie Plucinsky
Kennedy Space Center
(321) 867-2468