NASA Science Leading the World

This week at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, NASA scientists joined colleagues from around the world to report discoveries, discuss findings and advance knowledge about our Earth, sun, and the solar system. As always, NASA science was responsible for some of the major news coming out of the event — demonstrating once again our commitment to Earth and space science.

Earth Science remains a central priority for NASA, and we continue to operate and enhance the world’s leading fleet of Earth observation satellites to enable us to understand our planet and its changes and to ensure the long-term continuity of our data. We’ll be launching five new missions in calendar year 2014 and another six before 2021 to help us better understand our planet, predict and respond to natural disasters, and provide tools to help people around the world deepen and share their knowledge.

Among many findings discussed at AGU, scientists reported that they have discovered the coldest place on Earth. It’s a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau, where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night. Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed with data from remote sensing satellites including the new Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The centerpiece of the agency’s planetary exploration program is our focus on Mars, undergirded by the President’s bold challenge to send humans to an asteroid in the next decade and to Mars by the 2030s. America’s track record of successful missions to Mars is unequaled and we intend to keep it that way.

The Curiosity rover has provided results that indicate Mars offered conditions favorable for supporting microbial life significantly later than the period that had been believed. The rover’s first 300 days of measurements of the natural radiation environment is also helping support our work to send humans to the Red Planet by the 2030s.

High above the planet, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed to scientists slender dark markings — possibly due to salty water – that advance seasonally down slopes surprisingly close to the Martian equator. Tracking how these features recur each year is one example of how the longevity of NASA orbiters observing Mars is providing insight about changes on many time scales. Farther afield, the Juno spacecraft, on its way to Jupiter, treated us to a rare vista of the Earth and the moon as they move in concert.

Science is critical to NASA’s future plans. Our exploration goals are integrated with our scientific work, and our science missions are helping provide the information that will help us understand our home planet, live and work in space for the long term and demonstrate technologies for future missions. Congratulations to all the scientists who presented at AGU. Their dedication and curiosity is inspiring us all and fueling our continued journey of discovery.

NASA Helps Build Strong Cities and Communities

At NASA, we recognize that new space technologies and innovation are the underpinnings of all of our future missions and they feed directly into America’s economic well-being.  We also understand that for our nation to remain strong, our economy requires an advanced, globally competitive manufacturing community that invents and makes high-value-added products and leading-edge technologies.  This work is critical to NASA’s future missions and our nation’s strength and health.  New and innovative partnerships between NASA and cities and communities around the country can leverage our skills and shared goals to benefit America in space and on Earth. 

Today, a NASA-Ohio partnership announced the names of six small and medium size manufacturers who were selected to receive no-cost technical expertise from NASA subject matter experts to solve challenges with one of their new or existing products.  Cleveland and Cuyahoga Counties are making $270,000 in low interest loans available to the six winning companies if needed to cover costs connected to finding solutions to their challenges.

This partnership is part of the Administration’s “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” and “Adopt a City” initiatives, in which NASA has been partnering with the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) to work with small and mid-sized businesses in Ohio to keep our innovation economy on track.  Addressing these challenges will help increase revenue and create jobs.

This is another example of how NASA is working, regionally and locally, to support innovative partnerships that lift our game in support of American manufacturing.

In his inaugural address, President Obama said “We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise…In order to win the future we must out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world”.  One way NASA is helping to win the future is through our commitment to our cities, our communities and the manufactures who will help us out-innovate the world in the 21st century.

A commitment to innovation and technology is crucial to our future plans and evident in everything we do.  Using game-changing technologies advanced by the Administration, NASA is developing a first-ever mission to identify, capture and redirect an asteroid and send astronauts to visit it.  The International Space Station is helping us learn to live and work in space and demonstrate technologies for future missions.  We’re planning more missions to destinations within our solar system and spacecraft to peer beyond it.  We’re in a new era of exploration and partnerships like this are keeping our nation the leader in space.

If you’re interested in learning more about how America’s going to remain number one in advanced manufacturing and quality products based on innovative strategies and investments like the NASA-Ohio partnership, visit: