Proving Amelia Earhart Right

Amelia Earhart is reported to have professed: “Never do things others can and will do, if there are things others cannot do or will not do.” All across our country, hardworking NASA employees and contractors live these words on a daily basis. They are turning science fiction into fact and expanding the horizons of human possibility.

I’ve had the honor of working with members of the NASA community for the past three decades, and since formally joining Team NASA in May, I’ve made it a priority to visit the NASA workforce and to see our centers and facilities throughout the country.

Having the opportunity to speak with NASA employees and to hear firsthand about the world-changing work they are doing has been nothing short of inspirational and remarkable.

Most recently, I had the chance to visit the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and the Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field and Plum Brook Station in Ohio.

At both centers, our teams are making significant and substantial progress to advance NASA’s Journey to Mars – from Team Goddard’s work on MAVEN and Sample Analysis at Mars to the progress being made on the next generation of Solar Electric Propulsion at Glenn.

At Glenn, NASA teams are doing important work to further our goals for making flight safer, cleaner, and quieter. I was really impressed by the research to simulate the impact of ice crystals on jet engines in the Propulsion Systems Laboratory. Glenn is a big part of the reason we’re able to say that “NASA is with you when you fly.”

The work of Goddard’s teams on marquee missions like the Hubble and James Webb telescopes, contributes (and will continue to contribute) breakthrough scientific understanding of our solar system and beyond.

At NASA, we are, to paraphrase President Obama, reaching farther into our solar system at the very same time we are strengthening our nation’s leadership here at home. When our astronauts put their feet on Martian soil in the 2030s, we’ll be able to look back at this time knowing we laid the groundwork.