interesting facts about NASA

17 Extraordinary Facts About NASA

NASA is the independent space agency of the USA government that was responsible for sending man to the moon.  Here are 18 fun facts about NASA for you to learn:

1. What does NASA stand for, anyway?

NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

2. NASA wasn’t the first space agency.

NASA’s predecessor was NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics which President Woodrow Wilson created to encourage flight-related research.

3. NASA was set up to answer the USSR’s space race.

President Eisenhower finally established NASA a year after the Russians launched Sputnik 1. That was back in 1958. It was created to be a civilian-operated agency falling under the auspices of the government’s executive branch.

astronaut space walk

4. Astronauts used to have interesting insurance policies.

The famous Apollo astronauts could not qualify for life insurance because of the nature of their work. So they signed autographs behind before going to space. If anything went wrong, they hoped that the autographs would gain enough value to care for their families.

5. NASA can be found all over the US.

NASA’s HQ is in Washington DC. But it also has nine centres scattered all over the USA, including the test and research facilities and the jet propulsion lab.

6. NASA applications come in thick and fast.

Everyone wants to join NASA. They actually employ roughly 17,000 employees already. The majority are scientists, engineers, and government contractors. They also employ teachers, writers, and attorneys.

7. You’re not a true astronaut until you get to space!

As far as NASA is concerned, you only gain the title of astronaut once you travel 50 miles from the planet’s surface.

8. Some space movies are used to test astronaut aptitude.

The movie ‘Armageddon’ is pretty popular. What you might not know is that this movie is shown to new employees at NASA and are tasked with identifying all its inaccuracies.

9. NASA goes big when it comes to building.

The vehicle assembly building at NASA is so large that, if it wasn’t for their massive air conditioning systems, rain clouds would form near the ceiling!

Looking at Earth from the ISS
Looking at Earth from the International Space Station

10. NASA’s been dispatching space crews for a long time.

NASA sent the first American to space in 1961 (Alan Shepherd). With Apollo 8, they orbited the Moon in 1968. In 1969, the Moon landing happened. In total, the Apollo missions have allowed 12 men to walk on the Moon.

11. NASA helps us see the Earth from space.

In 1972, NASA launched the Landsat Satellites which were tasked with photographing the planet’s surface from space.

12. NASA has found all kinds of interesting things up in the heavens.

NASA has discovered a so-called Water World 40 light-years away from our planet that has hot ice, superfluid water, and other scientific marvels.

satellite over Earth

13. It took three decades for NASA to hit the edge of the galaxy.

NASA launched the Voyager 1 probe which took 33 years to reach the edge of the solar system in 2010.

14. Who owns Mars?

NASA was sued by three men from Yemen because they supposedly trespassed on Mars. The men argued that they had inherited the planet from their ancient ancestors.

15. Water pistols, space shuttles – what’s the difference?

The man who created the super soaker squirt gun worked for NASA as a scientist.

Space Shuttle lift off from Cape Canaveral
Space Shuttle lift off from Cape Canaveral

16. NASA’s prepared for any eventuality.

If an asteroid ever threatens the Earth, NASA has designed a ship that can deflect it using a nuclear explosion.

17. We’re ready to welcome extra-terrestrials.

If alien life is ever discovered, NASA has an organisation called the Office of Planetary Protection that is charged with contending with such matters.

FAQs about NASA

How much do astronauts get paid?

It’s thought that astronauts are paid from as little as $66,000 per year, but they can earn almost $150,000 a year after plenty of space exploration!

How much does NASA cost to buy?

You’ll need quite a few pennies, as NASA’s yearly budget generally sits at around $22.6 billion!

Does NASA hire foreigners?

NASA generally hires citizens of the US on a civil servant basis, however, there are split-off agencies where foreign nationals can join the space force.

Do you know any interesting facts about NASA?  Share them in the comments below!

Are you fascinated with space? Check out these facts about the International Space Station.

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This page was last modified on May 7, 2024. Suggest an edit

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