Space Science Enterprise

We as humans have a profound and distinguishing imperative to understand our origin, our existence, and our fate. For millennia, we have gazed at the sky, observed the motions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, and wondered about the universe and how we are connected to it. The Space Science Enterprise serves this human quest for knowledge. As it does so, it seeks to inspire our Nation and the world, to open young minds to broader perspectives on the future, and to bring home to every person on Earth the experience of exploring space.

The mission of the Space Science Enterprise is threefold-science, technology, and education and public outreach:

a graphical 
representation of the mission of the Space Science Enterprise as detailed 
in this article.

To accomplish this mission, the Enterprise addresses fundamental questions, including the following:

The Space Science Enterprise addresses these questions by establishing a continuum of exploration and science. It creates a virtual presence in the solar system, exploring new territories and investigating the solar system in all its complexity. It simultaneously probes the universe to the beginning of time, looking ever deeper with increasingly capable telescopes, scanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum from gamma-rays to radio wavelengths. It sends probes into interstellar space, beginning a virtual presence even beyond our solar system.

Primary Centers of Space Science, their Missions and Roles.
Goddard Space Flight Center:Physics and Astronomy,
Ames Research Center:Astrobiology,
Jet Propulsion Laboratory:Planetary Science and Exploration,
Johnson Space Center:Astro Materials. The following are goals of the Space Science Enterprise for the coming decade:

Throughout, the Space Science Enterprise employs a strategy that lowers mission costs while preserving, to the greatest extent possible, mission performance. To do so, it will accept prudent risk, shorten developmental times, explore new conceptual approaches, streamline management, and make other changes to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. The Enterprise also develops enabling technology critical to its future success in partnership with STE.

NASA Centers play vital roles in carrying out the Space Science Enterprise. These roles are summarized in the illustration above and the NASA Centers of Excellence chart in the "Framework" section of this Strategic Plan.

The public is both an investor in space science research and the ultimate customer and beneficiary. The Enterprise strives to serve the public by clearly communicating its research results and the excitement of space exploration. It supports educational organizations nationwide and seeks to apply the special talents of the space science community to educational improvement. It also strives to transfer technologies to the private sector and to develop strong and lasting partnerships among industry, academia, and Government so that the Nation reaps maximum scientific and economic benefits from its Space Science program.

NEAR spacecraft

Artist's concept of the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft.
NEAR will launch in February 1996 as the first of the Discovery series.

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