NASA has completed 60 years of discovering the world beyond Earth and developing new technologies. "For six decades, NASA has led peaceful exploration of space, making discoveries about our planet, our solar system, and our universe," the agency posted on its website.
The United States is working to put boots back on the moon, as the nation did during the Apollo era nearly five decades ago, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine stressed during a video message to commemorate the agency's 60th birthday.
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"President (Dwight) Eisenhower launched our nation into the space age, and President John F. Kennedy gave us the charge to reach the moon," Bridenstine said in the 2-minute video. "We celebrate our legacy today with great promise and a direction from the president to return to the moon and go on to Mars."
The agency also remembered the sacrifices laid down by astronauts during space research. "The tragic loss of lives including aviation pilots and the crew members of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia (which included Indian-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla)," the post said.
Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the craft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere on 1 February, 2003.
"Sacrifice has also come in the countless hours dedicated by the NASA personnel — on the ground and in space — (that they) have spent away from families to plan and execute missions."
"We will go back to the Moon to learn more about what it will take to support human exploration to Mars and beyond. We will continue to try to answer the question: "Are we alone?" NASA said.
NASA has not just launched spacecrafts to unlock mysteries of the universe, dispatched probes to make close-up observations of every planet in the solar system, but has also, in August, sent a probe named Parker Solar Probe to the Sun.
The historic small car-sized probe will journey steadily closer to the Sun until it makes its closest approach at 3.8 million miles.
The agency has also conducted nine manned missions and is planning for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officially opened for business for the first time on 1 October, 1958.
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In the US, NASA's research made great advances in aviation, helped to develop a commercial space industry, enriched the economy, created jobs, and strengthened national security.