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Frequently Asked Questions
Common Definitions
Science at NASA
The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) engages the Nation's science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA's partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space. The SMD seeks to understand the origins, evolution, and destiny of the universe and to understand the nature of the strange phenomena that shape it. It's possible to look through our finished researches at Top-Papers.com. The SMD also seeks to understand:
  • the nature of life in the universe and what kinds of life may exist beyond Earth;
  • the solar system, both scientifically and in preparation for human exploration; and
  • the Sun and Earth, changes in the Earth-Sun system, and the consequences of the Earth-Sun relationship for life on Earth.


The SMD manages the Heliophysics, Earth Science, Planetary Science and Astrophysics Divsions as well as the Management & Policy Division.

Science Mission Directorate Education and Public Outreach Program

The NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) program is now one of the largest programs in astronomy and space science education ever undertaken. E/PO activities focus on K-12 and higher education and the public understanding of science, and are embedded in SMD flight missions and research programs. The SMD E/PO Support Network coordinates and integrates these efforts, and provides a point of entry for individuals and organizations wishing to participate in the SMD E/PO program.

Support Network

The SMD "Support Network" is a nationwide infrastructure of space science education and outreach groups (broker/facilitators) whose purpose is to aid space science investigators in identifying and developing high-quality E/PO opportunities. The network fosters partnerships between the space science and E/PO communities and provides the services needed to establish and maintain a vital national, coordinated, long-term SMD E/PO program. The Broker/Facilitators and Education Forums, in particular, aim to help scientists turn results from space science missions and programs into educationally appropriate activities suitable for regional and/or national dissemination.

Major Links to NASA
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is devoted to understanding and protecting Earth, exploring the Universe and search for life, and inspiring the next generation of explorers as only NASA can. NASA has six Strategic Enterprises or major areas of research and development efforts. These NASA Enterprises are Aerospace Technology, Biological and Physical Research, Earth Science, Education, Human Exploration and Development of Space, and Space Science.

Science Mission Directorate
This directorate is responsible for all of NASA's programs relating to astronomy, the solar system, and the sun and its interaction with Earth. There are four general space science themes of NASA SMD research: Search for Origins, Structure and Evolution of the Universe, Solar System Exploration, and Sun-Earth Connections.

Space Science Missions
The best source for space science mission information is through the NASA Science Missions Page. Here you will find an updated and comprehensive list of past, current, and future space science missions. Missions are organized by their stage in development (under study, in development, operating, past missions) and by their mission name or acronym.

Space Science Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Programs
NASA SMD Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) programs focus on K-12 education and the public understanding of science, and are embedded in every SMD flight mission and research program.

Space Science Education and Public Outreach Support Network
The NASA Science Mission Directorate has established a Space Science EPO "Support Network" to make education at all levels and the enhanced public understanding of science integral parts of the Space Science missions and research programs.

Space Science Education and Public Outreach Support Network Brochure
NASA has put together an online brochure describing how the Support Network works. (.pdf / 133kb).

Aerospace Technology
The Aerospace Technology Enterprise pioneers the identification, development, verification, transfer, application and commercialization of high-payoff aeronautics and space transportation technologies. The Enterprise is managed by the Office of Aerospace Technology.

Biological and Physical Research
The mission of this Enterprise is to conduct basic and applied research to support human exploration of space and to take advantage of the space environment as a laboratory for scientific, technological, and commercial research. The Office of Biological and Physical Research creates unique cross-disciplinary research programs, bringing the basic sciences of physics, biology, and chemistry together with a wide range of engineering disciplines.

Earth Science
The Earth Science Enterprise uses space to provide information about Earth's environment that is obtainable in no other way. In concert with research and industry partners, the Enterprise is developing the understanding needed to support the complex environmental policy and economic investment decisions that lie ahead. The Earth Science Enterprise is managed by the Office of Earth Science.

The Education Enterprise seeks to inspire the next generation of explorers as only NASA can. The Office of Education is a clearing house for all NASA education programs. They lists all of the NASA education resources available for educators, students, scientists, informal educators and the public.

Human Exploration and Development of Space
The Human Exploration and Development of Space Enterprise is to explore and to expand the human experience into the far reaches of space. The enterprise is managed by the Office of Space Flight whose programs provide safe, assured transportation to and from space for people and payloads, and develop and operate habitable space facilities to enhance scientic knowledge, support technology development, and enable commercial activity.

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