Sixty years ago today, NASA officially became operational after the National Aeronautics and Space Act, or the federal statute that created the space agency, was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 29, 1958.
To celebrate 60 years of existence, NASA has put together an overview of the agency’s beginnings, past achievements, and future prospects, detailing its plans to return to the moon and “support human exploration to Mars and beyond.”
“For six decades, NASA has led the peaceful exploration of space, making discoveries about our planet, our solar system, and our universe,” stated space agency officials, who also took the time to “honor the sacrifice” that made it all possible.
“The next decade promises to be full of adventures that only science fiction writers dreamed of and only NASA and its partners will accomplish,” notes the overview, which offers a tantalizing taste of what the future has in store for NASA.
Looking back on the agency’s “60 years of stunning achievements” that have expanded human knowledge of both Earth and outer space, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took to Twitter to post a celebratory video with the hashtag NASA60th.
“From its inception, our great agency has changed the world for the better, and our story continues to be one of accomplishment and leadership,” Bridenstine said in the video.
Our great agency has changed the world for the better. I want to thank the entire @NASA family, past and present, for making 60 years of stunning achievements possible. #NASA60th pic.twitter.com/w0GSZAnvJA
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) October 1, 2018
To commemorate its founding 60 years ago, the agency is set to air an official message from its administrator at 1 p.m. ET today, NASA announced last week.
Additionally, the space agency celebrated its 60th anniversary with a “Happy Birthday” song from the Curiosity rover. Also available on Sound Cloud, the tune is the very same that the robot hummed to itself on its first birthday on Mars, as reported by the Inquisitr, and was produced by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument — an “on-board chemistry lab that vibrates at different frequencies,” explained NASA.
It's the #NASA60th Birthday! We opened our doors to the world on Oct. 1, 1958.
— NASA (@NASA) October 1, 2018
In honor of today’s grand occasion, the space agency has also released a short video telling the tale of NASA’s 60-year journey in just 60 seconds and showcases some of the most iconic moments in the history of U.S. space travel.
“Our history tells a story of exploration, innovation and discoveries. The next 60 years, that story continues,” space agency officials wrote in the video’s description.
The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the completion of the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft designed to ferry astronauts into deep space, and the construction of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway — a small space station in the moon’s orbit destined to serve as a jump-off point for future lunar missions — are just some of the big plans that NASA has carved out for the next 60 years, notes Space.
Aside from these daring enterprises, the space agency is poised to carry out bold exploration missions, such as the Parker Solar Probe, which took off this August on a seven-year journey to study the sun’s corona, the Mars 2020 Rover, and the Europa Clipper.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the festivities for this year’s big anniversary kicked off in early June with a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra at Kennedy Center in Washington. The official logo marking NASA’s 60th birthday was released at the beginning of the year and represents a depiction of how the agency “is building on its historic past to soar toward a challenging and inspiring future,” NASA revealed in January.