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The 1959 (and current) "meatball" logo; the nickname suggests deep covert infiltration by followers of the FSM.
The 1975 "worm" logo, which, after having been retired in 1992, returns with a vengeance.
Poetry of reality
Icon science.svg
We must know.
We will know.
A view from the
shoulders of giants.
If you're a dyslexic and/or drunk hacker,[1] the NSA is what you're looking for.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an American civilian government agency whose core mission is to "investigate, explore space and the Earth environment, and to help us make this place a better place". The agency has been behind what some regard as the best achievements of humanity, including landing a man on the Moon, visiting the planets and minor planets, participating in the space race with the Soviet Union, and placing enormous telescopes in space to capture the depths of the universe. Throughout their mission, they've shared a lot of their technical innovations, provide outstanding images for use in public domain, and have maintained a (mostly) humanist approach to space travel and the future. NASA has inspired similarWikipedia programsWikipedia inWikipedia otherWikipedia countries which show growing competition in the EU and China.

NASA has been the target of a lot of criticism. When it first began, their hiring practices often excluded minorities and women. However, they've certainly made great strides since then, especially in technical innovations and high-end leaders. But even after that, the count of female astronauts and minority astronauts is still quite low. Another controversial topic has always been the cost of their expensive projects, but it's been argued that the benefits to the American (and world) economy has more than paid back for those expenses. NASA has received notable criticism for some missions where perceived mission accomplishment came before safety. It's also seen notable failures at a human cost.

Despite all this, NASA is, on the whole, one of the most successful government agencies in history in advancing human knowledge, expanding the horizons of humanity and technological innovation.

What NASA is not[edit]

Contrary to popular misconceptions:

  • NASA doesn't do astronomy, unless the observatory is on a plane (SOFIA)[2] or in space (Hubble, Webb, etc.). Even then, most of the people that actually use these instruments are professional astronomers who don't work for NASA (Hubble, for example, is used through the Space Telescope Science Institute[3]).
    • Speaking of space telescopes, it seems that only geeks know that Hubble is not the only one. (Wikipedia has a nice listWikipedia.)
  • NASA doesn't have a monopoly on space flight within the United States:
    • the Air Force has its own space projects (e.g. the X-37B) and launchpads; NASA's shuttles have launched some spy satellites, but it turned out that launching them with disposable rockets is cheaper.
    • commercial satellites are not launched by NASA, but by private contractors (such as SpaceXWikipedia, Lockheed Martin, Boeing (who have joined together as the United Launch Alliance) and Orbital Sciences Corporation Orbital ATK Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems); the same people provide launch services to NASA and other government agencies (such as launching meteosats for NOAA and spysats for the NRO).
    • there are also non-American commercial launch providers, such as Arianespace.[4]
  • Sending people into space is not the primary purpose, nor the primary activity of NASA. (The not-quite-dead Voyager 1 says "Hi.")
  • Meaning "deceive" in Hebrew according to some folks (see below).
  • Contrary to the popular (in some circles) slogan "NASA lies!", the most significant things NASA has been untruthful about are:
    • how much money a particular project will cost, and
    • how much time it will take to develop it.

Well, the last point is mostly snark, but based on a kernel of truth: NASA's projects often end up over budget and/or behind schedule (recent examples are the Constellation program[5] and the James Webb Space Telescope[6]), but so do defense programs and even relatively mundane civil engineering projects.

NASA takes its directions from the President and its money from Congress. This sometimes leads to some interesting deals and compromises (and messed-up projects, including the current state of the human spaceflight program). A good illustration is the fact that NASA's budget for fiscal year 2013 was approved in... August 2013, one month before the end of FY 2013.[7] If you are wondering how the goat NASA functioned in the meantime, the answer is "continuing resolutions." As of 2015, the chair of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness is noted moron Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has complained about NASA focusing too much on climate.[8]

Some currently and previously run projects[edit]


Successfully landing anything on another planet and successfully conducting experiments is insanely difficult with far more failures than successes. NASA landing several Mars rovers on the planet have caught the imagination of many and the idea of being able to drive that rover around from Earth is awe inspiring for many. However the most recent project is less about steering an electric car on another planet and far more about experiments which will help us understand the formation and inner workings of Mars.

The InSight probe includes gizmos that are recording temperature, wind speed and seismological data. One of the instruments, the HP3, was intended to dig up to five meters below the surface using a self-hammering "mole." However, the soil at the landing site turned out to be more prone to clumping than expected, so NASA ended the mole's mission in early 2021 and the mission ended in late 2022 as Martian dust ended up covering InSight's solar panels leaving it with no energy to operate.[9] Separately, NASA may have a secret secondary mission to find Martian gold buried by space pirates to help fund their galactic surveillance program.[citation NOT needed]

James Webb Telescope[edit]

Unfortunately Hubble is on its last legs (a dozen years or so left). Its official successor is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which will orbit around the Sun some distance past the Earth which will protect the telescope from light pollution of the Sun, Earth and moon and from the heat and radiation that emanate from the Sun and which reflect off the Earth as well. It launched (finally!) in December 2021 after several delays and reached its L2 destination in January 2022.

The telescope, free of light pollution and heat/radiation, is able to make better observations of distant objects including reading red-shifts and will measure the physical composition of our planets and exoplanets. The scope will also observe forming stars, the formation of galaxies and the first cosmic objects which formed after the Big Bang.[10]

IceSat 2[edit]

Satellite technology has helped photograph the world in incredible detail and has also helped discover ancient cities below the Earth's surface. IceSat 1 took deeper measurements of Earth topography and was considered a success. Its successor IceSat 2 was launched in September 2018. The new satellite will have a polar orbit and its three principal missions are to measure the decline of the polar ice sheet, measure bodies of water as well as vegetation and cities, and conduct a broad survey of Earth typography.

The satellite is unlike most others in that it only has one instrument which carries out its mission using highly sophisticated laser technology. It is a marvel that a satellite flinging around the Earth at incredible speed is able to send a laser beam five hundred kilometres above Earth's surface and still provide accurate information of Earth's topography. NASA claims the satellite will provide very useful information, especially as yet more evidence of climate change, though it could be that these lasers light-up the space-ship-runways when the next aliens arrive on Earth to do something nefarious to mankind.[11]

Mars 2020[edit]

The Mars 2020 mission is NASA's current flagship mission. The mission's main attraction is the Perseverance rover, a nuclear-powered rover the size of a small car that is designed to hunt for signs of past life which landed on February 18, 2021. The rover landed in Mars' Jezero Crater, which is believed to have been an ancient lakebed and river delta.[12] Riding underneath the belly of the rover is the solar-powered Ingenuity helicopter, which has became the first powered, atmospheric flyer on another planet and lasted until 2024, when damage to the rotor blades forced NASA to ground it.[13]

The Mars 2020 mission is the first part of the Mars Sample Return mission, and will cache samples in 43 hyper-sterile tubes to be left on the surface. Starting around 2026, a NASA-developed lander and Mars Ascent Vehicle will land with an ESA-developed rover to collect the samples in the tubes. The tubes will then be transferred to the Mars Ascent Vehicle, which will fly them to the ESA-developed Earth Return Orbiter, which will use solar-electric propulsion to return the samples to Earth.[14]

Artemis program[edit]

NASA's multi-national effort together with other space agencies as the European Space Agency to send back astronauts to the Moon during this decade and stablish there a lunar base as besides other things a sort of outpost for a manned mission to Mars.

The first mission, Artemis-1 was an succesful, unmanned, test of the massive Space Launch SystemWikipedia rocket that took place in 2022 in which the Orion capsule orbited the Moon and came back. ("But NASA keeps fooling us with the men-went-to-the-Moon BS, when they were there thanks to alien/CGI/masonic/hologram technology.Do You Believe That? And why they have to name that project after a Pagan goddess?!!")

Space exploration spending[edit]

NASA's budget as a percentage of the national budget, 1962-2010

A lot of people think (or at least have expressed the opinion)[15] that a lot of money is spent on space exploration, up to claiming it's a waste of money, and could be better spent elsewhere as for example combating world hunger (naively thinking were space agencies defunded and space exploration a totally private business their freed budgets would be spent for such purpose). In the case of NASA, this is undermined by the fact that a) nowadays, NASA's budget is less than 1% of the federal budget, and b) the average American has no idea how small NASA's budget actually is. According to a 2007 survey:

...we asked respondents what percentage of the national budget is allocated to NASA and to the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Health and Human Services, among other agencies. NASA’s allocation, on average, was estimated to be approximately 24% of the national budget (the NASA allocation in 2007 was approximately 0.58% of the budget).[16]

On the other hand, NASA's most recent project, the SLS, or Space Launch System, has repeatedly been criticized,[17][18] and blasted,[19][20] and criticized some more,[21][22] for being too expensive. Critics say that SpaceX can launch for significantly less. Though that may or may not be true, Elon Musk took a not-so-subtle jab at it, saying that it "won't change humanity's future".[23] (Note: This is the same person who has promised to reach Mars in the same predictory prowessWikipedia as economists successfully predicting nine of the last five recessions.)

And no, NASA did not spend millions of taxpayer dollars developing space pens.[24]

NASA haters[edit]

According to former NASA administrator Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.)[25] "We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind."[26] The acronym is often decoded as "Never a Straight Answer" by people who wouldn't recognize a straight answer if it hit them in the head, or as "Need Another Seven Astronauts" by people who lack decency; the two groups often overlap.

A few people in obscure webshites and forums (who typically espouse the ridiculous flat earth theory) have occasionally focused on the Hebrew word נָשָׁא (transliterated to "nasa" or more commonly "nasha", and meaning "to beguile, deceive") as the sole basis where NASA (with the help of the New World Order, Freemasons, etc.) is covering up the flatness of the Earth and other general conspiracies. Due to the pronunciation of this word being rather different than how one pronounces NASA (נָשָׁא is pronounced "naw-shaw'"), the existence of a closer sounding word in Hebrew with a completely different, not so conspiracy friendly definition (נָשָׂא, pronounced "naw-saw'", means "to lift, carry, take"), and the general ridiculous notion of basing a conspiracy theory on the similarity of pronunciations in different languages, this theory tends to be dismissed by all but the most kooky even on the most conspiratorial places on the Internet.[27][28][29][30] In Hebrew, NASA is transliterated to נאס"א.[31]


  • Months before Apollo 11, NASA had seriously considered placing a UN and not an American flag on the moon.[32] (Imagine the shift in political narratives.) Of course, the flag on the moon has been bleached white by intense solar radiation, so presumably that means they've surrendered the moon anyway.[33] Hey, "These colors don't run!"

See also[edit]

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about NASA.

Blamed on NASA[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Angry Brazilian whacks NASA to put a stop to… er, the NSA
  2. Not stationed in Bulgaria.
  3. John Hopkins University
  4. Named for the Ariane rockets - the main European developed rocket family
  5. Augustine Committee Releases Final Report, American Institute of Physics (That Augustine, if you were wondering.)
  6. Space science: The telescope that ate astronomy, Nature (There's a nice graph of the "cost curve.")
  7. Finally, an FY13 NASA Planetary Budget, Just 11 Months Late, Planetary Society
  13. After Three Years on Mars, NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Mission Ends
  15. One can't be always sure that some kind of thought process is going on. But Fox News may give us some answers.
  16. Sustaining exploration: communications, relevance, and value, The Space Review
  24. I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
  27. "NASA in Hebrew means, GREATLY DECEIVE or BEGUILE", LDS Freedom Forum, posted by "Kitkat", 2017 April 23, archived on 2023 May 23
  28. "NASA in Hebrew literally means "to deceive". You can't make this shit up. (Freemason vector serpent tongue symbol above "S" gives it the "sh" pronunciation)", posted by sky99997777, Reddit, r/flatearth, 2018 April 7, archived on 2023 May 23
  29. נָשָׁא, Lexicon Reference,
  30. נָשָׂא, Lexicon Reference,
  31. See the Hebrew Wikipedia page on נאס"א
  32. Where No Flag Has Gone Before: Political and Technical Aspects of Placing a Flag on the Moon, NASA JSC
  33. Who "Really" Owns the Moon?