Today in history: In 1958, NASA was created

This Day in History: 07/29/1958 - NASA Created

On July 29, 1958, the U.S. Congress officially passed legislation that established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) -- a civilian agency that is responsible for coordinating America's activity in space.

Since NASA's introduction to the world, the agency has made huge strides in space exploration and scientific discovery -- sponsoring both human and mechanical space expeditions. Through their launch of earth-orbiting satellites, NASA has discovered vital information about our solar system.

The agency was initially created in response to the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of its first satellite, Sputnik I -- known for orbiting the earth in 98 minutes. Americans were fearful of these technological developments and the possibility of the Soviets sending missiles with nuclear weapons to America.

Since the U.S. prided themselves on being at the forefront of technology, the country decided to join the race to space. Thus, the U.S.-Soviet space race began and NASA was born, and the agency has continued to innovate and amaze ever since.

NASA joined Twitter on December 20, 2007 and has since accrued more than 11 million followers. Their first tweet was about Apollo 17:
While NASA facilitated man's first walk on the moon, the agency continues to make amazing advances and discoveries in space.

See below for incredible photos from NASA's Instagram account:

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Today in history: In 1958, NASA was created
[Artistic Concept] Scientists using data from NASA's Kepler mission have confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. The habitable zone is the region around a star where temperatures are just right for water to exist in its liquid form. The artistic concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger. The illustration represents one possible appearance for Kepler-452b -- scientists do not know whether the planet has oceans and continents like Earth. Both planets orbit a G2-type star of about the same temperature; however, the star hosting Kepler-452b is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun. As stars age, they become larger, hotter and brighter, as represented in the illustration. Kepler-452b's star appears a bit larger and brighter. Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle - Artistic Concept #nasa #kepler #space #exoplanet #nasabeyond #science
Loops in Profile A whole series of loops towered above a group of active regions over a five-days period from July 9-13, 2015. When viewed in extreme ultraviolet light, magnetic field lines above the Sun's surface are revealed by charged particles that spin along the lines and create these loops. They are best observed along the edge of the Sun as they are here. The tallest of the loops reach up about 15 times the diameter of Earth. Image credit: NASA/SDO #nasa #space #sun #solar #sdo #sunloops
Although the Quintuplet Cluster gained its name due to its five brightest stars, it is home to hundreds more. The huge number of massive young stars in the cluster is clearly captured in this Hubble Space Telescope image. The cluster is just 100 light-years from the center of our galaxy. The Quintuplet Cluster hosts two extremely rare luminous blue variable stars: the Pistol Star, one of the most luminous known stars in the Milky Way. The exact age and future of the Pistol Star are uncertain, but it is expected to end in a supernova or even a hypernova in one to three million years. The cluster also contains a number of red supergiants, the largest in the galaxy and are burning their fuel at an incredible speed, meaning they will have a very short lifetime. Image credit: ESA/NASA #nasa #space #hubble #hubble25 #astronomy #galaxy #telescope #hst #science
Far Side of the Sun: This image of the sun was taken on Wednesday with the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager onboard our Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory Ahead (STEREO-A) spacecraft, which collects images in several wavelengths of light that are invisible to the human eye. This image shows the sun in wavelengths of 171 angstroms, which are typically colorized in blue. STEREO-A has been on the far side of the sun since March 24, where it had to operate in safe mode, collecting and saving data from its radio instrument. The first images in over three months were received from STEREO-A on July 11. Image Credit: NASA/STEREO #nasa #nasabeyond #sun #heliophysics #stereo #earth #science
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) captured photographs and video of auroras from the International Space Station on June 22, 2015. Kelly wrote, "Yesterday's aurora was an impressive show from 250 miles up. Good morning from the International Space Station! ‪#‎YearInSpace‬" Image Credit: NASA #iss #spacestation #space #nasa #aurora #earth
Astronomers have used our Chandra X-ray Observatory to show that, multiple eruptions from a supermassive black hole over 50 million years have rearranged the cosmic landscape at the center of a group of galaxies. Scientists discovered this history of black hole eruptions by studying NGC 5813, a group of galaxies about 105 million light years from Earth. These Chandra observations are the longest ever obtained of a galaxy group, lasting for just over a week. The Chandra data are shown in this new composite image where the X-rays from Chandra (purple) have been combined with visible light data (red, green and blue). Credit: NASA #nasa #chandra #blackhole #science
Fresh Martian Crater: The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this closeup image of a "fresh" (on a geological scale, though quite old on a human scale) impact crater in the Sirenum Fossae region of Mars on March 30, 2015. This impact crater appears relatively recent as it has a sharp rim and well-preserved ejecta. The steep inner slopes are carved by gullies and include possible recurring slope lineae on the equator-facing slopes. Fresh craters often have steep, active slopes, so the HiRISE team is monitoring this crater for changes over time. The bedrock lithology is also diverse. The crater is a little more than 1-kilometer wide. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona #mars #nasa #mro #uarizona #hirise #crater #planets #science
50 years ago today, astronaut Ed White floated out of the Gemini IV spacecraft to become the first American to walk in space during the first Mission Controlled from Houston's manned spacecraft center. In this image, White floats in the microgravity of space outside the Gemini IV spacecraft. Behind him is the brilliant blue Earth and its white cloud cover. White is wearing a specially-designed space suit. The visor of the helmet is gold plated to protect him against the unfiltered rays of the sun. In his left hand is a Hand-Held Self-Maneuvering Unit with which he controls his movements in space. Credits: NASA/Jim McDivitt #nasa #space #gemini #otd #spacewalk #eva #spacewalk50 #suitup #missioncontrol #houston
Aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Terry Virts (@Astro_Terry) posted this image and wrote, "Flying away from one of the most incredible auroras I've seen, just west of #Australia." Image Credit: NASA #nasa #iss #space #astronauts #aurora
Just how big was yesterday’s solar flare? Well, compare it to the size of Earth. The X2.7 class solar flare flashed on the edge of the sun on May 5, 2015. This image was captured by our Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from different wavelengths. The Earth is shown to scale. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO #nasa #nasabeyond #space #sun #sdo #solarflare #science
Unmasking the Secrets of Mercury Scientists have worked to learn more about the minerals and surface processes on Mercury using instruments on the MESSENGER spacecraft to diligently collect single tracks of spectral surface measurements since entering Mercury orbit on March 17, 2011. The track coverage is now extensive enough that the spectral properties of both broad terrains and small, distinct features such as pyroclastic vents and fresh craters can be studied. The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the solar system's innermost planet. In the mission's more than four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end, as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury near the end of April 2015. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington #Mercury #MESSENGER #NASA #space #Planets #SolarSystem #Planet
The Hubble Space Telescope turns 25 years old today! Celebrate with us as we share incredible images from Hubble: This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks. This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on Feb. 1-2, 2010. The colors in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulfur (red). Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI) #Hubble25 #hubble #hst #telescope #nasa #space
Aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Terry Virts posted this image today and wrote, "Our interstellar home the Milky Way galaxy. With the long camera exposure it makes #Earth look like #Venus." Astronauts have used hand-held cameras to photograph the Earth for more than 40 years. Beginning with the Mercury missions in the early 1960s, astronauts have taken more than 1.5 million photographs of the Earth. Today, the International Space Station continues our tradition of Earth observation from human-tended spacecraft. Operational since November 2000, the @ISS is well suited for documenting Earth features. The station maintains an altitude between 220 - 286 miles (354 - 460 km) above the Earth, and an orbital inclination of 51.6˚, providing an excellent stage for observing most populated areas of the world. Image Credit: NASA #nasa #space #iss #spacestation #milkyway #galaxy #earth
Death Star: The destruction of a planet may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a team of astronomers has found evidence that this may have happened in an ancient cluster of stars at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. Using several telescopes, including our Chandra X-ray Observatory, researchers have found evidence that a white dwarf star - the dense core of a star like the sun that has run out of nuclear fuel - may have ripped apart a planet as it came too close. When a star reaches its white dwarf stage, nearly all of the material from the star is packed inside a radius one hundredth that of the original star. This means that, for close encounters, the gravitational pull of the star and the associated tides, caused by the difference in gravity's pull on the near and far side of the planet, are greatly enhanced. For example, the gravity at the surface of a white dwarf is over ten thousand times higher than the gravity at the surface of the Sun. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/IASF Palermo/M.Del Santo et al; NASA/STScI #nasa #space #astronomy #chandra #star #milkyway #galaxy #science
Space Station Flies Over Super Typhoon Maysak: Typhoon Maysak strengthened into a super typhoon on March 31, reaching Category 5 hurricane status on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. NASA Astronaut Terry Virts captured this image while flying over the weather system on board the International Space Station. Commenting on the storm, Virts wrote, "The eye of #Maysak typhoon really stands out early in the morning with the shadow being cast deep into the vortex." His ESA crewmate on station also viewed the storm and wrote, "Commands respect even from #space: we just flew over typhoon #Maysak." Image Credit: NASA #nasa #iss #space #typhoon #weather #hurricane #astronauts #spacestation
Astronaut Scott Kelly is seen inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC), Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in Star City, Russia. Kelly, along with Expedition 43 Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos were at GCTC for the second day of qualification exams in preparation for their launch to the International Space Station onboard a Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m. EST on March 27. As the one-year crew, Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-18M in March 2016. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) #nasa #iss #yearinspace #iss1years #spacestation #science
Spacewalk Trilogy Complete! NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore (in this photo) ended their spacewalk at 12:30 p.m. EST today. Virts and Wilmore completed installing 400 feet of cable and several antennas associated with the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles system known as C2V2. Boeing's Crew Transportation System (CST)-100 and the SpaceX Crew Dragon will use the system in the coming years to rendezvous with the orbital laboratory and deliver crews to the space station. They completed one additional task to retrieve a bag to cover equipment on the outside of the station. Photo Credit: NASA #nasa #astrobutch #nasajsc #spacestation #internationalspacestation #explore #exploration #photography #ISS #Exp42 #USEVA31 #spectacular #aweinspiring #space 5A9E4083-7546-4995-97F1-67F09C0F9E25
Exploded Star Blooms Like a Cosmic Flower: Because the debris fields of exploded stars, known as supernova remnants, are very hot, energetic, and glow brightly in X-ray light, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has proven to be a valuable tool in studying them. The supernova remnant called G299.2-2.9 (or G299 for short) is located within our Milky Way galaxy, but Chandra’s new image of it is reminiscent of a beautiful flower here on Earth. G299 was left over by a particular class of supernovas called Type Ia. Astronomers think that a Type Ia supernova is a thermonuclear explosion – involving the fusion of elements and release of vast amounts of energy − of a white dwarf star in a tight orbit with a companion star. If the white dwarf’s partner is a typical, Sun-like star, the white dwarf can become unstable and explode as it draws material from its companion. Alternatively, the white dwarf is in orbit with another white dwarf, the two may merge and can trigger an explosion. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/U.Texas #nasa #chandra #space #supernova #astronomy #science
Orion Launch Scrubbed; Next Opportunity Friday: The Thursday, Dec. 4 launch of Orion's flight test has been scrubbed because of an issue related to fill and drain valves on the Delta IV Heavy rocket that teams could not troubleshoot by the time the launch window expired. The next launch window opens at 7:05 a.m. Eastern on Friday, Dec. 5. The un-crewed Orion will orbit 3,600 miles above Earth before splashing down in the Pacific. Orion is being designed to carry astronauts on exploration missions into deep space, including a trip to an asteroid and eventually to Mars. Inage Credit: NASA #space #orion #orionlaunch #nasa #launch #capecanaveral #deltaiv #journeytomars
A wealth of images of Earth at night taken by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) could help save energy, contribute to better human health and safety and improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry. But scientists need your help to make that happen. The pictures are clear, but their location may not be, which limits their usefulness. That's where citizen science comes in. Visit this link for more information: The Iberian Peninsula at night, showing Spain and Portugal. Madrid is the bright spot just above the center. Image Credit: NASA #nasa #space #spacestation #iss #science #exp40
As seen on #Cosmos: The Apollo 8 mission, first time humans left Earth orbit. This view of the rising Earth greeted the Apollo 8 astronauts as they came from behind the Moon after the lunar orbit insertion burn. Earth is about five degrees above the horizon in the photo. The unnamed surface features in the foreground are near the eastern limb of the Moon as viewed from Earth. The lunar horizon is approximately 780 kilometers from the spacecraft. Width of the photographed area at the horizon is about 175 kilometers. On the Earth 240,000 miles away, the sunset terminator bisects Africa. Image Credit: NASA #nasa #cosmos #earth #earthrightnow #apollo8 #watching cosmos #moon

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