NASA Langley Research Center Open House

Christina Mitchell, Business Manager • cbmitchell16@ehc.edu

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Christina Mitchell

Last weekend, on October 21, I had the opportunity to attend a rare event. The NASA Langley Research Center opened its doors to the public for an open house to discuss the past and future of NASA. The open house specifically focused on the Langley Research Center’s role. While the event was technically open to the public, it was not actually publicized that thoroughly. In fact, I only learned about it because I was invited.

This event was in celebration of the Langley facilities’ centennial. The Langley Research Center, or LaRC as the employees call it, has been around longer than NASA itself. It was founded with the agency NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) which was founded two years before Langley. It was this agency that gave way to form NASA. At that time space was only a distant dream.

The history of NASA Langley is fascinating, since the facility has been at the forefront of many of NASA’s great accomplishments, including the space program. While that program has now moved to the Houston Langley location, it is still furthering those missions.

While the event was a celebration of NASA Langley’s history, its primary goal was to urge people to look to the future. It is no secret that NASA wants to send people to Mars, and that is their primary focus of the next century: to colonize Mars. The technology we have now still needs to progress before this is possible, but I got to see some beginning designs up close. Let me tell you, it was incredible. It is entirely likely, plausible even, that we will have someone on Mars in the next 40 years.

This event put the past in perspective, highlighted the great achievements that have come out of Langley in the past century, but the primary focus was to highlight the goals of the future. I had the opportunity to sit in on lectures from astronauts, engineers, scientists, so many people who have a big role in NASA. These individuals spoke of the future going to Mars and other distant planets that could potentially be habitable. They also spoke of Earth’s future and what it will look like a century from now. Personally, I was fascinated and encouraged by everything I saw that day.

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