What is NASA Up To?

Movies and shows depict NASA as the down to the wire planet saving type. But is that depiction true? Or is it less eventful? Do we really know what NASA does? If not, you’re in luck because we did the research. Here’s a closer look at what we think NASA does versus what NASA actually does.

Sky Rockets In Flight

What we think they do

NASA likes to test rockets for fun. There’s nothing but space, time, and opportunity up there. 

What they actually do 

There are substantial reasons a rocket goes to space. We’ve seen astronauts and billionaires like Jeff Besos take rockets to space, but let’s focus on the Astronauts. Being an astronaut is an out-of-this-world job where you’re in a confined space in close proximity to everyone and everything. Have you ever heard of those live-work-play communities here on earth? The intention is to keep people connected by providing all needs in one place.  We presume astronauts in outer space have access to the same, but on a smaller scale (more technology, less gravity). What better way to conduct research than by being in the actual environment? Another reason is supplies. In order to get satellites and other equipment in space, it has to be blasted up. Satellites provide so much data for us earthlings, including weather, climate, and uninterrupted music for your favorite satellite radio station. Lastly, research. Even though all of these reasonings have some connection to research, there are missions where research is the sole purpose. For example, Artemis 1 is set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center this August 29, 2022. According to, it will be a crewless exploration meant to fly around the moon gathering information. 


“Artemis I will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond…” 


Pack Your Bags We’re Going To Space

What we think they do

NASA is out here collecting bank by letting all these people dip a toe into outer space. 

What they actually do 

Yes, you need permission to launch into space, but that permission doesn’t come from NASA. You must get clearance from the FAA. The FAA keeps an eye out for the commercial sector’s space activities by requiring us to get launch and re-entry licenses. The FAQs state that NASA is not in charge of this because 

“NASA is a civil research and development agency of the federal government, and as such it neither operates nor regulates the commercial space transportation industry. The regulatory responsibility for the industry falls to FAA, which is a regulatory agency. Both DOD and NASA, however, often launch satellites and spacecraft on vehicles developed by private companies and have programs to help develop commercial space transportation capabilities.”


Asteroids Babyyyy

What we think they do

NASA has the best experts in asteroid extraction as they are ready to designate the bomb and save the world many times over. 

What they actually do 

NASA does constantly look into locating asteroids and comets, but unlike the movies blowing up such things is highly unlikely. NASA tests out nudging these destructo rocks onto a different course by hitting them with a spacecraft. The mission is called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), and they’ve already launched it about 9 months ago. Again this is a test. The earth is not in immediate danger. They just want to see what will happen. Also, a cool fact is that we have two Pan-STARRS (The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) telescopes in Haleakala, Hawaii, that scan space for asteroids we haven’t seen yet or any other transient astronomical phenomena. This gives NASA time to develop a plan if we ever needed to divert something from hitting the earth. Now, I know what you’re going to say: some asteroids have hit the earth, but that’s why NASA is keen on finding asteroids beforehand to try and prevent any major casualties.  


Planet Discovery 

What we think they do

From a galaxy far, far away, NASA space explorers discovered a planet outside of the solar system, and it only took them months to do it.

What they actually do 

As of now, NASA has confirmed there are 5,000+ exoplanets. Exoplanets are planets outside of our solar system, and some take time to discover. There isn’t a speedy way to do this, nor is there a yearly rat race to discover a planet. NASA uses many telescopes. In fact, the James Webb Space Telescope has started a 10-year mission to peer into infinity and beyond to see what it finds. They’re positive some exoplanets will be in the mix. According to Mashable, here are some of the recent exoplanets NASA discovered. 


Investigate UFOs’ 

What we think they do

UFOs have a fleet of highly trained starship troopers or maybe even MIB agents defending the earth and protecting us from Alien harm!  

What they actually do 

No special ops teams are patrolling our planet or galaxy, but as of 2022, NASA does want to start looking into unexplained flying objects. With NASA’s announcement of conducting its own independent study Daniel Evans, assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), said 

“NASA is taking the project seriously. “We’re going full force,” he said in a town hall meeting this week, reported by “This is really important to us, and we’re placing a high priority on it.”

They’re finalizing a panel of 15-17 experts consisting of leading scientists, data practitioners, artificial intelligence practitioners, and aerospace safety experts, all with a budget of up to $100,000 (Is that a big budget when it comes to the science of things? It doesn’t seem like a lot).    

They aim to apply much focus on science and data to UAPs. What are UAPs? I’m glad you asked. Turns out NASA is not really into calling them UFOs and prefers the term UAP, or unidentified aerial phenomena. If you’re wondering whether you’ll ever hear about their findings, the information is expected to be released to the public after the nine-month-long study launches around October.


Doesn’t this prove that NASA is more than a cool acronym? An acronym that stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Yeah, let’s just stick with NASA. Anyway. There are so many wondrous things to discover between stars, the universe, and galaxies.

We barely reach into the depths here with all that NASA does, but it’s intriguing to know a little bit about the value they bring as we go about our regular degular days.

One thought on “What is NASA Up To?

  1. Alonge Hawes says:

    Very interesting. I like how the author broke down common misconceptions (and stereotypes) regarding NASA and the work they do.

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