2015 was a very busy and exciting year for NASA – one in which the space agency achieved a number of milestones on our home planet Earth and in the solar system in space. From the International Space Station (ISS) to orbiting celestial bodies, NASA excelled at it all and set the momentum for years to come with space scientists getting busier with loads of new data coming in every second.
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“It was a fantastic year that brought us even closer to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Our space program welcomed advances from commercial partners who will soon launch astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station, and progress on new technologies and missions to take us into deep space, improve aviation and explore our universe and home planet.”
In March 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft orbited Ceres, a dwarf planet, for the first time and returned a lot of information still being processed. Also in March, NASA launched four Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft into Earth’s orbit to study the interaction between our sun and the magnetic field from our Earth in order to protect power installations on our home planet.
In April, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope celebrated 25 years of exploring distance worlds and providing space scientists with valuable data about our universe and beyond. And then NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) marked 20 years of managing a solar observatory and also of coming across its 3,000th comet.
In July, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft achieved a remarkable flyby of Pluto; and in October, the Cassini spacecraft also achieved a flyby of Enceladus, Saturn’s moon and relayed valuable information about its subsurface ocean and the plumes of icy spray it contains.
And in this year, NASA achieved great strides in its mission to visit Mars, having succeeded with such projects as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission. The Opportunity and Curiosity rovers also did great with exploring the Red Planet in 2015, and NASA went a long way to perfect its Orion crewed spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, Asteroid Redirect Mission, and revitalized space launch complex at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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And at the ISS, NASA recorded success with 16 people living and working at the orbiting space station this year, with some of them even growing and eating vegetables in space. The space agency also excelled at lots of scientific progresses on Earth, and in technology that would make the world a better place for all to live – by understanding our universe and the worlds that lie beyond in terms of how they impact us on Earth.