NASA Langley Research Center helping carry out new explorations, as outlined in State of NASA address

State of NASA address (June 4).jpg
Posted at 12:40 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 18:11:04-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - NASA's new Administrator Bill Nelson addressed the nation Thursday in his State of NASA address. His major announcement: A mission to Venus, a planet that hasn't been explored in three decades.

"Two sister missions will figure out if Venus really is an inferno-like world that can melt lead at the surface," Nelson said.

NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton will help support those missions, named Veritas and Da Vinci, by developing a probe that will go into Venus's atmosphere.

"The atmosphere is very thick, and we'll help collect data to see if lead can really melt," said Clayton Turner, NASA Langley Research Center's director.

The Earth System Observatory, an array of five satellite missions that will work to develop a 3D model of Earth, was also announced. Langley will develop instruments and sensors for the mission in 2023.

"We will figure out how the images and information translate to farmers, builders and policymakers," Turner said.

Langley is also helping develop entry, descent and landing systems for NASA's mission to the moon and Mars.

"Landing the first woman and person of color on the moon is near. It's not a statement; it's an action," Nelson said.

Related: To Mars and back: Meet the women helping NASA Langley break barriers in science

Langley is working on supporting NASA through Advanced Air Mobility and supersonic transport, moving people and cargo faster through the air.

"We don't want to have you sitting on a plane for six hours anymore. We want to get it to two hours," Turner said.

NASA's budget this year is 6% higher than last year at $24.8 billion. NASA Langley received more than $1 billion, with $11 million of that money planned to assist in these future explorations.

"We are excited to reach for new heights and to reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind," Turner said.