NASA’s Artemis Lunar Moon-to-Mars program will be on the fast track in 2019, In 2019, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing, the most historic moment in space exploration, while also making significant progress toward putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program.

Through America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, NASA’s Artemis Lunar Moon-to-Mars, Artemis gained bipartisan support this year among members of Congress, the U.S aerospace industry, as well as with international partners, including Canada, Australia, and Japan, and member states of the European Space Agency. NASA’s Artemis Lunar Moon-to-Mars.

“2019 will be remembered as the year the Artemis program really became a reality with real spaceflight hardware built, U.S. commercial and international partnerships standing behind it, and hardworking teams across NASA and the world coming together like never before to quickly and sustainably explore the Moon and use what we learn there to enable humanity’s next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “While the Artemis program came into sharp focus this year.

NASA spacesuit engineer Amy Ross and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine introduce spacesuit engineer Kristine Davis, wearing a ground prototype of NASA’s new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), and Orion Crew Survival Systems Project Manager Dustin Gohmert, wearing the Orion Crew Survival System suit, Oct. 15, 2019, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA continued to show what leading in space exploration is all about, whether it was kicking off 2019 with New Horizons’ historic Kuiper Belt object flyby, conducting the first all-woman spacewalk outside the International Space Station, or developing the first flying robotic explorer to study Saturn’s moon Titan. And wait until you see what we do in 2020!”

Throughout this year, as I have visited each of our centers, I have personally witnessed their unparalleled commitment to accomplishing our mission. The daily devotion of our employees makes them well deserving of this award,” Bridenstine said. “I am honored to lead such a dedicated team. They are what makes NASA the Best Place to Work in Government.

Animation of Mars helicopter and Mars 2020 rover. Credits: NASA/JPL-CalTech

Moon to Mars
This year, NASA officially named the new lunar exploration program Artemis, for the goddess of the Moon and twin sister of Apollo. Under Artemis, NASA will send new science instruments and technology demonstrations to study the Moon, accelerate plans to send astronauts to the Moon by 2024, and establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2028.

NASA’s aeronautics team reached several major milestones in its efforts to enable commercial supersonic air travel over land.

This illustration of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell aircraft shows the plane’s specially designed wing and 14 electric motors. NASA Aeronautics researchers will use the Maxwell to demonstrate that electric propulsion can make planes quieter, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. Credits: NASA
  • NASA tested the eXternal Vision System, a forward-facing camera and display system that lets the pilot see the airspace in front of him or her, for the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST).
  • NASA deployed CarpetDiem along a 30-mile-stretch of the Mojave Desert in California to test a specially-configured microphone array that will be used when the X-59 makes a series of acoustic validation flights in 2021.
  • The X-59 project team completed its critical design review and the aircraft was cleared in December for final assembly and systems integration.

Space Technology

This gif shows one of a series of tether tests of a terrain-relative navigation system, developed by Draper of Cambridge, Massachusetts, mounted on a Masten Space Systems Xodiac rocket. Tether tests like this ensure the rocket and navigation technology are communicating before the actual suborbital launch and landing. NASA and commercial partners are relying on the most advanced technology to upgrade navigation for future robotic and crewed missions to the Moon. Credits: NASA

As NASA embarked on the next era of exploration in 2019, the agency continued to advance technologies needed for a sustainable human presence on the Moon and future human missions to Mars.


NASA astronaut Christina Koch snapped this image of Hurricane Dorian from the International Space Station as it flew more than 200 miles above the storm on Sept. 2, 2019. Credits: NASA/Christina Koch

NASA continued to use its perspective of Earth from space to improve lives and revolutionize our understanding of how our planet is changing.

Public Engagement

Actor Brad Pitt talks to NASA astronaut Nick Hague who is onboard the International Space Station, Sept. 16, 2019, from the Space Operations Center at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Pitt, who stars as an astronaut in his latest film “Ad Astra,” spoke with Hague about what it’s like to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory. Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA is dedicated to engaging the public in the excitement, accomplishments and opportunities available only through the nation’s space program. The agency hosted and participated in events across the country marking the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landing in July 1969, including two events in Washington: a concert on July 20 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts co-hosted by former Myth Busters host Adam Savage, and a three-day festival on the National Mall that featured exhibits and talks and had more than 50,000 attendees.