Walking on the moon, mapping Mars, tracking Earth's weather as seen from outer space: Such things seemed elusive dreams until the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was born 25 years ago.
It is easy to take the space age for granted now. It is easy to forget how revolutionary the early space achievements of the United States and the Soviet Union actually were. It is also easy to overlook the fact that NASA itself was given a very remarkable mission. Not only was it to rocket the US into space, it was mandated by law to share the fruits of its endeavors with all mankind.
Although NASA has also carried out significant aeronautical research, space has been its major field of action. We celebrate NASA's birthday today with a brief look at its first 25 years.