Science Officer

Science Officers are the thinkers whose ideas and questions drive the mission objectives.

NASA scientists conduct groundbreaking research across earth science, planetary science, heliophysics and astrophysics to answer some of the most profound questions facing humanity. In addition to exploring the vast unknowns of space, NASA's science research is driving technology to improve life here on Earth. From supporting water purification efforts worldwide to developing critical medical advances, NASA scientists are uncovering discoveries that benefit humanity.

The most common science roles are in the disciplines of general physical science, astronomy and space, and physics. NASA employs 15 different types of scientists who serve as experts across varied projects and missions. NASA's diverse team of astrophysicists, geologists, biologists, chemists — the list goes on — are an integral part of NASA’s mission.

NASA scientists are designing instruments for the first probe to touch the Sun. They are developing hardware to detect compounds on Mars. Whether you’re working on the launch pad or studying the potential of DNA sequencing for crew health on the International Space Station — NASA scientists are involved in research and operations that will make an enduring impact.

Science Officer Mission Checklist

Complete items 1-10 in any order as you explore the center.

1 Saturn V rocket
Rocket Park
Please use headphones

2 Flown Mercury spacecraft
Starship Gallery

Early spacecraft were called “capsules” because they were so small.

“You don’t climb into the Mercury spacecraft, you put it on.”
- Astronaut John Glenn

21 Aug. 1965 - Astronauts L. Gordon Cooper Jr. (left) and Charles Conrad Jr. are seen in the Gemini 5 spacecraft in the white room at Pad 19.

3 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
Independence Plaza
4 Lunar samples vault
Starship Gallery

The Apollo 17 mission collected the most tonnage of lunar rocks of any mission to land on the Moon - 110.4 kilograms (243.4 pounds).

Dec. 12 1972 - Scientist-astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 lunar module pilot, uses an adjustable sampling scoop to retrieve lunar samples during the second Apollo 17 extravehicular activity. You can also see a gnomon on the rock in the foreground, which is a stadia rod mounted on a tripod, and indicates the gravitational vector and provides accurate vertical reference and calibrated length for determining size and position of objects in near-field photographs.

5 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
Near Independence Plaza
6 Space Station solar array
International Space Station Gallery

What is the wingspan of a solar array on the space station?

Correct! Wrong!

A solar array's wingspan of 240 feet (73 meters) is longer than a Boeing 777's wingspan, which is 212 feet (65 meters).

7 Weather on Mars
Mission Mars
8 Flown Apollo 17 spacecraft
Starship Gallery
9 Conrad's Apollo 12 suit
Astronaut Gallery
Please use headphones

10 Boom! Presentation
Astronaut Gallery

Submit your completed mission checklist to get your badge.

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