NASA officials brief South MS leaders on new projects - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

NASA officials brief South MS leaders on new projects

There are big plans in the works for NASA's Stennis Space Center, its employees and the community. (Photo source: WLOX) There are big plans in the works for NASA's Stennis Space Center, its employees and the community. (Photo source: WLOX)
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, MS (WLOX) -

There are big plans in the works for NASA's Stennis Space Center, its employees and the community. The Infinity Science Center is entering phase two of its development.

Thursday morning, community leaders from around the Gulf Coast gathered to hear how NASA plans to expand its mission and build more exhibits at the science center. They are projects that executive director John Wilson is thrilled about.

"About $1.9 million will go into a full dome digital theater. This room will be filled with Earth gallery exhibits. Then there's many outdoor elements, including sprucing up the front yard," Wilson said.

The news conference not only provided an update on future facility projects, but discussed a project that will eventually reach Mars.

"What we're doing now is building the rockets that replace the space shuttle, and we're getting out of taking cargo and crew to lower Earth orbit and giving it to the commercial companies so we can develop the technologies on the budgets we have to go beyond lower Earth orbit, like we did in the Apollo days," Stennis Space Center Director Dr. Rick Gilbrech said.

Wilson said the mission is simple: Inspire the next generation of explorers, and build the literacy of science among communities so people can understand the pursuit and importance of science.

"This is why we exist. To help tell the story of the incredible workforce that's right up there and tell it in a way that inspires a young person sitting there to say, 'I want to do that, too,'" Wilson said.

Gilbrech said the budget has to be balanced to get this accomplished, and so it's right on track.

"We're up to $18.5 billion for the president's budget submit for 2016, so we're just trying to execute the plan, and as I said, have the constancy and purpose where we can commit, follow through and deliver," Gilbrech said.

NASA is developing a plan that will give it the ability to send humans to an asteroid by 2015 and to Mars sometime in the 2030s.

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