The NASA Ames Research Center is one of NASA's ten field installations. Located at Moffett Field,
near Sunnyvale and Mountain View, the center was founded on December 20, 1939, as an aircraft
research laboratory for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and in 1958 it
became part of the then-new National Aeronautics and Space Administration. At last estimate NASA
Ames has over US$3.0 billion in capital equipment, 2,300 research personnel and a US$860 million
Today, Ames still plays an
important role in aeronautics research, but it also conducts scientific and engineering research in
support of a broad range of NASA missions. It is NASA's lead center for supercomputing, and also
conducts research and technology development in intelligent systems and robotics, fundamental space
biology (also called astrobiology), nanotechnology, thermal protection systems (such as the
protective tiles on the space shuttle), and human factors research.
The site is mission center for several current missions including Kepler, the Lunar Crater Observation
and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission, and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA),
and is a participant in the Orion crew exploration vehicle.