Both air and space technologies from NASA are helping to study and understand climate change – and the agency is actively taking steps to transition those tools into the hands of people who can make a difference.

This fact was highlighted by NASA’s leaders during a visit to the agency’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on Oct. 12, 2021. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy toured the unique facilities at Ames for the first time, along with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo who also joined a portion of the tour.

They met with researchers whose work transforming air traffic management is helping make aviation more sustainable. The Airspace Technology Demonstration 2, or ATD-2, project has already made it possible to reduce jet fuel emissions and save travelers time, among other concrete benefits.

Other new NASA technologies presented could enhance efforts to fight wildfires. The Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations, or STEReO, project is creating a system for coordinating the many parts of a complex response operation, including uncrewed and piloted aircraft, to make it faster, safer, and more targeted.

On the tour, Nelson and Melroy also learned about Ames’ expertise in Earth sciences and, specifically, using sensors aboard aircraft and satellites to monitor the risk for wildfires, predict their course, and respond to their impacts.

The center’s contributions to the Artemis program were featured as well. At the arc jet facility, very hot gases move at high speeds over test materials to approximate the heating a spacecraft experiences when entering the atmosphere. When NASA sends humans to explore the Moon, the work of Ames researchers will help ensure the crew capsule’s heat shield protects them – and bring them home safely.

Space biology was also on the docket during the visit to Ames. Nelson and Melroy toured state-of-the-art laboratory spaces and met with team members of GeneLab, NASA’s open repository for space biology data from the human, animal, and plant biology experiments conducted on the International Space Station. Scientists and students can use this priceless data to study how living things are affected by spaceflight and speed up basic science discoveries that can help improve health in space and on Earth.