The Ames Research Center (ARC), also known as NASA Ames, is a major NASA research center at Moffett Federal Airfield in California’s Silicon Valley. It was founded in 1939 as the second National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) laboratory.

Ames was founded to conduct wind-tunnel research on the aerodynamics of propeller-driven aircraft; however, its role has expanded to encompass spaceflight and information technology. Ames plays a role in many NASA missions. It provides leadership in astrobiology; small satellites; robotic lunar exploration; the search for habitable planets; supercomputing; intelligent/adaptive systems; advanced thermal protection; planetary science; and airborne astronomy. Ames also develops tools for a safer, more efficient national airspace. 

As the name suggests, the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex determines basic aerodynamic characteristics of full-scale and large-scale air vehicles and more. It comprises the two largest wind tunnels in the world, with test sections of 40 by 80 feet and 80 by 120 feet. Currently managed and operated by the U.S. Air Force, they provide vital wind testing for some of the nation’s most sophisticated commercial and military aircraft, spacecraft, wind turbines, trucks and even the huge parachutes used to safely land NASA rovers on Mars.

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