ENHANCING SCIENCE EDUCATION THROUGH RESEARCH
To communicate knowledge, it first must be acquired. Given its broad mission, NASA asks scientists to categorize their research such that the knowledge generated enhance learning throughout society. Six categories of research are embodied in the NASA mission. In basic research, scientists seek knowledge only for the sake of knowledge. The Hubble telescope provides images that often raise more questions than they answer. Fundamental research seeks useful knowledge, such as characteristics of the ocean. Exploratory research attempts to identify perceived useful knowledge, an example being the acquisition imagery to identify mineral composition of rocky surfaces. Applied research pursues practical objectives, such as experiments in space sent directly into K-12 classrooms. Programmatic research seeks and provides knowledge for a mission such as what sensors are capable of detecting buried ice. Finally, industrial research attempts to achieve economic benefits, such as interpreting geologic structure to enhance mineral exploration. The nature of research influences the knowledge created and how it can enhance science education. In all instances, learning contributes to the refinement of the processes and procedures in subsequent research and thereby expands the research frontier. Science education is a primary NASA mission.