NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, hosted more than 15,000 visitors under gray but rain-free skies on May 14 for a day of fun-filled activities, hands-on demonstrations, entertainment, and food. The 'Explore@NASA Goddard' event was the center’s first open house since 2008.

Goddard is a preeminent research center for Earth science and home to Hubble Space Telescope operations, as well as the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and dozens of other missions that study our planet, our solar system and the universe.

Visitors met with astronauts John Grunsfeld and Scott Altman, snapped photos of Darth Vader and other Star Wars characters, and took in live entertainment from The Chromatics, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and other groups.

Tours included stops at Goddard’s television studios, the Visitor Center for Science on a Sphere presentations, as well as Goddard’s clean room and other satellite testing and construction facilities.

We held Explore@NASA Goddard to show everyone all the impressive and important things NASA does, said Michelle Jones, of Goddard’s Office of Communications. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to do what we do on behalf of the American people, and we’re excited to invite the public to see how we are improving life on Earth.

Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

Take a glimpse of the Explore@NASA Goddard event: