The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engages the United States' science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA's partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space.

The Science Mission Directorate also sponsors research that both enables, and is enabled by, NASA's exploration activities. The SMD portfolio is contributing to NASA's achievement of the Vision for Space Exploration by striving to:


Nicola Fox is the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate beginning February 27, 2023.[1] Recent Associate Administrators for the SMD include Edward J. Weiler (1998–2004, 2008–2011), Mary L. Cleave (2004–2005), Alan Stern (2007–2008), John M. Grunsfeld (2012–2016), and Thomas Zurbuchen (2016-2022). Stern resigned 25 March 2008, to be effective 11 April, over disagreements with Administrator Michael D. Griffin.[2]


  1. ^ NASA names solar physicist as agency's science chief
  2. ^ Andrew Lawler, "NASA's Stern Quits Over Mars Exploration Plans" (subscription required), Science 320, 31 (4 April 2008). Retrieved on 3 April 2008.