Use our unique expertise to benefit the nation and planet Earth

JPL’s quest for excellence drives a wide array of technological advances, yielding practical applications that touch society far beyond the space program.

We have a long tradition of providing specialized help in the civil, commercial, and security sectors, working closely with partners outside NASA to tackle issues of national priority. In the near term, our efforts will be concentrated on the areas in which we have traditionally excelled — robotics, large infrared focal plane arrays, and cyber science and research. In the future, areas of special interest could include clean energy, smart grid research and engineering, advanced commercial GPS, lightweight adaptive optics, and the use of ground-penetrating radar for a variety of Earth-observing satellites.


The Earth Science and Applications Directorate studies components of the Earth system and their coupling to better understand how the Earth responds to natural and human-induced changes; how these complex dynamic systems interact to influence our environment and Earth’s climate; and how to use this improved knowledge to better predict and respond to natural hazards and other extreme conditions involving weather, water, and climate.

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The Astronomy and Physics Directorate studies the Universe and our place in it by investigating the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the Universe, and studying the diversity of planets outside of our Solar System (exoplanets) with the ultimate goal of finding an exoplanet with evidence of life.

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The Interplanetary Network Directorate (IND) is JPL’s programmatic focal point for deep space communications, navigation, and mission operations, and performs world-class Solar System science and astrophysics. The IND is responsible for the design, development, operation, and services for three of NASA’s key mission-enabling systems: the Deep Space Network (DSN), the Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System (AMMOS), and the Planetary Data System (PDS) support nodes.

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JPL has a robust set of collaborations with government agency and private-sector sponsors to address national challenges and catalyze economic growth. The goals of these sponsored collaborations align with NASA’s Strategic Plan and ensure a positive impact on NASA projects.


JPL realizes that many of its technologies and capabilities that are critical to exploring space can also be made available to solve challenging problems on Earth, thus providing a benefit to our nation and society at large. One of those areas is national security. JPL’s goal is to remain a trusted partner for the U.S. national security community. The National Security Program Office (NSPO) at JPL is the programmatic focal point for applying JPL’s capabilities in space exploration, space utilization, and space communications to areas of national interest for all classified work that requires clearance access, and has a classified deliverable for an intelligence community agency sponsor.