This "Special Notice" is from NASA Headquarters.
Point of Contact: Glenn Mahone, Code P, 202-358-1898


In October 1492, a sailor on board the Pinta sighted land and a new era of European exploration began.

Four hundred years later, in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation urging Americans to mark the day. President Richard Nixon later declared Columbus Day a national holiday to be observed the second Monday of each October.

In the 15th Century, most people believed the world was flat. In August 1492, Christopher Columbus and 90 men on the flagship Santa Maria sought to prove otherwise. Two other ships, the Nina and the Pinta, came with him. Together, they all set sail west. Three long months went by. Columbus' men became tired and sick, and threatened to turn the ships back. But in the end, Columbus prevailed through encouragement and sheer determination.

While there's still controversy over whether or not Columbus was the first European to discover the New World of the Americas, no one can doubt his commitment to exploration and his ability to stay focused in the face of tremendous obstacles.

So as we approach this Columbus Day, this is an opportunity for each of you to think about why we explore. It's a risky business, but with great risk often comes great reward. Let's embrace the spirit of exploration and discovery embodied in Columbus and his brave crew. There are new worlds to explore and new knowledge to be gained. Working together, we can make it happen.

Please enjoy a safe holiday weekend.

Sean O'Keefe