In honor of NASA’s successful landing of Perseverance on Mars this week, we’re highlighting NASA’s Agency Honor Awards.
According to NASA’s website, the Agency Honor Awards are “NASA’s most prestigious honor awards.” The awards are highly notable and approved by NASA’s Administrator “...and presented to a number of carefully selected individuals and groups of individuals, both Government and non-Government, who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the Agency’s mission.”
As NASA Deputy Administrator James Morhard described of the 2020 awards, “The honor awards are an opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation to NASA employees who have helped our agency achieve great things this year. While this year has been especially challenging, requiring many changes in both our personal and professional lives, we continued to do the impossible and inspire the world. The achievements and contributions of today’s honorees have demonstrated a level of excellence that made a profound impact on NASA mission success. Without your hard work and persistence, none of this year’s enormous wins would have been possible.”
Nominations occur annually and go before the Center Review Boards before being forwarded to The Chair of the Incentive Awards Board (IAB). Recipients are awarded NASA medals and/or certificates “by the Agency’s highest officials at the annual awards ceremonies held at each NASA Center.” NASA states that their highest honors are the Distinguished Service Medal and Distinguished Public Service Medal, both of which require recipients to have demonstrated “a level of excellence that has made a profound and indelible impact on NASA mission success, and therefore, the contribution is so extraordinary that other forms of recognition by NASA would be inadequate.”
While not an academic honor society, we felt the NASA Agency Honor Awards provide students a great example of recognition beyond graduation day after launching their careers. Congratulations to the many people at NASA responsible for the successful landing of Perseverance!