Soho Cats Stereo: A Quick Look at NASA's Cleverest Acronyms

By Attila Nagy on at

The rocket in the image above will be launched by NASA on the 4th of December, and according to the space agency it will "be MUSIC to the ears of aspiring and early career engineers testing new space technology on a suborbital vehicle”.

MUSIC? That clever bringing together of initials stands for Multiple User Suborbital Instrument Carrier (MUSIC) and is just the latest play on words in a long line of excellent abbreviations. Here is a selection of the best. (Click on the headings to learn more about each project)

ARTEMIS

Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


BARREL

Balloon Array for Radiation belt Relativistic Electron Losses

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


CALIPSO

Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation satellite

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


CATS

Cloud-Aerosol Transport System

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


FUSE

Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


GRAIL

Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


IMAGE

Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


IRIS

Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


MESSENGER

Mercury, Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


OSIRIS-REX

Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


SOFIA

Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


SOHO

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


STEREO

Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


TRACE

Transition Region and Coronal Explorer

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


TWINS

Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


WISE

Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

The Only Thing NASA Is Better At Than Space Exploration: Making Up Acronyms


All images by NASA