Initially established in 1956, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory is operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI). NRAO provides state-of-the-art radio telescope facilities for use by the international scientific community, open to all astronomers regardless of institutional or national affiliation. NRAO also provides both formal and informal programs in education and public outreach for teachers, students, the general public, and the media. Their instruments include the Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico and the North American component of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile.
With its latest renewal, NRAO’s mandate is to improve not only the accessibility of its scientific instruments, but also the accessibility of its multi-petabytes of archived observational data for re-processing and re-use beyond the initial intent and audience. NRAO’s revised mission seeks to extend beyond the traditional radio astronomy community into the fields of general scientific endeavor looking at complex molecules in space, real-time events, and the explanation of origins of life, planets, solar systems, galaxies, and the universe.