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As 2008 presidential campaign shifts into high gear this week with the Iowa caucuses, those interested in space policy struggle to find out what the major candidates think about NASA and other space topics. Jeff Foust reviews what these candidates have said—or not said—about space during the campaign so far.
Operationally Responsive Space has attracted considerable attention in military space circles in the last few years, although with less progress to date than its advocates might have hoped. Dwayne Day examines the history and future prospects of ORS.
Earlier this month NASA selected a new lunar mission that uses a pair of spacecraft based on the recent XSS-11 technology demonstration mission. Taylor Dinerman argues that this presents an opportunity for military and civil space leaders alike to utilize this spacecraft as a common bus for a wide range of other missions.
Space advocates have been fighting an uphill battle for years to increase NASA’s share of the federal budget and have more influence in Washington overall. Kathleen Connell describes how several new developments could make NASA and space policy more relevant and influential.
The latest round of NASA’s COTS competition has attracted not just entrepreneurial companies but established space companies as well. Andrew Turner and Gerrit van Ommering of Space Systems/Loral describe their COTS proposal and how it could be used for other space markets.
Like the ventures they intend to host, new spaceports have developed more slowly than once anticipated, but that has not stopped others from proposing new spaceports of their own. Jeff Foust reports on efforts in New Mexico and elsewhere to press ahead with their spaceport plans.
Just when you thought the Face on Mars proponents had faded away, they’re back with more evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations and terrestrial conspiracies. Dwayne Day examines the evidence (or lack thereof) and how such conspiracy theories compare with the study of history.
Can any one book claim to provide the definitive history of the Space Age? How about two? Jeff Foust reviews a two-volume work that claims to offer a detailed history of spaceflight from its origins to the present day and beyond.
In a recent presidential debate one candidate essentially took a pass on a question regarding human missions to Mars. Daniel Handlin examines why politicians can take such an attitude to space exploration and what can be done to change that.
Despite its previously-stated objections, Great Britain went ahead with its fellow EU members and approved the new funding plan for Galileo. Taylor Dinerman argues that this sets the stage for a battle of political loyalties in the UK between the US and the EU.
Launch vehicles under development today do not promise the radical reductions in launching payloads to orbit that may be needed to open up new markets. Eric Hedman suggests that what’s needed is some creative thinking about how to effectively apply existing and new launch technologies.
While the public’s attention during the Apollo program and beyond has been on the astronauts who flew to the Moon, many thousands more worked out of the limelight to make those missions possible. Jeff Foust reviews a book that profiles a handful of those people.
A key obstacle to space-based solar power is the low-cost access to space needed to make any such project economically feasible. Mike Snead argues that the basic technology needed for such “aerospaceplanes” exists today.
For all the criticism of their missteps, the CIA did a good job of analyzing the Soviet space program during the Cold War. Dwayne Day examines one historical document that provides an overview of how the agency viewed the Soviet space efforts a decade after the launch of Sputnik.
Some recent reports have suggested that China and India are looking for ways to cooperate with the US and other nations in human spaceflight, including the ISS. Eric Hedman explores the ways such cooperation, despite various political pitfalls, could be beneficial for all involved.
When Robert Goddard proposed some of his rocketry concepts, he was derided by many of his fellow Americans. Taylor Dinerman writes how this reaction was typical of an era when many Americans deemed their own art and science inferior to Europe.
Congress is considering an appropriations bill for NASA that, in one form, includes a prohibition on work related to the human exploration of Mars. Michael Huang suggests some ways around that measure should it become law.
The concept of “space art” to many is limited to illustrations of distant planets and galaxies. Jeff Foust reviews an exhibition of alternative space art that goes in very different—if not bizarre—directions.
In the 1960s there were hidden tensions between NASA and the US intelligence community, which both operated in space but with radically different levels of openness. Dwayne Day examines how those tensions played out when NASA drafted a contingency mission plan for its last Apollo lunar mission.
The latest shuttle mission and more recent work on the ISS have cleared the way for the launch of two key laboratory modules from Europe and Japan. Taylor Dinerman contends that now is the time to examine the long-term future of the station in order to maximize its value for all the partners.
Norman Mailer, the legendary author who passed away earlier this month, wrote on a wide range of topics, including the Apollo 11 mission. Elizabeth Howell looks back at Mailer’s book on the mission and how his feelings of boredom during this historic mission reflect on NASA and human spaceflight in general.
The last several years has seen a surge in new space ventures, but most have found difficulty in attracting funding beyond individual “angel” investors. Rocky Persaud argues that what the industry needs is an incubator-like entity to help these new ventures mature.
It is hard to find anyone more influential—or more polarizing—in the history of spaceflight than Wernher von Braun. Jeff Foust reviews a new book that promises an authoritative biography of the legendary rocket engineer.
The challenge for NASA is determining the value it provides to its stakeholders and communicating those values to them. In the conclusion of her two-part article, Mary Lynne Dittmar examines what NASA can do to actively reshape itself to improve the value it offers.
RLVs need a large market to be economically viable, while space-based solar power needs low launch costs for its own economic viability. Taylor Dinerman examines how to bridge the gap to enable both RLVs and space solar power.
In early 2002 a former NASA official and a pop star both tried to be the next space tourist; both failed. Jeff Foust recounts their sagas based on insights from recent conferences and a new book.
What can a Western teach us about space property rights? According to Jonathan Card, it’s a reminder that there’s a need for the rule of law on any frontier.
The relative success, to date, of the Vision for Space Exploration stands in contrast to the failure of the Space Exploration Initiative. Jeff Foust reviews a book that recounts the history of SEI and the lessons to be learned from its failure.
It has become fashionable of late to critique and criticize NASA’s communications efforts, especially given the belief by many that NASA has not done a good enough job communicating the importance of space exploration to the general public. In the first of a two-part report, Mary Lynne Dittmar argues that such criticism is focused too much on tactics rather than broader strategic concerns.
Recent and upcoming lunar missions, and even announcements of proposed missions, have given the impression to some that there is some kind of new race to the Moon developing. Dwayne Day find the flaws the various explanations given for why these missions are all taking place now.
Some space advocates have been pressing Congress to drop language in the House version of the NASA budget that would prohibit spending on any project exclusively intended to support human Mars exploration. Chris Carberry explains why what appears to be a minor provision in the overall bill is so critical.
As the only presidential candidate of either party to release a detailed science policy, Hillary Clinton’s approach to space policy has come under scrutiny. Taylor Dinerman examines what Clinton said—and did not say—and its implications for the agency and its exploration plans.
As a new generation of space exploration ramps up, there is a renewed interest in that original generation of space explorers. Ron Wells reviews the lesser-known of two new documentaries about the Apollo astronauts and examines what sets it apart in its examination of the only people to have walked on another world.
Was a CIA official really responsible for formulating the “freedom of space” concept? Dwayne Day revisits a recent article and finds new twists in the historical record.
While its orbital vehicle program suffered a setback with the loss of its NASA COTS agreement, Rocketplane recently revealed a new design for its XP suborbital spaceplane. Jeff Foust reports on what’s different about the new design, and why.
Why did Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton release a space policy proposal more than a year before the general election? Eric Hedman argues that NASA and its contributions to the nation will play a bigger role in the upcoming election than they have in the past.
One key facet of Hillary Clinton’s space policy is a renewed focus on Earth science. Taylor Dinerman warns that this approach faces challenges, both in procurement as well as in the sensitive area of climate change.
It’s been over a month since the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, but there are still plenty of new books out there about the early history of the Space Age. Jeff Foust reviews one book that offers a good, but not necessarily earthshattering, review of the Space Race.
Armadillo Aerospace came within seconds of winning part of the Lunar Lander Challenge at the X Prize Cup this weekend, but like last year failed to come away with any prize money. Jeff Foust recaps the trials and tribulations the team encountered during the two-day event in New Mexico.
The first satellites launched 50 years ago helped establish the concept of “freedom of space” that allowed spacecraft to orbit over the territory of other nations. Dwayne Day reviews newly-available documents that helps identify the origin of the concept within the US government.
Last week featured the first meeting in orbit between a female shuttle commander and female station commander. James Oberg looks at this historic moment and examines how it came about much differently than some other female firsts in space.
A recent conference that examined the first 50 years of the Space Age attracted a wide range of perspectives from the humanities. Taylor Dinerman writes that, while some of these academic views may not sit well with space advocates, they can help supporters sharpen their arguments.
Early aviation benefited from a private foundation that endowed research programs that improved the state of the art of key technologies. Pat Bahn makes the case for creating a similar fund to support the emerging commercial suborbital spaceflight industry.
A new study has concluded that space solar power is feasible, but leaves unanswered who should proceed and how. Taylor Dinerman argues that China, with its voracious appetite for energy, can play a role as both a customer and co-developer.
Projecting the future of space utilization, including the weaponization of space, is fraught with peril. Nader Elhefnawy looks back at one particularly alarmist prediction and what it means for current concerns about military activities in space.
Space missions have traditionally had to rely on the Earth for all of their supplies, an approach that is not scalable to long-term exploration. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines alternative technologies that could allow future explorers to loosen their ties to Earth.
Despite criticism from some quarters, the Outer Space Treaty has worked well for the four decades of its existence. However, Jessica West warns, the treaty faces new challenges as the users of space and their technologies change.
Japanese animation has provided viewers with another glimpse of what humanity’s future in space might be like with a series called Freedom. Dwayne Day take a look at the series, and the aggravations those in the US face just to try and watch it.
Yousaf Butt responds to a recent piece on space weaponization, arguing that offensive space weapons do little to protect that country’s space assets from attack.
The Strategic Defense Initiative, with its plans to deploy space-based weapons to destroy enemy missiles, remains controversial long after the program, and the Soviet Union, faded away. Taylor Dinerman reviews a book that offers an evenhanded history of SDI.
In recent years the inflation model of the Big Bang has emerged as the best explanation of the origin of the universe, but it is hardly the only one. Jeff Foust reviews a book by two prominent cosmologists who propose an alternative model to explain the Big Bang.
Proponents of human space exploration often struggle to develop compelling rationales for such missions. Frank Stratford explains how the best reason for human spaceflight may be to unlock the vast untapped potential of humanity.
Some media accounts credit—or blame—the United States for perceived plans to put weapons in space. Jim Oberg uses a recent article as the latest evidence that space weaponization efforts by the former Soviet Union are often overlooked.
So just how heavy is the regulatory burden for commercial launch companies? Joe Latrell takes issue with a recent article that suggested that such companies have few regulatory issues to deal with.
As European officials try to develop a new financing package for the Galileo satellite navigation system, the debate continues over the true purpose of the project. Taylor Dinerman argues that political visions are blinding some European officials to more practical alternatives.
The 50th anniversary of Sputnik has provided a major opportunity for publishers to release books about the historical event. Jeff Foust reviews one book that looks at the origins of the Space Age with a more geopolitical focus.
The 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik is a natural occasion to take measure of what we have—and have not—accomplished in space. Jeff Foust describes how this is a more appropriate time to start looking ahead.
The launch of Sputnik was the first time a rocket had deliberately flown a trajectory intended to place something in orbit. Jim Oberg describes how, to the people witnessing the launch, that flight actually looked frightening.
Sputnik opened up a whole new environment for the military to exploit, but one that has been used to support combat rather than as a battlefield itself. Dwayne Day explains why the slowing pace of military space developments makes it unlikely we’ll see revolutionary changes in the military’s use of space over the next half-century.
Sputnik was one of the most famous products of one of the worst totaltarian regimes to exist in human history. Taylor Dinerman examines why the Soviet Union, like Nazi Germany before it, was drawn to rocketry.
Journeys to the Moon were on the minds of aerospace experts and the public alike in the years prior to the launch of Sputnik. Ken Murphy reviews two 1950s-era books that took very different approaches to how humans might go to the Moon.
Spaceflight is an expensive, high-tech endeavor that suffers from too much government regulation, right? A lot of people might agree with that sentiment, but Wayne Eleazer busts some enduring myths.
Galileo has gone from the one serious competitor to the American GPS satellite navigation system to one battling for its survival. Timothy Barnes reviews the history of the European program and problems it has encountered along the way.
As the Outer Space Treaty turns 40, some people have criticized it as a relic from the Cold War. Taylor Dinerman explains how the treaty, like other international accords, don’t reflect the state of space today.
A former Titan missile complex in Washington state is up for sale on eBay, prompting some creative thinking about how it could be put to use. Dwayne Day describes his preliminary plans for world domination.
Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik and the beginning of the Space Age, and a number of books have been recently published on the topic. Jeff Foust reviews one book that looks at how people both famous and obscure played a role in the first year of a new era.
Since the beginning of the Space Age advocates of spaceflight have sought to justify the billions spent on government space programs on economic grounds. Jeff Foust reports on recent comments by NASA administrator Mike Griffin on the “Space Economy” and the need for more partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Robert A. Heinlein had a significant impact on science fiction and spaceflight, but his legacy in translating his works to the big and small screen is mixed at best. Dwayne Day examines that record and why such adaptations have been so difficult.
It’s been 40 years since the signing of the Outer Space Treaty, one of the cornerstones of international space law. John Hickman describes how the treaty has hindered, not supported, the development and settlement of space, and why it may now be time to scrap it.
Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, has operated under a shroud of secrecy. Taylor Dinerman argues that it would do the company, and the industry, some good to be a little more open.
As luck would have it, a documentary film about the Apollo Moon landings shares a title with a new book on the same topic. Jeff Foust reviews the two and finds that despite the different media, the two have much more in common than their titles.
Last week Google and the X Prize Foundation rolled out a prize for a privately-developed lunar rover. Jeff Foust reports on the announcement and analyses the challenges any competitors will face in trying to win the prize.
A selection of images from the Google Lunar X Prize announcement and other events at the Wired NextFest event last Thursday in Los Angeles.
After years of delays and threats of cancellation, the International Space Station is finally entering the home stretch of its assembly phase. Taylor Dinerman reviews the challenges the station program has faced, both technical and programmatic.
When a European company rolled out its entry into the suborbital space tourism sweepstakes, it was dismissive of entrepreneurial, largely American ventures. Bob Clarebrough argues that European companies could learn a lesson or two from American garage tinkerers.
JPL is recruiting a new class of “ambassadors” designed to educate the public about space exploration. Tom Hill describes the program and explains why you should sign up.
The Vision for Space Exploration has been mired in debates and suffered from lukewarm support in the last couple of years, raising questions about its long-term viability. Frank Sietzen explains what NASA needs to do to restore interest in and momentum for its exploration plans.
Last week’s Congressional hearing on astronaut health care reviews did little to resolve the controversy surrounding allegations of intoxicated astronauts. Taylor Dinerman argues that it’s time for NASA to put the controversy behind it and acknowledge that no one, not even astronauts, are perfect.
The Man Who Sold the Moon and its central character, D.D. Harriman, have been role models to many space entrepreneurs. However, as Jeff Foust reports, Harriman is not the only Heinlein character who has inspired real-life commercial space pioneers.
In 1982 NASA declared the space shuttle operational and removed the ejection seats that served as an escape system on the shuttle’s first four flights. Paul Torrance critiques that decision-making process, made by Apollo-era management, and argues for an enhanced focus on safety in future manned spacecraft.
There are other ways to communicate space history than just the standard nonfiction book or biography. Jeff Foust reviews a book that uses the graphic novel format to tell the story of the first living creature to orbit the Earth.
When asked to define the importance of space power, some people fall back on banalities like ATM and credit card transactions. John Sheldon argues for rethinking the importance of space power in terms of economics, diplomacy, and military strength.
Space advocates have long desired strong presidential leadership for the nation’s space program. Mike Snead sees the upcoming change in administrations as the best opportunity to push for presidential leadership in revamping the nation’s space transportation infrastructure.
Did an Indian tribe really put a curse on a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base? Dwayne Day examines what we know—and, more importantly, what we don’t know—about those claims.
NASA’s focus on implementing the Vision for Space Exploration has strained the agency’s resources and forced it to make cutbacks in other programs. Donald Beattie warns than such cuts could actually hurt NASA’s ability to properly manage and carry out the Vision in the years to come.
The upcoming 50th anniversary of Sputnik has triggered a series of new books that examines the history of the Space Age. Jeff Foust reviews one account from the only reporter to have covered every manned US launch to date.
Scaled Composites and its founder, Burt Rutan, have had to grapple with tragedy and other changes in the last month. Jeff Foust reports on what Rutan had to say about last month’s fatal accident and his continued focus on developing low-cost and safe space systems.
Since the beginning of the Space Age, space programs have been adjuncts of national policy rather than self-sustaining ventures in their own right. Nader Elhefnawy discusses how a shift to space resource exploitation could alter that formula, depending on national and international politics.
Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the first successful flight of the Soviet R-7 ICBM. Taylor Dinerman ruminates on the roles ICBMs have had on a half-century of spaceflight.
The success of the X Prize has spurred a number of similar efforts to use prizes to advance space goals. Paul de Brem examines one of the latest, a prize to promote the development of point-to-point suborbital vehicles.
Trying to understand cosmology means grappling with many counterintuitive concepts, from the expansion of the universe to dark energy. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a primer on the topic for those who know little about the subject but are willing to learn.
California is known for many things, but one area where its contributions are less well known is aerospace. Dwayne Day reviews a recent historical symposium that examined the impact Southern California’s aerospace industry had on both the region and the nation as a whole.
Small satellites have recently found new acceptance as a complement to larger spacecraft. Jeff Foust reports on a couple of new initiatives that use clusters of smallsats to replace big satellites.
Arianespace has achieved considerable success in the commercial launch market in recent years. Taylor Dinerman credits this success as much to its sales and marketing as to the company’s launch vehicles themselves.
Little nuances of grammar can have a big effect on interpretation. Dwayne Day responds to a recent essay on China’s space plans with a critique of how the use of punctuation affected the article’s tone in a negative way.
Michael Huang replies to a recent response to his essay on how space advocacy groups should cooperate with one another on common goals.
While President Bush unveiled the Vision for Space Exploration three and a half years ago, some believe it has suffered to some degree from a lack of high-level attention since then. Frank Sietzen explains why the creation of a broad political consensus, necessary for the Vision to survive, required educating the public on the benefits of space activities.
Just after the Space Age began the Eisenhower administration published a document outlining why the US should go into space. Taylor Dinerman examines the document and finds its reasons are still at the core of US space policy today.
Space solar power has been an intriguing concept for decades, but one that has failed to gain traction because of its high costs and cheaper terrestrial alternatives for energy. Jeff Foust reports that, thanks to a series of event and a new champion for the concept within the US government, space solar power is getting a new look.
Many people in the West have tried to speculate about China’s military space plans in the wake of its ASAT test early this year. Christopher Stone argues that there’s enough information publicly available today to draw conclusions that should be a cause for concern in the US.
Louis Friedman of The Planetary Society responds to a recent essay about space advocacy groups, arguing that it’s unwise to pigeonhole his or other groups as being simply “pro-science” or “pro-human”.
Just who are the people at the leading edge of the entrepreneurial space movement, and what motivates them? Jeff Foust reviews a new book that takes the reader on a tour of some of the leading NewSpace companies and people to help answer those questions.
A recent article suggests that humanity has less than a half-century to establish a permanent presence beyond Earth. Nader Elhefnawy argues that a truly self-sufficient space colony will require revisiting the industrial technologies and techniques in common use today.
Not every idea in the space field is grand enough to be worthy of its own full-length article. Dwayne Day combines several of these, including updates on past reports on Russia and famous helicopters, into a single report.
Last month’s accident at Scaled Composites will have an effect on the entrepreneurial space industry, although how significant remains to be seen. Taylor Dinerman examines the evolution of this industry and the need for openness by some of its participants.
Recent problems have illustrated both the technical challenges facing NASA projects as well as the agency’s public perception. Eric Hedman discusses why this makes NASA’s new strategic communications efforts all the more important.
Wernher von Braun had the rare combination of technical expertise and the ability to communicate effectively with the public at large. Jeff Foust reviews a book that compiles a number of von Braun’s speeches over the years where he described his visions of spaceflight.
Last week’s tragic accident in Mojave provided a stark reminder of the risks inherent in spaceflight. Jeff Foust describes what the industry is doing to prepare for the day when a space tourist vehicle crashes.
Tim Pickens recalls the life of Glen May, one of the three people killed in the explosion Thursday in Mojave.
Launching people into space using guns was popularized nearly 150 years ago by Jules Verne, but has to date remained in the realm of science fiction. Bart Leahy reports on one venture’s effort to develop a gun launch system that could put payloads into orbit for a fraction of the cost of conventional rockets.
Space technology and services can do wonders for developing nations, but they can also be used to destabilize vulnerable parts of the world, especially in Africa. Taylor Dinerman describes the problem and what companies and governments need to do to resolve it.
The space advocacy movement has been best for years by internecine debates regarding the roles of humans versus robots and the government versus the private sector. Michael Huang argues it’s time to set those debates aside in favor of the greater good.
With the 2008 presidential campaign already in high gear, many in the space community are wondering what the next president will do with NASA. Jeff Foust reports on a recent panel session where a group of policy experts pondered both the current administration’s performance in space and what the future may bring.
Recent proposals for space elevators have been based on ribbons made of carbon nanotube materials that don’t yet exist. Sam Dinkin explores an alternative using existing synthetic diamonds that could be technically and financially viable.
Where there’s no evidence that the US government is willing to take another shot at a large-scale RLV development program, there have been smaller but encouraging signs in both the military and civil space sectors. Taylor Dinerman examines how those efforts can help bolster the overall RLV industry.
Dwayne Day responds to a recent article about the Space Radar program, noting that sufficient power is among the least of that program’s many concerns.
A nation’s space program can be seen as part of the “soft power” it projects across the globe. Eve Lichtgarn reviews a book that examines that connection and its implications for space policy in the US.
While NASA’s current exploration plans are focused on a return to the Moon and later human missions to Mars, are those the only—or best—destinations for astronauts in the inner solar system? Dan Lester and Giulio Varsi argue that in-space destinations, like the Lagrange points, have benefits that may far exceed those of planetary surfaces.
One of the keynote speakers at the recent Heinlein Centennial symposium was NASA administrator Mike Griffin. The Space Review provides highlights of his talk as well as a complete transcript of his speech.
One of the key obstacles to the development of a space radar system is the large power requirements for such spacecraft. Taylor Dinerman suggests that one solution could be through the use of solar power satellites, in the process providing a near-term market for such systems.
Greenhouse gas policy is a mere warmup to the environmental policy challenge of the millennium: waste heat. Sam Dinkin looks ahead and up to tackle this challenge.
Thanks to a variety of technological advancements, astronomical telescopes are getting bigger and more powerful with each passing year. Jeff Foust reviews a book that delves into the history and technology associated with telescopes and their prospects for the future.
China’s test of an ASAT weapon earlier this year raised concerns about that nation’s future military space plans. Nader Elhefnawy argues that the test may not have been a demonstration of China’s capabilities so much as an effort to hide its weakness compared to the United States.
One of the lesser-known movies associated with Robert A. Heinlein is Project Moonbase. Dwayne Day discusses the movie and the contradictory messages regarding gender equality it contains.
While there are plenty of suborbital space tourism vehicle concepts and projects underway, there’s very little experience regarding exactly what the spaceflight experience will be like for passengers. Jeff Foust reports on how one of the pilots of SpaceShipOne described what it was like to arc into space.
With the public-private partnership model for the Galileo satellite navigation system now dead, European governments are examining what path they should take to keep the effort alive. Taylor Dinerman examines a recent debate in the British Parliament about the future of Galileo.
Sometimes writers get considerable feedback from articles they least expect any letters about. Dwayne Day describes the surprising number of comments he received about a recent article about a helicopter with a space history connection, and the new information those responses provided.
Considerable thought has been given regarding how to look for evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations, but should be be looking for it at all? Kenneth Silber reviews a book that explores not just how SETI searches are performed, but also the societal implications of success.
This weekend marks the centennial of the birth of Robert Heinlein, a science fiction author whose works have served as an inspiration to many who have pursued careers in the space industry. Dwayne Day examines a memo written by Heinlein over 60 years ago that outlined his belief in the promise of rocketry and spaceflight.
Last month an unexpected player, European aerospace giant EADS, entered the race to develop suborbital space tourism vehicles. Taylor Dinerman assesses what this development means for both European aerospace and the space tourism industry.
In an effort to make the space agency more relevant to the general public, NASA has rolled out a new strategic communications plan. Jeff Foust examines the plan and the importance of raising NASA’s public profile.
Nothing makes a space advocate angrier than saying that money spent on NASA could instead be spent on solving social problems here on Earth. Jeff Brooks examines the fallacies of such claims and why NASA should get more, not less, money.
Most of the attention given to planetary exploration missions has been focused on the science such missions provide, and not on the spacecraft themselves. Jeff Foust reviews a new book that examines the technical issues associated with designing, developing, and launching robotic missions into the solar system.