Space exploration doesn't just happen—it is made through the decisions of government, budgets, policy documents, and by individuals and industries. Space exploration is for all of us, but only by understanding the politics of space can we make it happen.
Lockheed, the prime contract on the now-defunct Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator program, is closing out the project and transferring its hardware to NASA's Glenn Research Center. NASA expects to save about $55 million per year.
Pat yourself on the back. Planetary exploration will be more vibrant in 2014 thanks to you. More than fifty thousand messages were sent to Congress this year, and they listened, adding back a significant amount of money in the 2014 Omnibus spending bill.
This episode highlights the other big idea in Cosmos: that we are profoundly connected with the universe around us. Our constituent parts are forged in the bellies of massive stars; we exist through their deaths.