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.
In its 2016 budget request, the White House inexplicably proposed to end two active, scientifically productive planetary missions: the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
NASA announced the first-round selections for its next Discovery mission today. A total of five planetary mission concepts -- three targeted at asteroids, two at Venus -- will move to the next stage of the competition.
It’s August. Congress is out of session. Things are quiet. It’s as good a time as any to check in on several issues we’ve been following here at the Society, particularly with NASA’s budget prospects for the year and the future of human spaceflight policy.
Mars 2020, NASA’s next and yet-to-be-named Mars rover, will be the first mission to collect and prepare samples of the martian surface for return to Earth. The rover's engineering team has proposed a new sampling caching strategy that differs from previous concepts in some interesting ways.
New Horizons—what will be NASA’s greatest success of 2015—was cancelled multiple times in its early life, and many times before that in its previous incarnations. A mission to Pluto was not inevitable, despite the overwhelming scientific and public excitement.