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Horizon Goal

Horizon Goal: A new reporting series on NASA’s Journey to Mars

NASA’s "horizon goal"—a term popularized by the National Research Council in 2014—is Mars. The space agency is building a giant rocket called the Space Launch System and a crew capsule called Orion to take humans there in the 2030s.

NASA serves at the behest of the government’s executive branch, with oversight by Congress. With the country on the brink of its first presidential transition in eight years, what is the status of the world’s largest human spaceflight program? How did the current plan come to be, and where will it go from here?

We’re going to find out. The Planetary Society, the world’s largest non-profit space advocacy group, is embarking on a multi-part reporting series with the Huffington Post that will explore these and other topics.

Series Articles

Horizon Goal: A new reporting series on NASA’s Journey to Mars

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/18 07:03 CDT | 1 comment

We're embarking on a multi-part series with the Huffington Post about the world's largest human spaceflight program. In part 1, we look at how the Columbia accident prompted NASA and the George W. Bush administration to create a new vision for space exploration.

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‘Apollo on steroids’: The rise and fall of NASA’s Constellation moon program

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/08/01 07:53 CDT | 18 comments

In part 2 of our series on the evolution of NASA's Journey to Mars, Michael Griffin gives the Constellation moon program a new look in an attempt to shorten America's International Space Station access gap after the space shuttles retire. But by 2009, the program is behind schedule and over budget.

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Space in transition: How Obama's White House charted a new course for NASA

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/08/22 06:04 CDT | 7 comments

Our Horizon Goal series on NASA's human spaceflight program continues with part 3, in which newly elected President Barack Obama and his transition team search for a NASA administrator, commission a review of the Constellation program and decide whether to extend the life of the ISS.

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Join The Planetary Society on social media for an epic #RocketRoadTrip

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/02 06:02 CDT

From September 6-16, The Planetary Society is visiting four NASA centers focused predominantly on the agency’s Journey to Mars program. Follow us on social media with the hashtag #RocketRoadTrip.

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Promise, Transition, and Transformation

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/09/19 07:22 CDT | 4 comments

After 10 days, four NASA centers, two contractors, and hundreds of miles, Casey Dreier shares his initial reflections on the state of NASA's Space Launch System rocket and its future.

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Five things we learned from our #RocketRoadTrip

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/21 06:02 CDT | 3 comments

We're back from our #RocketRoadTrip through four states with NASA field centers involved in the agency's Journey to Mars program. We'll be sorting through our material for quite some time, but meanwhile, here are five key things we learned.

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To Mars, with a monster rocket: How politicians and engineers created NASA's Space Launch System

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/03 06:00 CDT | 10 comments

NASA is building a giant rocket called the Space Launch System to send humans to Mars. In part 4 of our Horizon Goal series, we recap the messy tangle of politics and engineering that led to the vehicle's creation in 2011.

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