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Horizon Goal

A Planetary Society series on NASA's Journey to Mars

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

Jason Davis • July 18, 2016 • 1

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.

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

Jason Davis • August 01, 2016 • 18

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.

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

Jason Davis • August 22, 2016 • 7

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.

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

Jason Davis • September 02, 2016

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.

Five things we learned from our #RocketRoadTrip

Jason Davis • September 21, 2016 • 3

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.

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

Jason Davis • October 03, 2016 • 10

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.

The flexible path to Mars: SLS, Orion and NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission

Jason Davis • November 02, 2016 • 6

Since 2011, a once-in-a-generation transformation has been sweeping through NASA's human spaceflight centers in preparation for the era of SLS and Orion. How have the programs fared, and what first steps is NASA taking as it prepares for the journey to Mars?

Rocket Road Trip: Watch a new video series on NASA's human spaceflight program

Jason Davis • November 28, 2016 • 1

The Planetary Society debuts a new, five-part video series on NASA's human spaceflight program. We went on a 10-day, 450-mile journey throughout the southern U.S. to see how the agency is preparing to send humans beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972.

Lunar orbit beckons: NASA’s next four years of human spaceflight

Jason Davis • December 14, 2016 • 10

Our six-part Horizon Goal series concludes with a look at the future of NASA's human spaceflight program. As NASA prepares to set up shop beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972, are changes coming for the agency's Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule?

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