Planetary exploration is one of the three core enterprises of The Planetary Society, incorporating both human and robotic efforts. This deep prep lesson includes highlights from two reports released by the National Academies to provide guidance to policymakers, as well as The Planetary Society's own principles for human spaceflight. Working through this deep prep will increase the reader's expertise with recent political considerations driving planetary exploration policy in the United States.
Summary chapter from Visions into Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013 - 2022: A Midterm Review. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018.
Summary chapter from Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. National Research Council. 2014.
Goals for the reader
To understand the context, motivations, and major initiatives within NASA's human and robotic planetary exploration efforts
To reflect upon the major budgetary and political challenges for sending humans into deep space and to Mars
To integrate this knowledge with The Planetary Society's official stance on near-term human spaceflight goals
To have a basic grasp of the current state of NASA's human lunar exploration effort