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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Is the Moon a Stepping Stone or a Cornerstone for Mars?

New legislation proposed in the House of Representatives would radically shift NASA's human spaceflight efforts away from the Moon and back to Mars.

Orion Completes Critical In-Flight Abort Test

The test showed Orion can blast itself away from the Space Launch System if the big rocket fails while attempting to fly to orbit.

A Crash Program or Modest Proposal?

The White House released a long-awaited supplemental budget request for NASA today. It proposes an additional $1.6 billion for an accelerated human spaceflight effort to land on the Moon in 2024. This boosts the President's budget request for NASA to $22.6 billion in fiscal year 2020, which is approximately $1.1 billion or 5% more than the amount provided by Congress last year.

What Can We Learn from a Failed Return to the Moon?

Thirty years ago, President George H.W. Bush announced an ambitious program to return humans to the Moon. It failed. Today the Trump Administration wants the same thing. Can a failed lunar return effort help this one succeed?

Hearing Recap: NASA’s FY 2020 Budget Request

On March 27, 2019, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies held a hearing titled, “NASA’s FY 2020 Budget Request.”

T-minus Five Years and Counting

Can NASA really return astronauts to the Moon by 2024?

What's Up in Solar System Exploration in 2018

Three launches to the Moon and one each to Mercury and Mars; two arrivals at near-Earth asteroids; and an approach to an encounter with a distant Kuiper belt object are highlights we anticipate in 2018.

NASA unveiled new plans for getting humans to Mars, and hardly anyone noticed

NASA revealed its most concrete plan yet for sending humans back into deep space, centered around a small lunar space station and a reusable transport ship to carry astronauts to Mars and back.

Let's talk about this whole Moon vs. Mars thing for human spaceflight

NASA's current human spaceflight goal is Mars, but the Trump administration could change that to the Moon. Is that a good idea? Here's an in-depth look at the differences in science gain, the arguments for and against a potential commercial market, and whether or not the technological and operational challenges required to reach the Moon apply to Mars.

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

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?

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

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.

An international outpost near the Moon gets closer to reality

International Space Station (ISS) project partners are inching ever closer toward an agreement to begin the development of a new human outpost in the vicinity of the Moon. If successful, the cis-lunar space station (a space station in the vicinity of the Moon) will be the largest international space project to date, influencing the direction of human space flight for decades to come.

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

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?

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

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.

SpaceX and the Blank Slate

SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars differ considerably from NASA's Journey to Mars ambitions. But direct comparison is difficult. SpaceX is able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a bold new approach to humans in space. NASA has no such luxury, and must use existing pieces and people to make their goals a reality.

Five things we learned from our #RocketRoadTrip

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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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