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.
The partial government shutdown that shuttered NASA continues with no end in sight. The U.S. space program sits idle, the vast majority of its workforce sent home. Space science and exploration projects are disrupted. Paychecks are absent. And an unsettling realization has dawned on hundreds of thousands of public employees and contractors affected by the shutdown: this time is different.
A partial government shutdown has shuttered NASA's operations for at least a week. Critical programs like the International Space Station will continue. This is the third shutdown of 2018 and another pointless disruption for the hardworking men and women at the U.S. space agency.
John Culberson, an 8-term Texas Republican and staunch supporter the search for life on Europa, lost his re-election bid last week. His support for Europa was attacked by opponents and could send a chilling political message about the consequences of supporting space science and exploration.
Space fans will enjoy the movie for its depictions of early spaceflight itself. But it avoids the richness and complexity of human experience, leaving behind awe and joy in favor of an emotional landscape as uninviting as the Moon.