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 President's Budget Request for NASA in 2020 would start a Mars Sample Return mission and ramp up efforts to send humans to the Moon. But it would still kick off the first year of a new decade with a half-billion dollar cut to the space agency.
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.