Five Moon-Landing Innovations That Changed Life on Earth

The technologies behind weather forecasting, GPS and even smartphones can trace their origins to the race to the Moon. Much of the technology common in daily life today originates from the drive to put a human being on the Moon. This effort reached its pinnacle when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle landing module onto[…]

Long before Armstrong and Aldrin, Artists Were Stoking Dreams of Space Travel

While the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing is an opportunity to celebrate a remarkable technological achievement, it’s worth reflecting upon the creative vision that made it possible. In the midst of the space race, Hereward Lester Cooke, the former co-director of the NASA Art Program, observed, “Space travel started in the imagination of the[…]

Women, Reproduction, and Patriarchal Views of Space Flight and Colonization in 1960s America

Early space age culture in America highlighted women’s reproductive capacity as a primary, crucial contribution that women could and inevitably would make to the space effort. It’s bedtime in middle-class, white America, October 1962. Little Billy and Little Susie pick out books for story time. Billy wants Mommy to read his favorite, Timothy’s Space Book. He[…]

Seeing the Invisible: A Short History of the Scientific Evidence of Dark Matter

About 85% of all matter in the universe consists of a mysterious, invisible, and as-of-yet unidentified substance dubbed “dark matter.” Everything you have ever touched, seen, or tasted; the air you breathe; the ground on which you stand; and the constituents of your body all consist of a type of matter that is only a[…]

After a Decade of Commercial Space Travel, What’s Next?

It has been 10 years since Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched the commercial space age. What hurdles must be overcome before private companies begin exploring, colonizing and mining other planets? In many industries, a decade is barely enough time to cause dramatic change unless something disruptive comes along – a new technology, business model or service[…]

Was Sputnik Really the Beginning of the Space Age?

America had completed a series of successful launches into space and achieved many firsts well before Sputnik. Although you will often hear the notion that the space age began in 1957 with the launching of the Soviet-made artificial satellite known as Sputnik, the actual historical record is not so simple. While it is certainly correct[…]