NASA emphasizes the value of exploration for its human spaceflight program, but what sustains those key elements, like SLS and Orion, are the jobs they create. (credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

by Roger Handberg
Monday, March 25, 2019

Going to the Moon or Mars is often explained as a nod toward the human desire to explore the unknown: the endless frontier perspective much cited in explaining why humans go over the next hill to see what is there. Human spaceflight since its beginnings—once shed of the Cold War-derived motivations—has been a constant quest to extend humans’ reach into the unknown. There are gestures toward practicality in the calls for planetary exploration so that we can see why Mars turned into a desert and Venus a

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