Tag Archives: science

Homer Newell and the Beginnings of the NASA Space Science Program


When Congress established NASA in 1958 it explicitly charged the new space agency with “the expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space.” In fulfillment of that mandateNASA created the Office of Space Sciences and installed as … Continue reading

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The Surveyor Landers on the Moon


Like so many other point of intersection, soft landing on the Moon with robotic probes proved a venue for Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The Soviets won that competition February 3, … Continue reading

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Homer Newell and the Early Post-War Space Science Program


Homer E. Newell (1915-1983) is one of the NASA leaders I am profiling in a book I have underway. His career was remarkable. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin in 1940 and served as a theoretical … Continue reading

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Covering Apollo: Jules Bergman at ABC News


The son of New York business people Irving and Ruth B. Bergman, Jules Verne Bergman was born to cover the Apollo program in the 1960s and early 1970s. Educated in journalism Bergman went to work for CBS, then Time magazine, … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Mankind Beyond Earth”


Mankind Beyond Earth: The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration. By Claude A. Piantadosi. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Vii + 279. Bibliography and additional readings, index. Hardcover with dustjacket. ISBN: 978-0-231-53103-0. $31.50. Columbia University Press has … Continue reading

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One for the Record Books: The Stardust Sample Return Mission


This is one of the most interesting, but little known, missions NASA has ever undertaken. Stardust was the first U.S. space mission dedicated solely to returning extraterrestrial material from beyond the Moon. I am pleased to have played a role in … Continue reading

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Some Thoughts on Walter Cronkite and the Space Program


Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) was the longtime anchor of the CBS evening news between  1962 and 1981. A dedicated journalist, he became a voice of trust for many Americans in the 1960s, providing news summaries and commentary on the most critical … Continue reading

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Announcing the Publication of “Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It”


David H. DeVorkin and I have just published a collected work on the history of the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It appeared in August 2014 (ISBN 978-1-935623-32-8) as part … Continue reading

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Three Zones of the Solar System


The solar system consists of the Sun and the objects bound to it through gravity. This includes the Sun, eight planets (since 2006 when Pluto was redesignated as a dwarf planet), their 158 currently known moons, and a large number of … Continue reading

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Extremophiles, Surveyor III, and the Possibility of Life Beyond Earth?


One of the most unusual stories of the U.S. lunar landing program of the 1960s involved the Surveyor III camera that journeyed to the Moon on April 20, 1967, and sat exposed on the lunar surface for 31 months before … Continue reading

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