NASA: The Beating Heart of America's Innovation Industry

As its CEO, Bill Nye lays out the missions The Planetary Society would like to see NASA focus on over the next 20 years. NASA by nature goes where the future is, and Nye can't help but think of another industry that should follow suit.

Why is NASA so important? Let us count the ways – for its intellectual and physical daring, its spinoff technology that has advanced civilization generally (we wouldn’t have the internet without NASA) – but perhaps chief among them is that no matter who you are in the world or how you feel about the United States, NASA earns global respect for its technological achievement and drive towards progress and efficiency. An industry that could learn from that ethos, rather than digging its heels in to delay the future, is fossil fuels. If everyone pulled together in the same direction, it would mean clean, renewable energy for everyone on Earth, much sooner. Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.

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Technology & Innovation

NASA Reveals the Naming Themes For Pluto's Geographical Features

Glacier McGlacierface? Not likely. NASA has set some classy themes that will guide the naming of geographical features of Pluto and its moons.

 

Pluto and its largest moon Charon. Photo by NASA.

Pluto was discovered by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, after an exhausting effort. Since that time, a segment of the public has grown fond of the frozen little body, careening on the edge of our solar system. In 2006, Pluto lost its planetary status, which resulted in an international outcry from space fans and a bizarre movement to reinstate it.

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Culture & Religion

Massive Poster Details Humanity's Missions Through the Universe So Far

A massive chart of humankind’s 113 spacecraft so far and where they’ve gone.

Chart of Cosmic Exploration

By our count, there are 113 spacecraft in this image. It’s a catalogue of all of the vehicles launched into space so far, from the U.S.S.R’s Luna 2 in 1959 to the U.S.’s DSCOVR in 2015. Every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor is here, along with its trajectory. It’s actually an image of a physical poster from PopChart Lab that any space maven could spend some quality time with.

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Technology & Innovation