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Although the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has become synonymous with the United States’ planetary exploration during the past half century, its most recent focus has been on Mars. Beginning in the 1990s and continuing through the Mars Phoenix mission of 2007, JPL led the way in engineering an impressive, rapidly evolving succession of Mars orbiters and landers, including roving robotic vehicles whose successful deployment onto the Martian surface posed some of the most complicated technical problems in space flight history. In Exploration and Engineering, Erik M. Conway reveals how JPL engineers’ creative technological feats led to major breakthroughs in Mars exploration. He takes readers into the heart of the lab’s problem-solving approach and management structure, where talented scientists grappled with technical challenges while also coping, not always successfully, with funding shortfalls, unrealistic schedules, and managerial turmoil. Conway, JPL’s historian, offers an insider’s perspective into the changing goals of Mars exploration, the ways in which sophisticated computer simulations drove the design process, and the remarkable evolution of landing technologies over a thirty-year period. "A masterpiece of research and writing."— Quest: History of Spaceflight Quarterly "A 'must' for any reader of modern astronomy who wants insights into how the lab conducts its research, solves problems, and handle[s] technological challenges."— Midwest Book Review "A great tale of ambition, mishap and recovery, building on extensive archival research and interviews with JPL managers, scientists and engineers, to deliver a detailed overview of each mission's feats and failures... Exploration and Engineering is a great book for everyone seriously interested in the struggles and achievements of JPL as NASA's centre for Mars exploration."— Sky at Night Erik M. Conway is a historian of science and technology at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. He is the author of Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History.
Some might think that the 27 thousand tons of material launched by earthlings into outer space is nothing more than floating piles of debris. However, when looking at these artifacts through the eyes of historians and anthropologists, instead of celestial pollution, they are seen as links to human history and heritage. Space: The New Frontier for Archeologists Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage, published this month by CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group, brings together 43 anthropologists, historians, physicists, and engineers, a scientific team as culturally diverse as the crew of any science fiction cruiser. They offer a range of novel historical and technological perspectives on humankind’s experience in space. This ambitious work presents an informative, thought-provoking, and educational text that discusses the evolution of space engineering, spacecraft reliability and forensics, field techniques, and mission planning, as well as space programs for the future. The book is edited by a pair of scientists from different sides of the campus: Ann Garrison Darrin, aerospace engineer and NASA veteran and Beth Laura O’Leary, anthropologist and member of the World Archaeological Congress Space Heritage Task Force. The handbook delves into the evolution of space archaeology and heritage, including the emerging fields of Archaeoastronomy, Ethnoastronomy, and Cultural Astronomy. It also covers space basics and the history of the space age from Sputnik to modern day satellites. It discusses the cultural landscape of space, including orbital artifacts in space, as well as objects left on planetary surfaces and includes a look at the culture of Apollo as a catalog of manned exploration of the moon. It also considers the application of forensic investigation to the solving of cold case mysteries including failed Mars mission landing sites and lost spacecraft, and even investigates the archaeology of the putative Roswell UFO crash site and appraises material culture in science fiction.
During 1988, the National Research Council's Space Science Board reorganized itself to more effectively address NASA's advisory needs. The Board's scope was broadened: it was renamed the Space Studies Board and, among other new initiatives, the Committee on Human Exploration was created. The new committee was intended to focus on the scientific aspects of human exploration programs, rather than engineering issues. Their research led to three reports: Scientific Prerequisites for the Human Exploration of Space published in 1993, Scientific Opportunities in the Human Exploration of Space published in 1994, and Science Management in the Human Exploration of Space published in 1997. These three reports are collected and reprinted in this volume in their entirety as originally published.
Provides information and analysis on all aspects of space exploration with a historical overview, profiles of American and Soviet space pioneers, and a timeline of key events.
How does one go about organizing something as complicated as a strategic-missile or space-exploration program? Stephen B. Johnson here explores the answer—systems management—in a groundbreaking study that involves Air Force planners, scientists, technical specialists, and, eventually, bureaucrats. Taking a comparative approach, Johnson focuses on the theory, or intellectual history, of "systems engineering" as such, its origins in the Air Force's Cold War ICBM efforts, and its migration to not only NASA but the European Space Agency. Exploring the history and politics of aerospace development and weapons procurement, Johnson examines how scientists and engineers created the systems management process to coordinate large-scale technology development, and how managers and military officers gained control of that process. "Those funding the race demanded results," Johnson explains. "In response, development organizations created what few expected and what even fewer wanted—a bureaucracy for innovation. To begin to understand this apparent contradiction in terms, we must first understand the exacting nature of space technologies and the concerns of those who create them."
In response to requests from Congress, NASA asked the National Research Council to undertake a decadal survey of life and physical sciences in microgravity. Developed in consultation with members of the life and physical sciences communities, the guiding principle for the study is to set an agenda for research for the next decade that will allow the use of the space environment to solve complex problems in life and physical sciences so as to deliver both new knowledge and practical benefits for humankind as we become a spacefaring people. The project's statement of task calls for delivery of two books--an interim report and a final survey report. Although the development of specific recommendations is deferred until the final book, this interim report does attempt to identify programmatic needs and issues to guide near-term decisions that are critical to strengthening the organization and management of life and physical sciences research at NASA.

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