NASA Turns 60

NASA's former chief technologist Mason Peck discusses the past, present, and future of the agency that took humans to the moon.
Image: NASA

Light the candles and raise a glass, because NASA turns 60 on Monday. The agency, founded by President Dwight Eisenhower, became operational on October 1, 1958, and will be celebrating its new status as a sexagenarian in its 10 field centers across the country.

In this episode of Radio Motherboard, we’re joined by former NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck, who is now a professor of aerospace engineering at Cornell University. We discuss the agency’s history of spaceflight milestones, which include landing humans on the Moon (six times!), putting rovers on Mars, sending probes to interstellar space, and partnering on the International Space Station. Beyond these physical exploration achievements, NASA has also revolutionized the human view of Earth, the solar system, the Milky Way, and the deep swaths of space and time beyond our local group of galaxies.

We also discuss NASA’s future, including its partnerships with the commercial space sector, megaprojects like the Space Launch System and the James Webb Space Telescope, and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

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