W. Henry Lambright’s New Book Explores NASA’s Mars Program
For decades, Mars has captured the human imagination. Since NASA’s establishment in 1958, the space agency has looked to Mars as a compelling prize, the one place beyond the Moon where robotic and human exploration could possibly converge. In his new book, “Why Mars: NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration,” W. Henry Lambright explores the history of the robotic Mars exploration program and examines the politics and policies behind NASA’s multi-decade, billion-dollar quest.
Calling Mars exploration a striking example of “big science,” Lambright describes the ways in which a powerful advocacy coalition—including NASA decision makers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Mars academic science community—has influenced governmental decisions on Mars exploration. Ultimately, the book suggests that from Mars exploration we can learn lessons that apply to other large-scale national endeavors in science and technology.
Lambright, professor of public administration and international affairs in the Maxwell School, is also the author of “Powering Apollo: James E. Webb of NASA” and “Space Policy in the Twenty-First Century.”All three books are published by Johns Hopkins University Press.