This week, Americans celebrated the successful delivery of NASA’s Perseverance rover to its destination on the Martian surface, marking the dawn of a new era of interplanetary exploration. However, when searching the solar system around us, the US has not always led from the front. During the Reagan administration, for example, the agency saw its budget pared down in favor of building up arms ahead of an anticipated Cold War faceoff with the Soviet Union, as we see in this excerpt from David W Brown’s latest work, The Mission.
Excerpted from the book THE MISSION: or: How a Disciple of Carl Sagan, an Ex-Motocross Racer, a Texas Tea Party Congressman, the World’s Worst Typewriter Saleswoman, California Mountain People, and an Anonymous NASA Functionary Went to War with Mars, Survived an Insurgency at Saturn, Traded Blows with Washington, and Stole a Ride on an Alabama Moon Rocket to Send a Space Robot to Jupiter in search of the Second Garden of Eden at the Bottom of an Alien Ocean Inside of an Ice World Called Europa (A True Story) © 2021 by David W. Brown. From Custom House, a line of books from William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers. It was reprinted with permission.