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Program Directory

Big Picture Science

The moon or bust” is now offi­cial­ly bust. No pri­vate com­pa­ny was able to meet the Lunar X Prize chal­lenge, and arrange for a launch by the 2018 dead­line. The $30 mil­lion award goes unclaimed, but the race to the moon is still on. Find out who wants to go and why this is not your par­ents’ – or grand­par­ents’ – space race.

With or with­out a cash incen­tive, pri­vate com­pa­nies are still eye­ing our cratered com­pan­ion, hop­ing to set hard­ware down on its dusty sur­face. Mean­while, while the U.S. waf­fles about a return to the moon, India and Chi­na are send­ing a sec­ond round of robots sky­ward. And a pro­posed orbit­ing lab­o­ra­to­ry – the Lunar Orbital Plat­form-Gate­way – may lit­er­al­ly put sci­en­tists over, and around, the moon.

The moon con­tin­ues to entice sci-fi writ­ers, and Andy Weir’s new nov­el describes a vibrant lunar colony. Its premise of colonists launched from Kenya is not entire­ly fic­tion: the nation is one of many in Africa with space programs.


  • Andy WeirAuthor of The Mar­t­ian” and, most recent­ly, Artemis

  • Allen Her­bertVice Pres­i­dent of Busi­ness Devel­op­ment and Strat­e­gy for NanoRacks, LLC and author of an arti­cle about emerg­ing space pro­grams in Africa. News site for African space news.

  • Greg SchmidtDeputy direc­tor of the Solar Sys­tem Explo­ration Research Vir­tu­al Insti­tute at NASA Ames Research Center

  • Jason Cru­sanNASA Direc­tor of Advanced Explo­ration Sys­tems for Human Space Flight