2015 Was the Best Year Ever in Space
BY DAVID BRIN
ith 2015 now behind us, what truly stands out? Other than (alas) holding the record for hottest year in recorded history? Amid a confusion of good, bad, and disturbing news, what I find noteworthy is that 2015 was by far humanity’s best year in space—exploring the universe around us.
How can that be? Even if you happen to be one of those out there who do care about us boldly going, it would seem that our glory days lie far behind us, back in the era of Apollo moon landings. Today’s kids seem mostly to yawn when we turn to the NASA channel or talk about colonizing Mars. The United States spends 0.5 percent of an annual $3.8 trillion federal budget on space endeavors (compared to the Apollo era’s 5 percent). Most of our fellow citizens guess the figure to be much higher, and many think we spend too much.
|MARS, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: The rover Curiosity takes a selfie at the “Big Sky” drilling site, inside Gale Crater. NASA’s rover missions continue to compile remarkable evidence of a time when seas rolled across the Red Planet.|