"Selling the Space Age: NASA and Earth's Environment, 1958–1990"

McQuaid, Kim | from Multimedia Library Collection:
Environment and History (journal)

McQuaid, Kim. “Selling the Space Age: NASA and Earth’s Environment, 1958–1990.” Environment and History 12, no. 2 (May, 2006): 127–63. doi:10.3197/096734006776680245. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created in 1958 to develop America’s non-military space effort. But the early leaders of a self-consciously elite science and technology agency rarely saw Earth as a part of ‘space’ or solar system exploration. This is clear when examining NASA’s relations with earthly applications in the late 1950s and 1960s and with fast-emergent environmentalism in the 1970s and 1980s. NASA consistently misread the importance of the most popular science-based political movement of the late twentieth century. NASA was advised from 1959 onwards that earthly concerns—and practical worldly benefits—were necessary to create broad and enduring support for space explorations. Despite this, NASA leaders consistently underestimated, ignored or spun-off Earth ‘applications’ in the formative period of America’s civilian space programme. Power and prestige-focused human spaceflight, Moon and Mars missions, and human settlement of the solar system, became NASA’s enduring ‘human spaceflight culture.’ All rights reserved. © 2006 The White Horse Press