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In less than the span of a human lifetime, we have explored the Moon and launched robot probes to Mars, Jupiter, and far beyond. In the coming decade we will send astronauts to the Moon once again, to rehearse for the time when humans first set foot on Mars. "Space 50" explores the major themes of rocket exploration, past, present and future.
Half a century ago, the politicians of a nearly-forgotten Cold War provided the money and the motivation for our first ventures into space. It seemed as if all of humanity was destined to advance into a limitless new frontier. The dream faded almost as soon as it had burst into life. The Space Age apparently came to an end after little more than a single decade excitement.
Is it really over? Today, Politicians once again Planning a grand future space, and there are serious plans for human mission to Mars in the coming generation. The United States, Europe, Russia, Japan and China have decided that the human adventure must continue alongside the robotic exploration of our solar system. Ambitious new spacecraft are emerging, born out of a fresh spirit of competition: this time not between enemies but among allies.
Another kind of rival is also reinvigorating the space adventure. In the next decade, commercial companies will transform our relationship with the rocket. Private citizens will gain access to space, and multi-billion dollar boosters built by giant government agencies will no longer be the only way to reach orbit, or even land on the Moon.
Stunningly illustrated with specially chosen photos and images, "Space 50" explores the challenges and the opportunities awaiting us among the stars. The next fifty years promise to be even more exciting than the last.
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