Skip to main content

What Columbus Can Teach Space Program

Historian Stephen Pyne of Arizona State University talks about the future of manned space exploration and what it can learn from the past.

What is the future of the U.S. space program?

NASA has just a few launches remaining for the three decade-old space shuttle and the replacement Ares space vehicle may be canceled before it ever lifts off. For the first time since the dawn of the space age, the American manned space program may be coming to a close.

Stephen Pyne, a historian and professor at Arizona State University, discusses what previous ages of exploration reveal about what the United States should do in space. Surprisingly, understanding the visions that drove Columbus, Magellan, and other explorers to risk all turns out to be the key to figuring out how we should think about the coming age of exploration to the stars.

Music for Curiouser and Curiouser is provided by Jamie Miller and by David Matheson.