The NASA History Division is pleased to announce the release of Mars Wars: The Rise and Fall of the Space Exploration Initiative (NASA SP-2007-4410) by Thor Hogan.
This analytical policy history explains how and why President George H.W. Bush's 1989 plan for space exploration never came to full fruition. This book is available for public sale and a pdf version is also online.
Mars Wars: The Rise and Fall of the Space Exploration Initiative
By Thor Hogan
(Washington, D.C.: NASA SP-2007-4410), pp. 188 + iii, softcover, with some black and white photos.
On the 20th anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon, President George H.W. Bush stood atop the steps of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and proposed a long-range human exploration plan that included the successful construction of an orbital space station, a permanent return to the Moon, and a mission to Mars. This enterprise became known as the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). The president charged the newly reestablished National Space Council with providing concrete alternatives for meeting these objectives. To provide overall focus for the new initiative, Bush later set a thirty-year goal for a crewed landing on Mars. Within a few short years after this Kennedyesque announcement, however, the initiative had faded into history – the victim of a flawed policy process and a political war fought on several different fronts.
The story of this failed initiative was a tale of organizational, cultural, and personal confrontation by key protagonists and critical battles. Some commentators have argued that SEI was doomed to fail, due primarily to the immense budgetary pressures facing the nation during the early 1990s. The central thesis of Mars Wars: The Rise and Fall of the Space Exploration Initiative suggests, however, that failure was not predetermined. Instead, it was the result of a deeply flawed decision-making process that failed to develop (or even consider) policy options that may have been politically acceptable given the existing political environment.
How to order: Please contact the NASA Center for AeroSpace Information, 7121 Standard Drive, Hanover, MD 21076, 301-621-0390, firstname.lastname@example.org, Online Order Form. The price code is EA6 (Within U.S. $15 plus $2 shipping and handling; outside U.S. $30 plus $17 shipping and handling).
This book also may be purchased from the NASA Information Center, NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Room 1H23, Washington, DC 20546-0001, (202) 358-0000. Order NASA SP-2007-4410.