From the beginning of the Space Age the United States, followed soon by other nations, began an impressive effort to learn about the planets of the solar system. The data collected and analyzed by scientists has revolutionized understanding of our neighbors. These efforts also captured the imagination of people from all backgrounds like nothing else except the Apollo lunar missions.
Through a succession of analytical essays on major aspects of the history of robotic planetary exploration, this book opens new vistas in the understanding of the development of planetary science in the Space Age.
Roger D. Launius is a senior curator in the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.