Saturday May 20, 2017
NASA's big rocket is going nowhere
more stories from this episode
- The puzzle of pain: Opioids are killing some, but saving others
- Orangutan babies know breast is best
- NASA's big rocket is going nowhere
- Diving deep for glass sponge reefs
- Late birds are missing the worm
- Quirks & Questions: Does the reduced mass of the Sun have any effect on Earth's orbit?
- Full Episode
Since the space shuttle stopped flying in 2011, NASA has gone six years depending on the Russians to carry its astronauts into space.
In that time it's been developing a new, giant rocket called the Space Launch System. It's meant to carry humans back to the Moon, to asteroids and to Mars. But the SLS is is over-budget and behind schedule, and private space companies with their own rockets are nipping at NASA's heels.
Worse, now Donald Trump may be involved, as NASA just refused, on cost and safety grounds, the Trump administration's suggestion that its first flight carry astronauts.
We speak with Eric Berger, senior space editor at the website Ars Tecnica, about whether NASA's big rocket will fly.