"How was aerobraking? I wish I could have seen that." "I wish I could have slept through it."
After all the recent garment-rending over NASA’s "broken culture", it was encouraging to read this piece by Michael Benson in The New Yorker on the many innovations and improvisations provided by dedicated NASA personnel during the mission of the Galileo interplanetary probe, which comes to a firey end this month. In the years both before and after Galileo’s launch, there were several opportunities for lesser men to give up and write off the investment of time, money, and ingenuity, and thereby claim credit for what passes for wise management in some corners of the federal bureaucracy (and space advocacy). That they did not gives me hope that space exploration in the near future will not be the exclusive monopoly of the Chinese.