Space Policy Edition: Pathfinder and the Birth of the Discovery Program

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By The Planetary Society. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the Pathfinder Mars mission and Sojourner, the first rover on the Red Planet. Historian Michael Neufeld joins the show to put this path blazing mission in context as the start of NASA’s low-cost Discovery mission line. There have been 12 Discovery missions over the past 25 years, with two Venus missions now in development. Why did Discovery succeed when other attempts to reign in costs failed? What drove NASA’s readiness to experiment with new ways of building spacecraft? And how did an embarrassing loss for JPL push the lab to change its approach to planetary exploration? We’ll answer these and other questions as we explore the history of one of NASA’s most successful programs. Discover more here: https://www.planetary.org/planetary-radio/michael-neufeld-discovery-program

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