NASA's successful launch of the Orion spacecraft was an important step, but it is only like dipping a toe in the cosmic ocean. In fact, the future of U.S. space leadership is being starved by lack of funding. Continued neglect will harm our national security, and our economy.
So what would a Bollywood movie set on Mars be like? Pretty much what most earth-bound Bollywood movies are like (although to be fair, the industry has come a long way), and it goes something like this.
Today there is widespread agreement that Mars is our human space exploration "horizon goal." There seems to be less agreement on how safe future human space transportation should be. Public opinion is increasingly influenced by uninformed opinions on social media.
Alongside me the day in 1992 when we launched, in the historical background, were others -- the African-American engineers, rocket scientists, physicists, administrators, technicians and life scientists who helped build the space program.
You may be wondering why anyone would want to take a one-way trip to Mars, and honestly I wonder that myself. However, Dutch company Mars One plans to do just that, and they received over 200,000 applicants vying to take the trip.
Some of the stories that most need telling are not the big-ticket tales of human spaceflight and new exoplanet discoveries. For most people, it's the less flashy things that can mean the most in the lives of people right down here on Earth.
Despite NASA's award-winning social media and web outreach efforts, there are still massive gaps between the public's perception of the agency, and the reality. And unless you are a big space geek like me with daily space Google alerts, it's not unreasonable to be a bit confused.